County Moves to Expedite Security Funding for Jewish Institutions

Written by Gabe Aaronson on . Posted in Community News

Officials are mulling options for funding increased security measures at the state level as well.

ROCKVILLE (Md.) — On March 6, hours before the latest bomb threats struck the Greater Washington Jewish community, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett asked the County Council to immediately approve a $225,000 grant for upgrading building security at the Bender JCC, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS), and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

According to the written request submitted by Leggett, the funds will go towards more-secure exterior windows, additional security cameras, remotely-controlled doors, and other security-related building improvements.

USY Mid-Winter Kinus in Northern Virginia Has ‘Ruach’ to Spare

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

The Seaboard USY Region’s Mid-Winter Kinnus, or Convention, was hosted March 5-7 at Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax, Virginia. The home-hospitality event was a first for the Fairfax community and drew 110 participants from three states and DC.

“One hundred and ten participants was amazing for a first-time event,” said Seaboard USY Regional Youth Director Sasha Bloch. It was also the region’s first mid-winter convention in at least 10 years, she said.

Berman Sixth Graders Head to Annapolis for Student Advocacy Day

Written by Berman Hebrew Academy Staff on . Posted in Community News

Taking a selfie with the governor, observing the Senate in session, and learning first-hand how laws are made—these were just a few of the highlights from the Berman Hebrew Academy sixth Grade’s visit to Annapolis for Student Advocacy Day. Berman students were among the 1,300 participants from other non-public schools who heard from Governor Hogan about the issue of school choice (before taking a selfie with him, pictured above). Berman students also had private meetings with State Delegates Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery), Maricé Morales (D-Montgomery), and Jeffery Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery) as well as State Senator Roger Manno (D-Montgomery).

Special thanks to Rabbi Ariel Sadwin and Garrett O’Day of the Maryland Council for American Private Education (CAPE) for coordinating the day and for the delicious kosher pastries and lunch.

Chai Lifeline Mid-Atlantic Hosts Purim Regional Ball

Written by Super User on . Posted in Community News

Chai Lifeline is an international organization that provides crucial emotional and social support to seriously ill children and their families. It has been just over a year since Chai Lifeline formally inaugurated the opening of the new Mid-Atlantic regional office, but from the looks of their annual Purim party this past week you would think they’ve been here forever.

Hosted at the famous Cloisters Castle in Maryland, Chai Lifeline Mid-Atlantic’s Purim Regional Ball was simply extraordinary. The stately castle was teeming with families from all walks of life. There were children in walkers. Children in wheelchairs. Children with the apparent signs of cancer and chemotherapy. It was a sight to take your breath away in the most magnificently magical way. These children were not sad. Their parents were not melancholy. A very real and tangible sense of merriment and joviality pervaded the rooms of the castle. The joy of Purim, and the hope of salvation, permeated the air.

Beth Sholom Carries on Decades-Old Tradition With Women’s Megillah Reading

Written by Sara Sporkin on . Posted in Community News

On a regular Shabbat, the Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah offers several different minyanim, but on Purim an additional service is added. For over 20 years the women of Beth Sholom have come together to read all of Megillat Esther in a women-only service.

This year there was an evening reading of the megillah on Saturday, March 11 and, for the first time, a morning service the next day for the women who do not read that night.

Congregant Hindy Bogner-Orenstein, who used to organize the women’s megillah reading, described the continued success of the service as the “miracle of Purim”: in her 20 years of organizing the service, she was able to find people to read various sections of the megillah every year.

The Role of the Jewish Chapel at West Point

Written by Deborah Scheinberg on . Posted in Community News

On June 27, 2016 at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, 1,300 new cadets and their families were welcomed to the Academy for Reception Day, or R-Day. Before long, the newly-minted cadets were sent off to six weeks of military training called “Beast.” The parents were left behind flooded with all sorts of emotions; pride, enthusiasm, bewilderment, and sadness. We know because my husband and I were in that same situation in 1999 when our son Aaron kissed us goodbye and entered the Army. This was the beginning of an amazing four-year experience for us. When you have a son or daughter who is Jewish, you can add another layer of amazing experiences at West Point.

Bais Yaakov Students Give a Boost to the BOOST Program

Written by Deedee Gerstman and Esti Kramer, Student Correspondents on . Posted in Community News

Students met with state delegates and senators, and learned about the workings of government firsthand.

On Thursday March 2, Bais Yaakov of Baltimore sent a group of students to Annapolis, Maryland to advocate for the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program. The BOOST Program is designed to provide aid to children of low-income families so they can afford to attend a non-public school.

Why Is This Zombie Story Different From All Other Zombie Stories?

Written by Rachel Kohn on . Posted in Community News

Kemp Mill duo produce “The Zombie Haggadah.”

SILVER SPRING (Md.) — In just over three weeks, with the help of 70 backers on Kickstarter, author Elisha Simkovich and illustrator Avi Litwack pooled together nearly $2,500 to publish over 150 copies of their truly original creation, “The Zombie Hagaddah.” 126 of those books have already been sold, said Simkovich.

Simkovich, 33, and Litwak, 37, had lived in the same community for almost a decade but were connected with each other for this project by two of Litwack’s brothers. Simkovich and Moshe Litwack were sharing their DC commute and discussing the zombie hagaddah idea— “because he also writes, he has some things out there,” explained Simkovich— and Moshe suggested his twin Avi as a potential illustrator. Mordy Litwack made the same suggestion seperately, but it still took a year for the two to meet. The rest is now literally a history, albeit a very strange one involving mummies, curses, dismemberment, and, of course, zombies.

Kosher Scouts From Seven States Join Forces For ‘Kosher Klondike’

Written by Dovie and Michael Shimoff on . Posted in Community News

On Presidents’ Day weekend, over 80 Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts from across the Northeast Corridor joined together for a weekend of fun, learning, and adventure. The event was the 18th annual Kosher Klondike, bringing together scouts from Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and even Ohio to learn life and survival lessons in a shomer Shabbat environment.

The Kosher Klondike is based on the Boy Scout Klondike Derby, where scouts utilize their skills in a winter competition. The event is based on the story of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon to provide challenges for groups of scouts, called patrols. Each patrol consists of scouts from across all of the troops in attendance. The patrols compete to earn points, which are used to give out prizes at the end of the weekend.

MC Live Brings the Laughs for a Good Cause

Written by Sara Hourwitz on . Posted in Community News

On the evening of Thursday, March 2, seven local Jewish organizations that serve individuals with disabilities collaborated to host a comedy event called MC Live. The event took place at the Bender JCC in Rockville and featured three comedians, who performed stand-up comedy to an audience of nearly 150 people.

The seven organizations involved included Bender Jewish Community Center, Capital Camps, Friendship Circle, Jewish Foundation for Group Homes (JFGH), Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA), Matan and Sulam. All seven of the organizations came together for this the event with the hope of promoting inclusion and bringing awareness to the community of the services available to those with disabilities. The proceeds from the event were divided among the organizations.

All-Star Spirit

Written by Super User on . Posted in Community News

The Potomac Valley Athletic Conference Girls Basketball All Star Game took place on Sunday March 5 at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) in Rockville, Maryland. Berman Hebrew Academy and CESJDS students pictured: Mia Raskin (second from left, Berman); Rayna Armon (fourth from left, CESJDS); Brooke Cohen (sixth from left, CESJDS); Devira Friedman (eighth from right, CESJDS).