Beyond the Mitzvah: Open Up Your Circle of Friends

Written by Yael Zelinger on . Posted in Community News

My name is Yael, and I am good at teaching Sign Language. I am not so good at shooting hoops. What are you good at, and what are you not so good at?

We all have things that we are good at and things that we are not so good at. While the U.S. government imprints millions and trillions of quarters and they all look exactly the same, every single human being that ever lived on this blessed earth looks and acts differently, has different opinions and invokes different perspectives. 

Washington Torah Project Teams up With Sulam

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

For the first time ever, a Torah scroll has been written entirely within Washington, D.C. After months of anticipation and planning, a few Sulam and Shearim students had the opportunity to participate in the Washington Torah Project. The roster of locations where relevant passages are being written include landmarks such as the National Zoo, the US Capitol and even the Supreme Court. Sulam is Hebrew for “ladder,” and the sponsors of the Washington Torah, American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), saved the passage about our ancestor Yaakov’s ladder for Sulam students.

Seventy-Five Rows In, Dead Center: My Day at the Trump Inauguration

Written by Bob Levi on . Posted in Community News

The recent inauguration of President Donald Trump was the sixth presidential inauguration I have attended.

The importance of a presidential inauguration cannot be overstated. The quadrennial event, if a new president is sworn in, is a unique symbol of the peaceful transition from one regime to another. From biblical history all the way to the current state of global affairs, the peaceful transfer of power between competing political forces has been the exception, not the rule. In young democracies such as the one in which we live and in Israel, for example, this tremendous political feat succeeds and is envied.

Although the West Front of the U.S. Capitol has been a constant for the inaugurations I attended, each occasion has been unique; interactions with fellow witnesses to history has varied from year to year, and the flavors and tones of the event have been very different also.

Getting Our Shabbat Shir On

Written by Sarah Antine, with contributions from Debbie Snyder on . Posted in Community News

Five local a cappella groups participated in the sixth annual Shabbat Shir-On at Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Potomac, Maryland. The sold-out event, which took place over January 6-7, featured JewKvox, HaZamir DC, Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy’s Berman Beats, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School’s Shir Madness, and SMAC (Shir Madness Alumni Choir).

Shabbat Shir-On is the brainchild of Debbie Snyder, who organized, MC’ed, and is a founding member of JewKvox, an a cappella quintet. “For me, it’s a great community builder, a ‘feel-good’ shabbaton that brings all different kinds of people together through the power of music,” she said.

Walking in the Footsteps of History in Selma

Written by Rabbi Uri Topolosky on . Posted in Community News

Local rabbis and maharat lead group on three-day journey to learn about the civil rights movement.

SELMA (AL) ––– The Jewish community here has only seven remaining members, but for one weekend their numbers swelled to over 150, filling the old wooden pews of historic synagogue Mishkan Israel to near-capacity.

To mark the weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 125 members from Jewish communities throughout the Greater Washington area traveled to Selma to learn about the civil rights movement. Their journey included stops in Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.

Beth Joshua Congregation Welcomes New Families to Aspen Hill

Written by Beth Joshua Congregation on . Posted in Community News

ROCKVILLE, MD –– Three new Jewish families closed on homes in Rockville’s Aspen Hill neighborhood this month, representing the 21st, 22nd and 23rd families that have joined the Beth Joshua Congregation family in the past two and a half years.

Their presence brings the total number of the congregation’s participating households to over 50 in one of the Washington, D.C. area’s fastest-growing Jewish communities.

There’s No Place Like “Home” At the Torah School of Greater Washington

Written by Torah School of Greater Washington on . Posted in Community News

SILVER SPRING (MD) ––– “There’s No Place Like Home,” the theme of the 2017 Torah School of Greater Washington’s Annual Auction, is an apt metaphor for the nurturing experience provided at the Torah School for each of its 367 students by its administration, teachers, and staff.

Located near downtown Silver Spring, the Torah School, which opened its doors in 2004 with 82 children, is undergoing a growth spurt commensurate with that of the Greater Washington Jewish community at large. Even with the increased enrollment, the primary mission of the school remains to educate “the whole child” as if he or she is the most important child in the school, by offering a wholesome, well-balanced education. Under the leadership of Rabbi Yitzchak Charner, headmaster, and Mrs. Julie Malka, general studies principal, the school offers Judaic Studies learning that fosters a love for Judaism, making it relevant to the students’ lives, and a general studies program that is both current and progressive.

A Celebration of Women in Tanach at Bais Yaakov of Baltimore’s 2017 Exhibit

Written by Sophia Mazel and Ava Rowse on . Posted in Community News

BALTIMORE (MD) ––– Every four years, the high school girls of the Bais Yaakov School in Baltimore put together an outstanding exhibit focusing on different aspects of Torah and Judaism. The theme for 2017 was all about women in Tanach and titled “Aishet Chayil: Guardians of our Glory.”

The school’s classrooms were beautifully disguised with drapes and floor boards, and we didn’t even notice that we were walking through classrooms. Several important women in Tanach like Sarah, Rachel, Rivka, Leah, and even Chulda each had a room designated to them.

The Past Is Not Behind Us Yet

Written by Maharat Ruth Friedman on . Posted in Community News

Over MLK weekend, over 100 members of our community traveled to Selma, Alabama for Shabbat to learn about the civil rights movement. We stopped in Montgomery, Alabama on Friday, enjoyed a melava malka (post-Shabbat meal) in Birmingham motzei Shabbat, and spent time in Atlanta on Sunday at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

Our trip was an unforgettable experience. On Shabbat, local Joanne Bland led us on a civil rights walking tour. Joanne was a child activist in Selma and participated in the marches when she was just 11 years old. She told us of the ways that she repeatedly fought for her rights as a child, and shared the brutal violence that she witnessed against the marchers, and how she is still haunted by the sounds of the beatings today.

KMS Event Shines Spotlight on Local Authors

Written by Ezra Troy on . Posted in Community News

SILVER SPRING (MD) ––– Kemp Mill Synagogue hosted a literary reading and book sale on Jan 14. The event featured books by five authors from the Kemp Mill community: Dr. Michael Auslin, Dr. Elliot Cohen, Leah Cypess, Michael Eisenstadt, and Dr. Tevi Troy.

The books covered a variety of genres and topics, from the US military to a fantasy world, and the audience was able to ask questions of the authors and buy signed copies of their books. DC retailer Politics and Prose handled the night’s sales.

Speaking first, Troy discussed his latest book, Shall We Wake the President? The book explores how disasters have shaped (or reshaped) presidencies and what can be done to prepare them.