November 2011 | Cheshvan 5772
It’s hard to believe how quickly the fall is flying by. As the days get shorter and the weather colder, I invite you to join Sisterhood to help build community in our own backyard and in the wider Jewish world. We offer three immediate ways:
- Become a member today. There are many exciting events in the works. You can help make them happen. Join Online. Or if you prefer, you can mail your dues of $36, check made out to "Adas Israel Sisterhood", to Adas Israel Congregation, attn: Dava Berkman, 2850 Quebec St., NW, Washington, DC 20008
- Attend the DCJCC Film Festival on Sunday night, December 4, with Sisterhood for a delightful evening of thought provoking film, good company, interesting discussion, and dinner. See details under "Announcements & Upcoming Events."
- Help raise money and show your support for the Jewish Theological Seminary, which nurtures and trains our future clergy, by making a donation to Torah Fund. This is a really worthwhile cause which supports the future of Conservative Judaism. You should have received a letter about Torah Fund with details in the mail. If not, contact Gerry Lezell, email@example.com for information.
Don't delay, join today! This will be the last e-newsletter that will go to all women in our congregation. Next month, it will only be sent to Sisterhood members. We know you will want to be current with Sisterhood happenings.
What's Been Happening
The Adas Israel Sisterhood and Gan parents faced down storm clouds last month to beautifully decorate the congregational sukkah on the plaza and the bimahs in the Kogod Chapel and Smith Sanctuary. Many thanks to Sukkah Decorating Chair, Nancy Gross. She was ably assisted by Roselle Abramson, Jodi Blecker, Suzin Bobeck, Iona Klayman, Lisa Kleine, Gerry Lezell, Sherry Marcus, Judy Melamed, Annette Morchower, Carolyn Goldman Polakoff, Lauren Rubenstein, Debbie Sann, Rise and Ron Schlesinger, Maria Lasa-Sloan, Harriet Sobel, Gail Thakur, and Alexandra Wisotsky. Thanks also to Beth Ann Spector for providing decorations made by the Melvin Gelman Religious School students and to the teaching staff and building staff who all helped to make the project a success. We hope you had a chance to experience and enjoy the beauty they all created for this holiday.
Women's League Update
The Seaboard Region of Women's League for Conservative Judaism is holding its annual Education Day, this year entitled Celebrating Jewish Women from the Bible to the Present Sunday December 4 starting at 10:00 a.m. The location is B'nai Israel Congregation, 6301 Montrose Rd., Rockville, MD. The cost of $36 includes a luncheon. Speakers are celebrated author and Adas member Naomi Harris Rosenblatt ("After the Apple") and well-known local educator, Dr. Pamela Nadel. For more information contact Seaboard Region Education Vice President Linda Rosenberg at 301-249-5154.
In addition, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is holding its Annual Meeting and Afternoon of Music on Sunday, December 11 starting at
11 a.m. at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), 3080 Broadway, New York, NY. The Afternoon of Music features Hazzan Nancy Abramson, Director of the H.L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music at JTS, with musical performances by JTS students.
Respond no later than Monday, November 28 online or by phone,
212-870-1263. The cost is $28 if staying for lunch.
The Torah Fund campaign of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism offers every person an opportunity to participate in preserving, promoting, and perpetuating Conservative/Masorti Jewish education through active giving. Torah Fund supports the education of the rabbis, cantors, scholars, teachers, researchers, and educated laity at the Movement's outstanding institutions:
Adas Israel Sisterhood has proudly supported Torah Fund for many years with an active outreach campaign. By now you should have received a letter inviting you to participate with a donation of any size. At $36 you will be invited to a Torah Fund event in 2012. A donation of $180 or more will designate you as a Benefactor and you will receive this year’s beautiful Torah Fund pin featuring pomegranate imagery.
Please respond as soon as you can and as generously as you can. Help us meet our goal of $12,000 for the 5772 campaign.
Kindly send contributions with checks made out to “Torah Fund,” to Torah Fund Chair, Mrs. Gerry Lezell, in care of Sisterhood, Adas Israel Congregation, 2850 Quebec St., NW, Washington, DC 20008, or use the envelope provided in the recent mailing.
Torah for Life
Susan Finston contributes this observation on G-d’s commandment to Abraham, our Father. Susan, who has given many dvrai Torah in the Traditional Egalitarian Minyan and in the Havurah, was chair of the Sisterhood Shabbat in 2009.
In parasha Lech Lecha, we begin the story of the first Jewish Patriarch and Matriarch, Avraham and Sarah, which is also the beginning of the story of the Jewish people. G-d speaks to (then) Avram when he is at the advanced age of 75 and delivers two seemingly contradictory messages:
- Avram is told to leave his country, his kin and specifically his father’s house (literally, Beit Avicha).
- Avram will become a great people, with great wealth, vast fame, and blessed by G-d.
(Rashi says that the second message follows on the heels of the first because we would expect difficult travel to diminish Avraham’s wealth and fame, and not the reverse.)
The first commandment in Bereshit, ‘pru urvu,’ – literally, to be fruitful and multiply – obligated human creation to spread itself across the earth. Instead, in parasha Noach mankind resisted this command and built the Tower of Babel. So G-d created multiple languages to force the dispersion that the people had resisted so strongly.
Similarly in Lech Lecha, after the failure of Avraham’s father Terach to reach Canaan in the previous generation, G-d again steps in and directs Avraham to leave his home community and spend his life as a sojourner in a remote and barren wilderness. The imperative for Avraham to leave the place of greatest familiarity and creature comforts has great significance for the development of the Jewish people.
Later in Bereshit, for example, we learn that Avraham and Sarah offer universal hospitality, living in a tent that is open on both sides so that they may see and greet guests coming from either direction (Genesis Rabbah 48:9). (Avraham was sitting by the entrance of his tent when the Angels arrived to tell him about Sarah’s impending pregnancy (parasha Vayera).) Through study of Lech Lecha, we can see that in order to become who we are meant to be in G-d’s eyes, we need to move out of our own comfort zones; i.e., literally leave what we consider “home” and take on what may seem like daunting or impossible challenges in our lives. May each of us find the courage and resources to answer the call and follow the example of Avraham and Sarah, the first Jews.
Adas Israel Sisterhood Officers - 5772
President: Lisa Kleine; VP Communications: Joyce Stern; VP Membership: Maria Lasa Sloan; VP Education/Programming: Rachel Eitches; Corresponding Secretary: Carol Ansell; Recording Secretary: Rebecca Fitch; Financial Secretary: Nancy Gross; Treasurer: Dava Berkman; Judaica Shop Co-Managers: Jean Bernard, Diane Keller, Helene Weingarten; Immediate Past President: Alisa Abrams
Editor: Joyce Stern
Design: Gail Roache
Contributers: Gail Roache with Carol Ansell,
Marcia Feuerstein, Nancy Gross, Lucy Hassell
Announcements & Upcoming Events
Sunday Night at the Movies: Sisterhood Event at the DCJCC Film Festival - December 4
Join us for the first annual Adas Israel Sisterhood "Night at the Movies," held in conjunction with this year's DCJCC Film Festival. Bring family and friends to the 5:15 p.m. showing of the Israeli film, My Australia, at American University's Greenberg Theatre at 4200 Wisconsin Avenue. Dinner (cost extra) at a local restaurant will follow.
My Australia was honored at this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival. It takes place in the 1960s, moving from Warsaw to Israel, and follows an impoverished mother and her two sons as they attempt to negotiate a difficult journey between harsh changes and divergent realities. For more information, click here.
Sisterhood has reserved a block of tickets—first come, first served—at a reduced rate of $9/ticket. To take advantage of this special cost, you must pre-register by contacting Chair Marcia Feuerstein today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gift Wrapping - December 11
Reminder - the Sisterhood Volunteer Gift Wrapping project at Politics & Prose Bookstore will benefit the Washington Literacy Council (WLC), which assists people in overcoming illiteracy. For the past 15 years, the Adas Israel Sisterhood has volunteered to gift wrap holiday purchases. A donation by the purchaser for each gift wrapped is then given to the WLC. To see if there are still shifts available and volunteer, contact Carol Ansell at Carol.Ansell@adasisrael.org or 202-362-4433. It’s a great cause and great fun!
Taste of Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) - December 13, January 17
(Ongoing, most second Tuesdays,
10 – 11:30 a.m., Library)
Rabbi Steinlauf leads a lively discussion on a biblical text.
Thursday Night Minyan - Ongoing
Did you know that because the synagogue is "dark" on Thursday evenings, at times it has proven very hard to ensure a minyan
? Sisterhood has responded to this need by pledging to have two Sisterhood women attend every Thursday evening minyan
. Please do your part to ensure that there is always a minyan
and that no one wanting to say Kaddish
will be without the opportunity. For more information or to pledge a Thursday night, contact Sisterhood Thursday Minyan Coordinator, Harriet Isack at email@example.com or
Senior Lunch and Fellowship - Ongoing (Monday - Friday)
The Adas-Behrend Senior Lunch and Fellowship Program is held daily Monday - Friday at 10 a.m. in Gewirz Hall. Through Sisterhood, the Jewish Council on Aging, and the DCJCC, it has been an important part of Adas Israel for many years. Offering a hot lunch with lectures, movies, music, or classes, the program provides a setting for learning, entertainment, and socializing. If you have a talent or an interest to share, or would like to help serve and greet the seniors, please contact Aviva Atkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Members in the News
The Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning recently honored third generation Adas Israel member Linda Yitzchak with the Harvey H. Ammerman Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes an alumna/us of the George Washington University Cooperative Graduate Program who has made a significant impact on Jewish life and learning through outstanding programming and innovative teaching. In professional capacities at area synagogues, Linda has created and implemented numerous programs that became models for Jewish family education in the Washington area and beyond. Presently the Chaplain and Volunteer Administrator at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, Linda was for many years a teacher at the Adas Israel Religious School. She also has led children's services for the High Holy Days at Adas for 42 years. Linda is on the Sisterhood board, served on the board of Anne Frank House and is a member of the Social Action Committee and the Havurah.
Sisterhood wishes a speedy recovery to Gail Schwartz, the consummate "mitzvah lady," who recently broke her wrist. If you would like to help out with meals or transportation, please contact Harriet Isack at email@example.com or
Remembering Sophie Silfen
On a brisk and sunny day, Friday, November 11, at Arlington National Cemetery family and old friends gathered with Rabbi Feinberg to consecrate the unveiling for the marker for Sophie Silfen, a beloved member of Sisterhood. There were a lot of smiles and warm laughs with remembrances of Sophie's inimitable independent, caring and straightforward way, and the spirit with which she lived her life. Sophie touched the lives of everyone lucky enough to be in her very wide circle of friends and will be remembered forever.
Gift Shop News
The Adas Israel Sisterhood Gift Shop welcomes new volunteers to help Sisterhood raise money for Adas Israel and its community programs.
If you want to feel involved in Sisterhood, and you want to meet a lovely group of women who share your commitment to Adas Israel, and you can dedicate three hours one time during the week, please contact the Adas Israel Gift Shop. We will be happy to train you.
The Adas Israel Gift Shop Managers Jean Bernard, Diane Keller, and Helene Weingarten
Every purchase benefits
Adas Israel Congregation
Sunday - Monday &
Wednesday - Friday
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. &
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
For appointments call
Adas Israel Sisterhood
2850 Quebec Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008