Candlelighting on Wednesday night is at 7:31 pm. Candlelighting on Thursday night is 8:40 pm. Shabbat Candlelighting is at 7:34 pm.
In this newsletter
Distance Greetings for Yom Tov
Message from Rav Dov Linzer
Torah and Helpful Links
Mercaz's physical space is closed until future recommendations allow us to open. This is not an easy time. We remain a community committed to growth and care and encourage you to reach out to any of our leadership. See below for some upcoming opportunities.
Getting ready for Pesach in this ineffable time is a new experience for all of us. Don't hesitate to reach out. Rabbi Avi is available at 917-519-9452.
With a 3-day chag coming up, we're introducing the Mercaz Social-Distance Check Tree, where you can sign up to check in on others or receive a check-in from someone (staying at least 6-10 feet away). Please sign up by Tuesday 4/7 at 9 PM by clicking below to allow time to coordinate.
Pesach is fast approaching even as we are confined to our homes and separated from our extended families.
The core theme of Pesach is that of freedom, and the central mitzvah of the night of the Seder is that of telling the story of redemption. Telling the story is not just recounting the story of freedom, it is the ultimate expression of what freedom means. To tell a story is to have control over one’s life, it is the ability to see oneself as an actor, not just as someone acted upon. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end, it has an arc; it is about a directed life, not one of monotony where every day looks like every other. The ability to tell a story reflects and creates the reality that one is the master of her own fate.
The Israelites were commanded to exert this control even when they were still slaves in Egypt. They were given the mitzvah of sanctifying the new moon, so that it would be they – and not Pharaoh - who would give structure and meaning to their calendar and their time. They were given the mitzvah of slaughtering the korban Pesach and putting the blood on the doorframe so it would be they who would act, even in ways that seemed insignificant, to help protect themselves and their community. And they were given the mitzvah of telling the story to their children, so that they could own and frame what happened during this time, they could tell the arc of the story, and they could tell their role in the story.
Our freedom has been greatly curtailed in these recent weeks and might remain so for some time. But that need not mean that we must be passive, that we must be slaves to our circumstances. There are still things that we can do and a story that we can tell. About the heroic and self-endangering work that the health care professionals did every day; how we assisted them by staying at home, by wearing masks, and taking all possible precautions; how we assisted others by shopping and running errands for them; how we prayed for those who are ill, how we reached out to friends and family, and finally, how we took control of our time by structuring our day and finding the proper balance between work, Torah, and mitzvot along with recreation and self-care.
When our child asks us, “What is the story of the coronavirus? What did you do during that time?” This is the story that we will tell him or her. A story of confinement and of freedom.
Thank you so much for your ongoing support of YCT and of the amazing work that our rabbis do, especially at times like these.
May you have a chag kasher vi’samayach!
Rabbi Dov Linzer
President, Norman and Tova Bulow Rosh HaYeshiva
Quarantine Support - If you need support (something picked up at a store, dropped off to you, picked up from you, a meal) or would like to join this team to provide support, reach out to Racheli Moskowitz at 516-305-2241 or email@example.com
We are burning Chametz in our back alley tomorrow (Wednesday) from 11 am until 11:45 am. If you need to burn chametz you can come at that time. You can drive through our alley or park and come into the back. We can take your chametz or give you space to burn it yourself, practicing distancing guidelines. Contact Rabbi Avi at 917-519-9452 for address or questions.