Anne Frank House Recognized for 30 Years of Service

Written by Sue Ducat on . Posted in Community News

Anne Frank House, a nonprofit organization providing housing to formerly homeless people with mental health issues in Washington D.C., turns 30 this year. The organization, which was founded in 1987 by members of Adas Israel Congregation in Cleveland Park, currently house 10 clients, all in individual apartment units, in Wards 3 and 4. The DC Council issued a resolution in May (pictured) honoring Anne Frank House, and it was presented at Adas Israel on June 17.

250 USY Students and Staff Gather at Camp Louise for the Seaboard USY Spring Convention

Written by Sasha Bloch on . Posted in Community News

The Seaboard Region of United Synagogue Youth (USY) held its largest Spring Convention in many years, with students from eighth grade to 12th grade participating in fun and educational activities. Over the course of the weekend, elections were held for the regional executive board, chapter awards were given out, and Jordan Kalfon, incoming seaboard regional president, gave his State of the Region Address. Over the course of the weekend, Seaboard USY raised over $1,200 in for the organization’s tzedakah (charity) fund.


At Reverse Mifgash, American and Israeli Birthright Alumni Meet Stateside

Written by Haley Cohen Community News Intern on . Posted in Community News

Following her Birthright Israel trip in 2000, one Washington, D.C., native committed to bringing Israelis to the United States for a similar experience. The idea has turned into an annual program, called Reverse Mifgash (Hebrew for encounter). This year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington hosted the unique program for the fifth time, with an action-packed schedule consisting of social, educational, cultural, and religious programing beginning on May 17 and ending on May 25.

Washington Welcomes Whitwell

Written by Editor on . Posted in Community News

Students from the Tennessee middle school of ‘Paper Clips’ made a special visit to the Greater Washington Jewish community.

It was April 2017, and our joint delegation of Tikvat Israel Congregation and Beth Joshua Congregation members was flying home from an inspiring and exhausting visit to Whitwell, Tennessee, home of the “Paper Clips” Holocaust memorial. As reported in the May 4 addition of Kol HaBirah, the visit left a deep impression on all of us. The Holocaust-Era rail car memorial was deeply moving and the hospitality and

Kotel Liberators to Visit Chabad of Northern VA

Written by Dovid Nachshon Albright on . Posted in Community News

Three iconic liberators of the Kotel (Western Wall) and the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six Day War will visit the Chabad of Northern Virginia on Sunday, June 18, in an event sponsored by the combined Chabad shuls of northern Virginia and the Friends of the IDF (FIDF).

Exploring the Idea of Democracy in the Jewish State

Written by Lior Doron on . Posted in Community News

During the month of May, Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia, began its latest semester of Beit Midrash, an adult learning program. 68 adult learners chose a class out of five options to deepen their understanding and learn new things.

One of the classes offered was "Democracy in the Jewish State." During the class, we asked ourselves if Israel can be both Jewish and Democratic. We delved into ways Israel maintains its stance as a democratic country while maintaining its Jewish character, and ways it fails to do so. We examined the Zionist vision, the parliamentary system, Jewish pluralism, and minorities in Israel.

The first session featured Brian Reeves, a former visiting fellow at the Mitvim Institute. He talked about why the Zionist movement defined Israel as a democratic and Jewish state and how that has played out and continues to play out in Israel today.

For the second session, Rodef Shalom Senior Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, Cantor Rachel Rhodes, and Jewish Federation of Greater Washington Senior Shlicha (Israeli emissary) Pnina Agenyahu talked about how Israel defines its Judaism through three lenses: the social lens, the activist lens, and the education lens.

At the third session, Arabic-language research analyst David Daoud from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies spoke about the Israeli Arab minority in Israel and how Israel treats these citizens.

The three sessions definitely enlightened the community about the complexity of life in Israel and the day-to-day challenges regular people and policymakers face. There was agreement among the group that Israel can never be fully Jewish or fully democratic, and that gray area in between the Jewish and democratic is what creates that tension that arises with almost every decision the Israeli government makes. 

By Lior Doron

Originally from Tel Aviv, Lior Doron is a shlicha (Israeli emissary) at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia.


Eileen Frazier Appointed as Interim CEO for Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Written by Editor on . Posted in Community News

With the departure of current CEO Steve Rackitt scheduled for the end of this month, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Chief Operating Officer Eileen Frazier will be stepping in as interim CEO on July 1. Frazier was approved and appointed to the post, which will give her a dual role at the top of the organization, at a meeting of the Federation’s board on May 24.

Alternative Graduation Ceremony a Prime Example of UMD’s Support for Jewish Students

Written by Elan Burman on . Posted in Community News

The University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) is an outstanding place to be a Jewish student. With a robust Jewish community of 5,800 undergraduate students organized under the umbrella of one of the nation’s leading Hillels, students are treated to a veritable menu of Jewish resources and opportunities. Additionally, the administration of the University sets the gold-standard for accommodating and supporting Jewish life on campus. Consider just the fact that the University worked with Hillel’s rabbinic staff to ensure that motion activated lighting in dormitories is adjusted on Shabbat, and that shomer mitzvot (Torah-observant) students can bypass electronic entry systems.