The Westchester Jewish Council's
Community Connection

 Your bi-weekly and every so often e-newsletter

March 12, 2020 16 Adar 5780


It is refreshing to send this Council e-newsletter, focusing primarily on the vibrancy and unity of our Westchester (and environs) Jewish community. For sure, we have been challenged like perhaps never before and we thank each and every one of you, and each and every Council member organization, for acting prudently, responsibly and with kindness as we work together with our public and elected officials to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

For ongoing information on the response to the virus, visit our website at . We are in daily contact with key elected and public officials on the County and State level and we will continue to post the latest relevant information on our website as well as hold conference calls and video calls with our community leadership to ensure that everybody is kept up to date on protocols, best practices as well as feels supported.

We also invite you to visit the community calendar on our website to monitor the status of significant events. If you are responsible for posting events on the calendar, make sure to remove and add events as circumstances change.

We wish a "L'hitraot /see you soon" to our 8 Shinshinim /young Israelis who have spent the past year with us. They have returned to their home families in Israel and we hope to see them back in Westchester as soon as possible.

As you read this, the holiday of Passover is now officially less than 4 weeks away. Let's devote some of our energy and time to preparing for the upcoming holiday season.

Finally, within this newsletter you will read some fantastic stories of acts of generosity, innovation,and collaboration that have occurred or are being offered in response to the coronavirus. This will be a long lasting legacy of this outbreak.

Wishing you peace and health,
Shabbat Shalom,

Lisa Roberts, President
Lori Kurlander, Communications Manager
Elliot Forchheimer, CEO

(The Council is financially supported by donations from individuals,
dues from 135 member organizations and grant support from UJA-Federation)
Please support the work of the Westchester Jewish Council. Your donation makes a difference each and every day. Click here to donate
UJA-Federation of New York and the Westchester Jewish Council invite you to join us for this annual event on Friday April 24, 2020 featuring keynote speaker Majority Leader and NY State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and with a special tribute to Congresswoman Nita Lowey. This program will take place at Temple Israel Center,
280 Old Mamaroneck Road, White Plains
from 7:45 to 9:00 am.

This event is free and geared towards the Jewish community leadership and elected and public officials.
Silver Anniversary
25th Annual Julian Y. Bernstein
Distinguished Service Awards Ceremony
Join us on Tuesday, June 4th at
Temple Israel Center, White Plains at 7:30pm as we honor 22 individuals for their outstanding dedication to the Westchester Jewish community. In recognition of the Silver Anniversary of the awards, we will also be honoring Donald J. Fleishaker who was the recipient of a first DSA Award in 1998.

This event is free and all are welcome. Reservations requested.
Please register here .

If you would like to make a contribution
in honor of one of the evening's honorees, please click here .
We have decided to highlight the positive ways in which Westchester synagogues and organizations have been addressing challenges whether it was this week's Purim services being live-streamed or holding a fundraiser in a different format than what is normally done and more.

We are sharing these submitted inspiring stories and photos with you in hopes of directing our thoughts in a more positive direction. Enjoy and thank you to everyone who shared your stories! We will continue to collect such stories from our member organizations in order to spread some sunshine.

UJA-Federation in Westchester delivered food that was supposed to be served at the annual Celebration to the homes of quarantined families in Westchester. CEO Eric Goldstein tells the story of how this came to be:
At Bet Am Shalom , we have cancelled events and closed our building for two weeks to allow for thorough cleaning.  But we have been engaging as a community on our Facebook page.  For Purim, we held an on-line costume parade.  We asked congregants to post photos of themselves and their families in costumes.  The entries were hysterical!  We are also live streaming our Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning services, including live "sing alongs."   
(Pictured: Rabbi Les Bronstein and Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller) 
Hillels of Westchester Pop-Up Parties
Virus or no virus, the Jewish holidays are always on time, as the saying goes. As of Purim, none of the campuses served by Hillels of Westchester (HOW) had restricted classes or gatherings. Our annual “Pop-Up Purim Parties” took place with adjustments to meet the current health concern status. The event typically includes a photo booth, mishloach manot (goodie bags for friends) and mattanot l’evyonim (donating to the poor). This year, extra hygiene interventions were implemented (hand sanitizer, gloves) and all food items were individually wrapped. Students packed 100+ snack bags for after schools programs. (Picture credit: Sarah Lawrence College Hillel)
The Leffell School's Virtual
Purim Celebrations
The Leffell School held virtual Purim celebrations, including a Purim song session, a live student/faculty megilah reading (with participants in costume and “boos” typed into the chat feature), Purim storytelling, hamantaschen baking tips, Purim yoga, and interactive learning sessions connected to Megilat Esther. Students also created virtual  refuah shlemah  cards and submitted estimates for the number of beads in a virtual Purim carnival jar. Accounting for repeat participants, 368 families joined for a full morning of programming!
In an effort to keep our community feeling healthy and strong, The Jewish Community Center of Harrison hosted a live stream Purim Megilah reading. Click on the following link to watch a short video of Rabbi Eytan Hammeram, Cantor Marcos Askenazi and Ronit Razinovsky -
Greenburgh Hebrew Center celebrates Purim. One of the few synagogues in the area to provide a Purim service for its congregation, with live streaming for those who could not attend."

Hadar Institute
Project Zug allows you to learn and stay connected from the comfort of your home, we are extending the deadline to register for this Spring’s cycle of Project Zug through Friday, March 13, in an effort to allow those affected by COVID-19 to participate. Many people are in social isolation through both mandated and volunteer quarantine. We know a lot of Jewish learning opportunities have been cancelled and we anticipate more will be. Now more than ever, we need to remain connected through deep shared learning and meaningful conversations with those around us.
Beth El Synagogue Center- New Rochelle and  CSAIR - Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale   shared their Purim Megillah Reading livestream with Beth El Synagogue Center- New Rochelle on Monday evening.

Young Israel of Scarsdale livestreamed the Megillah on Monday evening and more than 350 people signed on.
Temple Israel Center of White Plains:
Despite the significant challenges and anxieties of these last few days, Temple Israel Center families gathered for a virtual Purim celebration with songs, puppets, and even a costume parade! We then Zoomed into two separate live Megillah readings hosted and attended by member families. Many of us experienced a strong sense of community even across the ether. Inspired by these programs, we have scheduled virtual gatherings for the rest of this week for classes and a pre-Shabbat gathering. Our members are staying connected via a WhatsApp group. While we may be temporarily apart, we remain TIC - Together In Community, within our own community and the greater Westchester community.

The Hebrew Institute of White Plains has gone virtual! We showed our Purim spirit with a Zoom costume parade on Monday night, followed by a live streamed Megillah reading. We also had 2 different live stream readings on Tuesday morning. We are planning a virtual Havdalah sing-a-long service to conclude Shabbat this week, and we also are implementing plans to regularly touch base with our members who may not be as technically savvy by phone. 
Pictured – 
Michael Kellman leyning Megillah, with daughter Noam following along with 100+ HIWP members participating through Zoom. He was one of several HIWP members to participate in our live stream megillah readings this past Purim. 

Due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19 in Westchester, the following Westchester County events have been postponed:
  • Department of Community Mental Health CODA Youth Summit, March 12
  • WOW Conversations, March 13
  • Friends of Marshlands Annual Meeting, March 15
  • Airport Master Plan Public Open House, March 19
The events have been postponed out of an abundance of caution, and will be rescheduled in the future.
Responding to Coronavirus in Our Community
We realize you are eager to keep your educational setting safe and provide meaningful, supportive programming during this challenging time. We are here to help and are developing programs and compiling resources to support you.

Webinar Thursday: Responding to Coronavirus Through Digital Engagement
The Hebrew Free Loan Society (a Council member organization) will be offering interest-free bridge loans for anyone affected by the coronavirus who lives in the five boroughs of New York City, in Westchester County, or on Long Island. Read more about it by clicking on this link -
For organizations needing help in videoing or livestreaming events/meetings services contact: 

Andrew Stein Videography
914-788-4678 (mobile)
Click here for Governor Andrew Cuomo's message regarding the upcoming census.
Census 2020: Why It’s Important for Westchester Organizations to Maximize Participation in the Census?

The Westchester Jewish Council encourages all of our Westchester affiliates to encourage participation in the Census. In addition to helping New York receive its fair share of Congressional seats, the Census will decide the allocation of Federal tax funds to states for the next ten years.
This means that every person not counted in Westchester will cost the county over $2500 annually in Federal funds to support education, hospitals, infrastructure and other county initiatives..
Please let your membership know the importance of participating in the Census. In 2010, only 73% of Westchester residents participated, which was lower than the national average 
of 76%!!!

There is no citizenship question on the census forms and all residents in the county —
adults and all children of all ages, citizens and non-citizens — should be counted so that we all can receive our fair share of funding until the next census. All census responses are confidential and cannot be shared
with other government institutions. Encourage friends, family and employees to participate with the slogan “Be counted and you will count!”. Students should be counted at their current address — whether it is at home or in a rental or university dormitory. 

How to participate?  This month households will receive in the mail a code to complete the census online. One household resident can complete the form for all living at that address. It’s best and most efficient to complete the forms online. Those who do not complete the online census will be visited at home later in the spring by an official Census worker. Please be aware of possible scams by phone for in person. All Census employees must have 
official IDs that you should check before allowing any stranger into your home.
Westchester Jewish Council
Upcoming C ommunity Roundtables
(The Council thanks the hundreds of people that dedicate time to attend our Roundtables-
a signature initiative of the Council often sponsored with wonderful partners from among our member organizations)

Some Upcoming Council Roundtables :
Security Roundtable-POSTPONED - new date TBD
Israel Roundtable-Wednesday, March 18-POSTPONED
Youth Professionals- Wednesday, April 22
MOSAIC LGBTQ - Thursday, April 23
Seniors/Grandparents Roundtable, coming in May
Marketing Roundtable-coming in June

Contact the Council office at (914) 328-7001 for information on these and other Roundtables--a key offering of the Westchester Jewish Council.

Please look out for the most updated schedule of dates in upcoming newsletters and on our website.
" By  failing  to  prepare you  are  preparing to fail" B. Franklin
As always and per protocol, please report any security concerns immediately to your local Police Department and then to the Council for follow up. We welcome Bill Hayes, our first Westchester Community Security Manager and look forward to partnering with him.
Please send any security questions/concerns to
UJA Westchester Celebration 2020 - A Silver Lining
After making the difficult decision to cancel our Westchester Celebration which was scheduled to be held last Thursday, we were unexpectedly able to create something positive out of the disappointing turn of events.

In  partnership with our caterer, Foremost, we decided to give the food prepared for our event to those who might need something to lift their spirits, the families of Young Israel of New Rochelle who have been under quarantine.   
Read this  note  from our CEO, Eric S. Goldstein to learn more, and take a
UJA Westchester Facebook page.
visit the full Community Calendar at
The Dreskins invite you to celebrate Jonah's lfe at the 11th annual Jonah Maccabee Concert featuring Elana Arian on Saturday March 21st at Woodlands Community Temple , 50 Worthington Road, Greenburgh, NY.
To purchase tickets, click here or call 914-592-7070.
Join Sprout Westchester for a Passover event on Sunday, March 29th from 1:30 to 3:30pm. This event is for ages 4 and up.
Advanced registration is required. Visit sproutwestchester to register.

Join WJCS at their GALA 2020 on Tuesday, March 31st at Brae Burn Country Club, Purchase, NY. They will be honoring Ellen Gelboim and Bob Mensch.


Get involved at the JCC Maccabi Campus Games being held this summer in Westchester. This year's event will be based at Pace University from August 9th to August 14th, 2020. The Games are presented by the JCC Association of North America in coordination with our Westchester and environs communities. Jewish athletes 13-16 years old can join their local team. Adults 18+ can sign up to volunteer. For more information, check out
campus games or 212-786-5128 or contact the Council office.
Mazal Tov to :

Cantor Lauren Phillips Fogelman of Temple Israel of Northwen Westchester and her family as they welcome a new baby boy into their family.

Cantor Leslie Friedlander who is being honored by the Academy of Jewish Religion for her years of service to the Jewish Community.

AIPAC Westchester is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the second class of the Family Leadership Initiative (FLI). FLI is AIPAC's exclusive, year-long training course for Tri-State area high school students and their parents/grandparents. Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, your family will attend high level interactive training workshops, lobby your Member of Congress, shadow an AIPAC trained college activist, and experience opportunities in Washington, D.C. 
Each student will graduate with enhanced public speaking, advocacy and leadership skills that will stand out on their resume . You will learn the ins and outs of how AIPAC navigates Washington to accomplish its mission. Most importantly, FLI will help you become effective pro-Israel activists together, as a unit, empowering multiple generations with the knowledge and support system to make a difference
The program begins in September 2020 and is limited to 10 families who are AIPAC Club Members in 2020. For more information and to apply, please click here
Westchester Jewish Council Teen Organizations include:
Thank you to the Jewish Education Project for working so closely with our Teen professionals and volunteers!
WJCS is currently seeking a full time Database and Event Planning Coordinator to work in White Plains, NY. Under the general supervision of the Director of Community Engagement and Donor Relations, the Coordinator will support the Director by managing the fundraising CRM system, designing queries, and preparing reports including executive dashboard reports, fundraising trends, and reports on the success of fundraising appeals. Additionally, the Coordinator will do prospect research and create profiles on current and potential donors; collaborate as needed with Coordinator of Digital Communications on website updates and special features; assist with administrative, office management, and other tasks as required.
For more information, please click here .

If you have a job listing to share, please email .

JBS can be seen live 24/7 on Cablevision (channel 138), Verizon FIOS (channel 798), ROKU and on
Westchester Jewish Council
925 Westchester Avenue, Suite 200
White Plains, NY 10604
914-328-7001 | |
For information regarding submissions, please contact Lori Kurlander
The next Community Connection will be published on or about March 26, 2020.