Collaborative Tu B’Shevat Celebrations Strengthen Jewish life in Northern Virginia

Written by Jennifer Scher on . Posted in Community News

Several months ago Susan Dilles, a long-time community member and a co-chair of the Northern Virginia regional board for The Jewish National Fund, approached the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia and Gesher Jewish Day School about collaborating on Tu B’Shvat programming that would reach adults and families. Susan loves Israel, the environment, JNF (Jewish National Fund), Jewish life in Northern Virginia, and Tu B’Shvat. Her vision was to bring these things all together, and on February 11 and 12, that is exactly what happened.

With efforts led jointly by two community Israeli shluchim (emissaries), Na’ama Gold (JCCNV, Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia) and Gefen Chazen (Gesher JDS, Jewish Day School/Olam Tikvah), the Saturday night program brought together over 50 adults for “An Evening to Delight the Senses” featuring kosher wines and an upscale Tu B’Shvat seder at the JCCNV. On Sunday afternoon, the “Family Tu B’Shevat Experience” welcomed over 110 community members of all ages to the Gesher JDS campus, exceeding registration expectations.

NCSY and JSU Come Together With the Community at Cheryl Stern Dinner

Written by Lauren Gluck on . Posted in Community News

“One day I was walking through the halls with my friends Marielle and Samara and some wild kid comes running through the halls screaming at us ‘JSU! JSU! Come to JSU!’ I remembered that JSU stands for Jewish Student Union and I think to myself: ‘Hey, why not give it a shot?’ It’s been over a year now and I haven’t looked back since.”

Jordyn Wagman, a sophomore at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland, is one of the many teens that feel connected to their Judaism in a very real way because of National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) and JSU.

Women Learn Krav Maga with the Agam Center

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

WASHINGTON –– Roughly 80 women of all ages gathered at Ohev Sholom - the National Synagogue last Saturday night at the Agam Center’s Kickoff Event, Krav Maga Training Seminar: Power Women of DC! Krav Maga is the Israeli take on self-defense. It provides a fun yet serious way for people of all ages to learn how to protect themselves. Upon walking into the event room, I found a table full of information on women’s resources, and what kind of event would it be without snacks and coffee? A clinician from the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA) was on staff, there to support both women who have suffered from abuse, but also for their friends and family. Having the presence of such a powerful organization was important at an event like this. As parts of Krav Maga can trigger the sensitivities some women have, a support system was integral for these women to feel safe.

Am Hatorah Congregation Debuts New Motto and Expands Popular Lecture Series

Written by Deborah Scheinberg on . Posted in Community News

In keeping with their new motto, “Torah Judaism for Today’s World,” the rabbi and board of directors of Am Hatorah Congregation of Bethesda are planning many new programs to bring today’s issues together with Torah learning. Below is a summary of two recent programs in the Brunch and Learn series, which is open to members and people in the community.

Congregants and guests were treated to two beautiful lectures on February 5th at Am Hatorah Congregation in Bethesda on the Holiday of Tu B’Shevat. This program was part of the very popular Brunch and Learn series that combines Torah Lessons about life, with bagels and lox. Rabbi Yehoshua Singer’s topic of discussion was the Seven Species of Israel. In Deuteronomy 8:8, G-d tells the Israelites that the land they are being brought to will have life- sustaining plants. Grapes, figs, pomegranates, barley, wheat, olives, and dates make up the seven species. Rabbi Singer quoted from Rashi and other Rabbinical sources from which we get the lesson that the importance of these fruits comes not from their taste, but rather the praise of Israel that it has the fruits that the Torah’s measurements are dependent upon. “The praises of Israel is that its fruit provides us with a deeper clarity in Torah and enables us to more readily apply what we learn to our lives,” Rabbi Singer said.

Stand Back… I’m Going to Try Science

Written by Sara Levi on . Posted in Community News

The Leo Bernstein Jewish Academy of Fine Arts (LBJA) might not have Miss Frizzle and her magic school bus, but it has one better— Mrs. Turpie and her wide world of science. She engages her students every day with live insects, wild weather, and more. “Stand Back… I’m Going to Try Science,” read Mrs. Turpie’s special shirt (she has one for every occasion) as she made the rounds at LJBA’s science fair on February 26.

Mrs. Turpie converted LBJA into a hands-on discovery center for the whole community. This science fair was a site to see. You might say “try[ing] science” was what this event is all about.

Older students displayed and shared their personal science experiments projects they developed throughout the year. “They get a phone call in August, before school starts,” Mrs. Terpie said. Each student received a science process packet with all the how-tos, from hypothesizing to making it happen.

Yeshiva of Greater Washington Banquet

Written by Rabbi Scott Hillman on . Posted in Community News

SILVER SPRING (Md.) –– The Yeshiva of Greater Washington-Tiferes Gedaliah (YGW) held its 53rd Annual Banquet Sunday February 12, which focused on community leadership past and present and celebrated YGW’s achievements. The honorees, as spoken of by Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky, the Rosh HaYeshiva, and Rabbi Yitzchok Merkin, Headmaster, are people who carry the mission of Torah with them wherever they go.

Changing the World, One Letter at a Time

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

ROCKVILLE (Md.) –– In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Dr. Jennifer Helgeson, 32, found that many friends felt a need to write to their government representatives but weren’t sure how to start. She was not able to find a website providing form letters on various political topics, so she founded her own.

Write-it-Forward is the only site she knows of addressing this need. The idea is that individuals can use Write-it-Forward to find form letters to send to their representatives. They in turn can choose to “pay it forward” by submitting text on a different political topic for others to use as a starting point for snail mail or emails.

The model seems to be working. Within two days, Write-it-Forward had a closed Facebook group of 800 people, and to date about 150 form letters have been submitted. Local graphic Boris Kan created a logo free of charge. Diane Azais, a local software engineer from French Polynesia, has spearheaded the website design for Write-it-Forward.

Local Teens Elected to BBYO International Leadership Spots

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

Two Maryland teens have been elected to the board of BBYO International, with Baltimore’s Rebecca Sereboff serving as international president, or n’siah, and Montgomery County’s Allie Kalik as international vice president of membership, or aym ha’chaverot.

The elections took place over Presidents Day weekend as nearly 5,000 teenagers, community leaders and activists from across the globe gathered in Dallas, Texas, for this year’s BBYO International Convention. Already among the largest Jewish conferences in the nation, this year’s gathering was the organization’s largest conference ever. Participants heard from political figures, entrepreneurs, entertainers and activists. During the event, Alan Gross, the Washington government contractor who had been imprisoned in Cuba for five years, was named BBYO’s AZA Alumnus of the Year.

Teens Tackle World Affairs at Model UN Conference

Written by Ezra Troy on . Posted in Community News

On Sunday February 12, 16 kids from Berman Hebrew Academy, four kids from Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS), and 16 kids from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School got on a bus and drove five hours to the Hilton Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut, for YUNMUN, the two-day Yeshiva University National Model UN conference.

Model UN is an activity where a student delegates are assigned to represent different countries. Each school is also assigned one or two countries and each delegate is assigned one of these countries based on their committee. Each delegate then writes two position papers, or papers outlining their country’s position on each of their issues. The delegates discuss a variety of world issues, from nuclear disarmament to the Syrian civil war, in an effort to find a solution best suited to their country’s needs while still incorporating the ideas of others.

Purim Time at Shomrai Nursery

Written by Ruthie Cohen on . Posted in Community News

“Megillah, Megillah, Who’s Coming Out of the Megillah?” These are the words of one of the songs that the Pre-K is preparing to sing in honor of Purim at the Senior Luncheon on March 1 at Young Israel Shomrai Emunah. The children sang for the seniors before Chanukah as well. Each year, the children sing and eat lunch with the seniors. Bringing joy and having an intergenerational connection is a core value at Shomrai Nursery.

With this in mind, the teachers and children have engaged in conversations during their meeting time (a time in which the class discusses their upcoming events and reflects on past experiences), excitedly planning for their important visit.

Paint Nite at Young Israel Shomrai Emunah

Written by Super User on . Posted in Community News

The Young Israel Shomrai Emunah Social Committee hosted its first Paint Nite last week, led by the very talented Talya Weinberg. Over 50 people participated in a great night of painting, food, and fun in the Silver Spring, Maryland, synagogue’s social hall. Each person left with a beautiful painting of a DC springtime cherry blossom scene. Follow the Young Israel Shomrai Emunah Facebook page for information on upcoming events.