Wood River Jewish Community

Newsletter February 20, 2024

February 23 at 6pm

Community Service Led by Rabbi/Educator Dana Berntson

and co-led by the youth of the WRJC

WRJC Lewis Family Center

Click here to stream services

Torah Parsha, Tetzevah

Submitted by Rabbi Dana Berntson

God tells Moses: “You shall bring forward your bother Aaron, with his sons, from among the Israelite, to serve Me as priests.” Exodus 28:1. Parsha Tetzevah continues with instruction for the Mishkan, the Portable Sanctuary. It also gives instruction for the role of the priests, Kohanim, in the service of the Tabernacle. Moses’s brother Aaron, the High Priest, takes center stage as we read about the tasks of the priesthood, their robes of office and their consecration.


It is the topic of much commentary that Moses’s name is not mentioned at all in this week’s parsha, Tetzevah. The omission stands out. God gives detailed instruction on how to make Arron and his sons special clothes and a special dinner and special sacrifice. Moses must step aside and let his older brother shine and receive all the credit. 


Last week we spoke of how important it is to have a purpose in life. A mission so to speak. Something that is just for us, that fills our souls. We are all unique and thus we all have a unique mission to accomplish in this life. But how do we know what our purpose or mission is? When you’re a prophet like Moses, God tells you what to do and guides you in your mission. But living in the post prophetic era, how do the rest of us know what our purpose is and how we go about fulfilling it.


There are two main ways to find your purpose or mission. Number one, we can see what draws us in. Look at our strengths and do what we love to do and are naturally good at. We follow the signs and lead with our strengths and flourish and grow into what natural gifts God gave us.  


The second way to find our mission is to look at our weaknesses. Bal Shem Tov, also known as Rabbie Eliezer, says that everything we experience in life is like a mirror being held up to our faces. We can learn from our flaws and notice our vices and go from there. We can identify our challenges and then aspire to do better, to do the work and grow.


Moses, our most important prophet, a truly legendary figure, still had shortcomings. We all do. He is a hero in the Torah, and yet he had his flaws and his times of being demoted. He committed murder, a big no-no of the 10 commandments. He had a speech impediment. He was told by his father n law to step aside and let others help do the work. He wasn’t doing it right on his own. Now, after all his devotion to God, his brother Aaron gets the fancy clothes and party.


Humility does not come from winning an award. Humility comes from being humiliated. One of Hillel’s most famous maxims, “My humiliation is my exaltation, my exaltation, is my humiliation.” Moses personified this. This is why he is a hero. Truly inspiring people, know great humility.

WRJC Moves to “The Cloud”!


This is an exciting time as we embark on a new chapter for the WRJC community, as we transition to a synagogue management system, Shulcloud, updating our current system will help streamline many of our needs and will make it easier to make donations and payments as our community grows and evolves. 


We will be sharing an email next week to help you set up your Shulcloud account. Anyone who needs support in setting up their Shulcloud account, please contact Eryn Alvey at eryn@wrjc.org,


Stay tuned, more information to come!

 **We will not be accepting payments of any sort from

midnight Feb 22- midnight February 26th

as we finalize financial set up for this transition.

Click here to register

The WRJC is partnering with The Community Library to present a conversation with Jennifer Lang, the author of the memoir ‘Places We Left Behind’. Jennifer will be joining us virtually. In person will be WRJC member Leslie Kaplan in conversation with her.

As a tourist in Israel Jennifer met her future husband, a religious Jew from France. They lived in Israel, France and the United States always looking for a place to would be home to her and her family. Her brief memoir examines commitment and compromise, faith and family and how to hold all of this together. Jennifer is back living in Israel and we are thrilled to be able to share this event with the membership. Read the book and join us!

Tuesday, February 20, 5:30-6:30 at The Community Library

**Registration is required

February 27th and 28th

The Temple Emanu-el Streicker

Cultural Center

is presenting a two evening seminar on

Anti-Semitism: its history and its prevalence in the U.S. today. 

It is virtual and free of charge.

Following the terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, anti-Israel and antisemitic demonstrations, vandalism and acts of violence have increased nearly 400 percent since the same time period in 2022, averaging 34 events every day in the US. 
“[It’s] a crisis, a five-alarm fire,” warned Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Where did the fire start and what’s feeding it? 
The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Cultural Center invites you to a two-night virtual summit to examine the questions of modern antisemitism and the American Jewish experience, including what makes the current wave unique and where we must go from here.
Click here for more information.
NIGHT 1 Tuesday, Feb 27 7:00 PM | Free
A Virtual Event
THREE MILLENNIA OF ANTISEMITISM Rabbi David Wolpe, Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity School and the Max Webb Emeritus Rabbi of Sinai Temple 
THE HISTORY OF ANTISEMITISM IN THE US Dr. Pierre Birnbaum, Emeritus Professor, University of Paris 
THE ANTISEMITISM OF TODAY’S LEFT Batya Ungar-Sargon, Opinion Editor, Newsweek 
THE ANTISEMITISM OF TODAY’S RIGHT Dr. Heidi Beirich, Chief Strategy Officer & Cofounder, Global Project Against Hate and Extremism 
ANTISEMITISM AT THE UNITED NATIONS Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Israel's Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism and former member of the Knesset
NIGHT 2 Wednesday, Feb 28 7:00 PM | Free
A Virtual Event
THE LINE BETWEEN ANTI-ZIONISM AND ANTISEMITISM: THE CHALLENGES TO AMERICAN JEWRY Dr. Sharon Nazarian, Former Senior Vice President for International Affairs, Anti-Defamation League 
HOW WORRIED SHOULD WE BE? Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director, Anti-Defamation League 
FIGHTING ANTISEMITISM, THEN AND NOW Abe Foxman, Former National Director, Anti-Defamation League 
CAN WE LEGISLATE ANTISEMITISM OUT OF EXISTENCE? Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, UC Berkeley School of Law 
COUNTERING ANTISEMITISM, THE NEXT STEPS Dr. Dara Horn, Award-winning novelist, essayist and professor of literature

WRJC Mount Hermon Ski Club

2024 Schedule 

Thursdays and Sundays

February 22 to March 7 

10:15-10:30 meet at Lookout  

10:30-12:00 ski  

12:00-1:00 lunch 

Apple’s Bar and Grill (Thursdays) 

Warm Springs Lodge (Sundays) 

TEXT Jim Fabe ski hours 208-721-3826 

CALL Jim Fabe after ski hours 310-415-8554


Upcoming Sunday School:

March 3

For more information about Sunday school,

please contact:

Dana Berntson, Religious Program Director: dana@wrjc.org or Noa Ries at ries.noa@gmail.com

Donations of the week

Your charitable gifts to the WRJC support our operations, events and community. Again, thank you in advance for making the WRJC a sustainable home for the Jewish community.



Lois Rosen


Valerie Diamond

In loving memory of Richard Cardozo

Richard Smooke

In honor of Carolyn Olbum and the retirement of Claudie Goldstein

Eileen and Fredric Prager

In memory of Brenda Hackel

Karen Stern

In memory of Melvin Gross

Cathy Shaffner and Bret Gelber

Do you have a special or holy event Birthday, or other special event coming up? Please consider sponsoring an Oneg in honor of a loved one, a special event, or an achievement.

Reply to help out and get involved.

A Yahrzeit donation allows you to honor the memory of the special people in your life. Your gift will memorialize your loved one during the anniversary of his or her passing.

John Farris, Father of JoAnn Farris

Make a Donation for a Yarzheit of a family member or those close to you.
The Caring Committee is here to support the WRJC members by preparing meals, phone calls, delivering care packages and providing general assistance. Please don't hesitate to call us.

Chair of the month :

Joanne Mercer 



If you would like to join The Caring Committee to bring support to our community please reach out to Conifoster@hotmail.com

This Week's Anniversaries:

Penny and Norm Leopold

Katherine and Frank Mendelblatt

This Week's Birthdays:

Stacey Winston Levitan

Julie Weil

Sharon Landau

Judith Meyer


Please refer to our website for more or updated information.

Website will be updated weekly.

Visit our Website

If you're interested in making a donation and would like to purchase an item needed at the WRJC, please visit our Amazon wishlist. Please click here to access wishlist.

Board of Directors

Jeff Rose, President

Noa Ries, Vice President

Ron Greenspan, Treasurer

Sergio Bicas

Jami Delgado

Coni Foster

Alli Frank

Phil Goldstein

Josh Kleinman

Amy Kroll

Juli Roos

Claudie Goldstein, Executive Director 

Eryn Alvey, Administrative Director

Dana Berntson: Religious Program Director

Linda Gates, Bookkeeper

The WRJC stands with a Jewish and democratic Israel.