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Rabbi Mara Young: What you may not know about Woodlands' newest rabbi

On Wednesday evening, January 13, 2021, the members of Woodlands Community Temple voted unanimously to appoint Rabbi Mara Young as our next rabbi, to succeed Rabbi Billy Dreskin who will be retiring in June, 2021.

This was a historic event for Woodlands, as it continues a generational transition of the clergy team. And it is a historic event for Reform Judaism. Many men have been appointed associate successor rabbis, but never a woman. This year, Rabbi Mara becomes one of two women who will break that gender divide, and be appointed rabbis of their congregation without a national search.

Click here for more about Rabbi Mara's background 

COVID-19 information

Unfortunately, it's not yet time to resume in-person programming. The prevalence of COVID-19 in Westchester County is at levels last seen in early April at the height of the first wave of the pandemic. There is widespread concern about new variants of the virus that make our tried and true tools more important than ever. When you put on a mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands, you are protecting yourself and the people you love.

The new important tool is the vaccines. New York has opened eligibility to everyone 65 and older and people in professions like heath care and education. You can check your eligibility and try to schedule an appointment here. The demand is far higher than the supply, but new appointment slots occasionally become available, so be persistent.

If you need help navigating the vaccination appointment system, Westchester County Department of Senior Programming and Services can help at 914-813-6300.

We've also added a thread to WCT Connects, Woodlands' private Facebook group for members only where we can share information about where vaccination appointments are available.

As we work on getting vaccinated, here are a few other things you can do

  • Ask for help or offer to help by sending an e-mail to Need groceries delivered to you or want to shop for someone? Have an activity idea? Please reach out!         
  • Pick up the phone. Call someone you haven't talked to in a while. We can all use a friendly voice as we wait out January.
  • Our clergy want to connect with you and offer whatever pastoral care you need. You can reach them at (914) 592-7070 or by email: Rabbi Billy (, Rabbi Mara (, and Cantor Lance (

We don't know when everyone will be comfortable coming out of their houses again. We do expect a transition period as the vaccines become more widely available. As we return to indoor programming, we will prioritize Shabbat evening and B'nai Mitzvah services, family and religious school-related events, and opportunities for adults to connect in-person. We'll remain mindful that there are those who can't join in-person events, and we will find ways to be inclusive in the hybrid world.

We look forward to being together again in body, not just in spirit. 

In the meantime, if you need to come to Woodlands in person for any reason, please complete the COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire on the day you will be coming. You must be able to answer "No" to all questions in order to come. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe, strong, and healthy.

Upcoming Worship Schedule

Shabbat Evening Service

Special guest preacher: Rev Emily Brown
from the First Reformed Church in Hastings
Fri, Mar 5 at 8:00 pm

It's a pulpit-exchange weekend! Join services tonight to hear Rev. Emily Brown from the First Reformed Church in Hastings preach. You're then invited to head to church on Sunday morning at 10:00 am, when Rabbi Mara will preach.

Upcoming Events (virtual) at WCT


Upcoming Meetings

  •  Executive Committee ... Mon, Mar 1 at 8:15 pm     
  •  Town Hall Meeting ... Tue, Mar 2 at 8:00 pm
  •  Coronavirus Task Force ... Thu, Mar 4 at 7:30 pm
  •  Jewish Life Committee ... Mon, Mar 8 at 8:15 pm
  •  School Board ... Mon, Mar 8 at 8:15 pm
  •  Finance Committee ... Mon, Mar 8 at 8:15 pm

                             Click here to sign up

Shabbat Evening Service

Fri, Mar 12 at 8:00 pm

Honoring Steve's H.O.P.E. (Helping Open People's Eyes), created in 1994 by Bonnie, Alan and Geoff Mitelman, and Joanne Lelewer Harpel when their son and brother, Stephen Lelewer, died far too soon. Many hundreds of us have benefitted from the programs sponsored by Steve's H.O.P.E. Please join us to say thank you. 

Sofie Kirshbaum Becomes Bat Mitzvah
Sat, Mar 13 at 10:30 am

Join us as Sofie Kirshbaum, daughter of Benjamin Kirshbaum and Jennifer Leff, becomes a Bat Mitzvah. We'd be delighted to have you join us on Facebook.

The Judaica Shop at Woodlands

The Judaica Shop at Woodlands is Online ...
The Judaica Shop at Woodlands is not physically open for business but we are available for online purchasing. If you are shopping for a celebration gift or something to bring beauty and spirituality to your home, please contact us first. We'll work out purchase and delivery details. For some ideas, check out our online catalogues on the Judaica Shop page (click here). Remember every purchase supports Woodlands Temple. Email

A Q&A with Cantor Lance Rhodes
and Mike Winkleman

Shortly after Cantor Lance arrived at his new home in Shrub Oak, Mike Winkleman caught up with him to see how his move had gone and what he’s thinking and planning now that he is assuming the role of Woodlands’ new cantor. Here are some excerpts from their conversation. 


Wed, March 3 2021 19 Adar 5781