FAQ From Prospective Camp Chaverim Parents

Written by Rabbi Ezra Baldinger and Rabbi Yaakov Boruch Beren on . Posted in Community News

What makes Camp Chaverim special? Why would I send my son to your camp as opposed to any other camp?

One of the unique qualities of Camp Chaverim is our staff. Our counselors are older Bais Medrash boys second year or above), and are carefully selected top talent who exhibit exceptional middos, a whole lot of energy, and a real understanding of how to work with campers.

Another remarkable aspect of Camp Chaverim is the emphasis on מדותביןאדםלחבירו, middos between man and his friend. Our motto is “Middos Bein Adam L’chavero doesn’t just happen in camp, we make it happen!” We are constantly working to convey to our campers how important it is to be considerate, thoughtful, and caring towards others, making it the hallmark of the camp.

Washington Hebrew Congregation Hosts Community Forum to Address Security Concerns

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

WASHINGTON — Be vigilant and speak up. That was the message from several speakers, including acting DC Police Chief Peter Newsham, Thursday evening, March 9, at a public forum held at Washington Hebrew Congregation and convened to address anti-Semitism and bigotry in light of a rash of anti-Semitic incidents, including nearly 150 bomb threats that have been called into Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions.

Father and Son Collaborate on Children’s Book

Written by Super User on . Posted in Community News

When Sam Charnoff was a young father of three boys in the early 1990s, he would walk them 30 minutes to shul every Shabbat. To engage them and keep them in or next to the stroller, he would make up adventure stories about a character named Prince Long Leggs. Twenty years later, he and his youngest son, Amichai (Ami) Charnoff, a visual artist, decided to collaborate and make the story into a children’s book.

“We are very fortunate Ami was able to capture the story and characters and preserve them,” Sam said. “We no longer have to rely solely on memory to recall this part of our lives.”

Sam reminisced about the process of working with his son on this story. “The most fun I had was watching him give the characters faces and bodies, and visually bring these characters to life,” he said. Sam had a different mental picture of the characters, so it was surprising to see his son’s completely different version emerge.

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.

Kids’ Voices Count

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

JPDS-NC Election Project Wins Kohelet Prize for Excellence in Jewish Education

The JPDS-NC Election Project was a school-wide undertaking that included every class from Pre-K through sixth Grade and culminated in a Voter’s Guide that was shared with the broader community. Recently, the project and a crossgrade, multi-disciplinary faculty team comprising Hanina Goldstein, Mindy Hirsch, Kelly McAllester, Vinny Prell, Melissa Rickabaugh, and Devora Yeganeh were awarded the Kohelet Prize for excellence in Jewish education.

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.

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.