April 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

UWS Shuls Hold Women’s Evening of Inspiration and Solidarity With Israel

Attendees in the LSS sanctuary.

On October 26, women from all parts of the Upper West Side attended an event at Lincoln Square Synagogue (LSS) that provided much-needed chizuk. The program, “Tehillim, Torah, Tzedakah and Challah,” was highlighted by an inspirational speech given by Rebbetzin Slovie Jungreis-Wolff entitled “Holding on to the Fire of Faith.”

The well-attended event had a feeling of achdut, which was undoubtedly inspired by the warmth of the rebbetzin of LSS, Sarah Robinson, who welcomed us all into her shul home.

The program began with Dr. Batya Yaffe, a member of the Israel United Hatzalah psychotrauma and crisis response team, reading the names of the hostages.

Rebbetzin Dr. Rachel Levine of The Jewish Center introduced Rebbetzin Jungreis-Wolff as “follow[ing] in the footsteps not only of Sarah Imeinu but of her own mother, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, z”l.”

Rebbetzin Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

Rebbetzin Jungreis-Wolff outlined the framework of her talk as follows: There is so much antisemitism we are seeing: 1) What are we supposed to be thinking?; 2) How are we supposed to be feeling?; and 3) What are we supposed to be doing?

As to what we are supposed to be thinking, Jungreiss-Wolff pointed to a favorite Hebrew pasuk: Ha’Rofei lishvurei leiv, u’m’chabeish l’atzvosam, moneh mispar la’kochavim, l’chulam sheimos yikra: He is the healer of the broken-hearted, and the One who binds up their wounds (or sorrow), He counts the number of the stars, to all of them He assigns names.

If Hashem counts each star and knows their names, Hashem knows our magic and our light. As we know from the story of our nation’s survival, Hashem does not forget us.

As to what we are supposed to be feeling, the rebbetzin stated that it is no coincidence that this program was being held on the yahrzeit of Rochel Imeinu, who could have easily cried for herself but instead cried for her children. Noting that we all feel tremendous pain, Jungreis-Wolff remarked that Hashem wants each of us to feel the pain of one another, because that is what brings geulah.

(l-r): Dahlia Henkin and Millie Ackerman at the podium with Rebbetzin Sarah Robinson in background.

We should also feel pride because we are part of Am Yisrael. “The stories are still coming, but we must know and recognize that even in these most difficult moments there is so much courage, so much strength, so much emunah, so much achdut.”

Lastly, Jungreis-Wolff addressed three concrete things we can do: 1) Tefillah: We must not stop davening; 2) Chesed and achdut: Stop judging each other and start loving each other; it doesn’t matter if we’re different; and 3) Shabbat: We must love Shabbat, and show how much we love it by, for example, bringing people to our Shabbat table, and bringing Shabbat into our homes with love and not in a rush.

Jungreis-Wolff concluded by stating: “We have to be very strong. And we have to infuse our nation and our homes with fire of faith. And to the world I say, ‘You may try to gas us, you may try to burn us, you may try to shoot missiles at us, you may try to get rid of us, you may try to spit at us, and shout at us, and shoot at us. But this nation defies you because we are the children of Hakadosh Baruch Hu.’”

Attendees performing the mitzvah of hafrashat challah.

Other speakers included Atara Solow, executive director of American Friends of Migdal Ohr, who read the prayer for the IDF. Rebbetzin Adina Shippel of The Beis gave a call to action to partake in such things as community tehillim initiatives, lighting Shabbat candles, and monetary donations. Milli Ackerman and Dahlia Henkin, Ramaz seniors and Chamber Choir presidents, led the room in song.

The event concluded with the women performing the special mitzvah of hafrashat challah. Women across the generations have performed this mitzvah during times of personal and national difficulties because it is considered an auspicious moment for prayer.


Judith Falk is the creator of the Upper West Side Shtetl Facebook Group. You can follow her on instagram @upperwestsideshtetl. She is a lawyer by day and a former legal reporter.

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