May 2012  |  Iyar - Sivan  5772


President's Message

I just returned from the retreat Adas Israel holds every year for families of the b’nai mitzvah students for the coming year (my son’s bar mitzvah will be in January, 2013). It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend filled with Jewish learning and inspiration, and it gave me an opportunity to reflect upon my first year as Sisterhood President. I am proud of the way we have streamlined our membership renewal process, embraced technology, and developed a fabulous e-newsletter to keep members and the community informed of our activities. What I feel less successful about is creating a vision of the future of Sisterhood that reflects the needs and interests of current members and is appealing to future new members. 
At the retreat I was treated to an eloquent and inspiring vision of what Adas Israel and our interaction with Judaism can be in the future by Rabbi Steinlauf. It arose during a discussion of the renovation of our building, and how our building’s architecture reflects a very outdated understanding of what Jews want from their synagogues and how they wish to interact with their religious community. Rabbi Steinlauf invited the participants at the retreat to join him in realizing a paradigm shift in the way we think about and interact with our religion and our religious institutions to make Adas Israel a vibrant, welcoming, spiritually stimulating place for us as Jews of the 21st century. The question that arose in my mind was, “How does Sisterhood fit into this new paradigm?” and “How does Sisterhood want to fit into this new vision?” I feel we have an important role to play in the life of the Adas Israel community, one that brings women’s voices and interests into the mix of Jewish spiritual and intellectual life. However, I’m not sure what that role looks like and what structure and organization we need have in order to make it happen. 
So, as we move forward with board nominations for the coming year, I am asking members (and prospective members) to start thinking about Sisterhood’s future at Adas Israel, and help me develop a new paradigm for Sisterhood for the 21st century.
Please join me on June 24 at Sisterhood's Closing Event to begin developing this new paradigm.  I believe it is time for Sisterhood to think about re-inventing itself to reflect the needs of modern, American Jewish women, and I am asking all of you to join me in the journey to create that future. 
I would welcome comments and ideas at
In Sisterhood,
Lisa Kleine


Save the Date - Sunday, June 24
Sisterhood's Closing Event
General Meeting

11 a.m. -1 p.m.

Brunch, Program, Year End Board Meeting,
Vote and Installation of New Board and Officers
Watch for more details....coming soon.


Gift Shop - Call for Volunteer Sales Associates
Help Sisterhood raise money for Adas Israel and its community programs by volunteering some of your time at the Gift Shop.  
The Gift Shop is a jewel in the crown of Sisterhood. From sales this year, Sisterhood expects to donate about $15,000 to synagogue operations.
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 Gift Shop Managers, Jean Bernard at 301-654-8914 or Diane Keller at 301-469-0550, who will be happy to train you.
Thank you.
Jean Bernard, Diane Keller, and Helene Weingarten


What's Happening

Adas Israel Library Committee-Sisterhood April Book Event a Success

Adas Librarian, Robin Jacobson, submitted the following: "I am happy to report that the 'field trip' to Politics & Prose on April 22 to hear Lucette Lagnado was a delight.
The frosting on the cake was that Lucette and her husband, Douglas Feiden, joined us for coffee and conversation after the Politics & Prose presentation at a nearby restaurant. Since many of us feel we have come to know Lucette through her two memoirs, The Man in the Sharkskin Suit and The Arrogant Years, meeting her in person was special.
Thanks to all of you who participated – and thanks to Judy Melamed and Mirit Hemy who provided essential information about the event."


Adas Israel Sisters Attend
Seaboard Region's Spring Conference
Seaboard Region of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism held its 66th Annual Conference on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at Shaare Tefila Congregation in Olney MD. The theme was Sisterhood 2012—Out of the Box: TAKE, CREATE & MAKE IT YOURS!
Based on the premise that our sisterhoods today are not the same as they were just a few short years ago, the program focused on how to meet the surge of new and continuing change. Learning sessions led by Past Presidents of Seaboard Region included “Taking Stock of our Sisterhoods”; Communications Methods for the 21st Century; Programing; Fundraising; and Management. Rabbi Janet Ozur Bass taught an insightful study session: “Taking Stock of Ourselves as Jewish Women Today” and Rabbi Jonah Layman led a Torah Study. Toby Holtzman, Seaboard Region Torah Fund VP, conducted a very moving Healing Mincha Service.
Sisterhood Presidents met at a special session. All delegates were addressed by Sandy Kirsh, Region President, Rita Wertlieb, International Women’s League President, and Renee Brezniak Glazier, Women’s League Consultant. The program was chaired by Ellen Kaner Bresnick. The Sisterhood of Shaare Tefila served as hosts in their very new synagogue building. Adas Israel Sisterhood was represented by Carol Ansell, Myra Promisel, and Alisa Abrams (pictured here l. to r.).


Torah Fund Campaign
This year’s Torah Fund Campaign ends in just six weeks.  Through the generosity of many sisters and others in the congregation, we raised $6,800 toward our goal of $12,000.
Perhaps we might not reach our goal, but it is still possible to close the gap and provide much needed funds to strengthen the Conservative movement.  If you have not yet made a donation, or if you can increase the one you have made, it would be most welcome.   Remember that 100% of donations go for student scholarships to attend Conservative/Masorti seminaries. 
Please send contributions, checks made out to "Torah Fund," to Torah Fund Chair, Gerry Lezell, c/o Sisterhood, Adas Israel Congregation, 2850 Quebec St., NW, Washington, DC  20008.
Sisterhood wishes to extend our heartfelt thanks to this year’s contributors: Alisa Abrams, Roselle Abramson, Betty Adler, Hannah Auerbach, Rhoda Baruch, Judith Beltz-Schreiber, Jean Bernard, Maya Bernstein, Susan Braden, Fae Brodie, Jamie Butler, Lillian Cardash, Leah Chanin, Sue Ducat, Cindy Easton, Rachel Eitches, Ruth Ernst, Beth Feldgarden, Renee Fendrich,  Krayna Feinberg,  Marcia Feuerstein, Susan Finston, Sonia Gichner, Paula Goldman, Sandra Goldstein, Jennifer Gibson, Sylvia Greenberg, Beth Groves, Tamara Handelsman, Edith Hessel, Lori Hyman-Rones, Estelle Jacobs, Diane Keller, Marlene Kirsch, Lisa Kleine, Lynn Kletzkin, Janet Kolodner, Alisa Kramer, Elaine Kremens, Carole Lerner, Gerry Lezell, Leslie Libby, Francine Linde, Fran Lish, Jenny Litvak, LouAnn May, Judith Melamed, Florence Meyer, Annette Morchower, Lovell Olender, Myra Promisel, Goldie Rivkin, Gail Roache, Naomi Rosenblatt, April Rubin, Rise Schlesinger, Gail Schwartz, Rita Segerman, Madelyn Shapiro, Arlene Sidell, Felisa Siegel, Gilda Snyder, Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, Joyce Stern, Charlotte Teicher, Susan Ugelow, Janet Waxman, Helene Weingarten, Nancy Weiss, Judith Wohlberg, and Gail Zimmerman.
If your name is missing, or if it is mis-spelled, please alert Joyce Stern, VP for Communications, at We offer our apologies in advance. She will alert the Membership and Torah Fund chairs of needed changes.


Torah for Life

Rhoda Ritzenberg, who suggested the name of this column, co-chaired Sisterhood's Women of the Wall program in June 2010.  She also has offered many dvrai Torah in the Havurah.
Does the Torah “speak” to you? The portion of B’har, which we read on May 19, with its concept of “release” during the Jubilee Year certainly caught my attention.
First, a little background on Jewish time; then, a confession; followed by some sisterly advice – not from me but from an outside source. In addition to Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month) and other holidays that occur throughout the year, Jewish time is punctuated by the Sabbath, the Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee. 
When asked to define “the Sabbath,” most of us say it’s a day of rest. But it’s more than a day off. The Sabbath is Holy. If we view the Sabbath as merely a day off, work becomes our focus. If we view the Sabbath as Holy, work becomes secondary to life’s meaning. Abraham Joshua Heschel says, “The Sabbath is the inspirer, the other days the inspired.”   Or as our Etz Hayim chumash says, Shabbat “…enables people to define themselves in noneconomic terms…”
 “The Holy Land, like the holy people … needs a Shabbat to replenish itself and bear witness to G-d’s ownership...” (Etz Hayim) So every 7 years, the Land of Israel gets a year off or a Sabbatical Year. Are servants released and debts cancelled? Depends on your source -- Exodus 21, Deuteronomy 15 or Leviticus 25.
The Jubilee Year, occurring every 50 years (7 years x 7 cycles), is like a re-start button for society. Agricultural lands are returned to their original owners and Israelites who have become indentured are freed. The Jubilee Year is a societal corrective ensuring that some people do not become too rich and others so impoverished that they have no hope of change.
Now the confession. Five of the last seven nights I’ve gone out.  Each evening was
worthwhile but I'm frazzled. I turned to The Torah: A Women’s Commentary and found words of wisdom in the “Contemporary Reflection” on B’har written by Dr. Lori Lefkovitz. She says, “Our duty is not to scramble tirelessly, but to be grateful and generous, to assume our small place in creation, and to join the trees in praise.”
May we always have time, not just to rest, but to be Holy.
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; Past President: Alisa Abrams
E-Newsletter Production
Editor: Joyce Stern
Design: Gail Roache
Contributors: Gail Roache with Gerry Lezell,
Myra Promisel and Robin Jacobson


Shavout is May 27.

Atop the mountain,
Moses clung
To two stone tablets,
In G-d’s tongue.
Etched by fire,
They were ten rules,
To separate
The wise from fools.
Wrapped within
A holy glow,
He brought them to
The Jews below.
 ~Carol Ansell

Announcements & Ongoing Events 

Taste of Tanach (Hebrew Bible) - June 12
Classes will resume in the fall.
Ongoing, monthly on a Tuesday,
10 – 11 a.m., in the Library
Rabbi Steinlauf leads a lively discussion on mitzvot, the theme for 5772. Feel free to drop in. Contact the Rabbi’s secretary Beryl Saltman at
for an advance copy of the current reading. For more information,
contact Coordinator Roselle Abramson at

Thursday Night Minyan
The synagogue is "dark" on Thursday evenings. So that no one wanting to say Kaddish will be without the opportunity, Sisterhood has pledged to have two Sisterhood women attend every Thursday evening minyan. For more information or to pledge a Thursday night, contact Sisterhood Thursday Minyan Coordinator, Harriet Isack at

Sisterhood Shabbat Goes Year-Round
Sisterhood's new initiative is enhancing the Smith service and our own participation in synagogue life through leyning on a regular basis. We are partnering with Naomi Malka, Interim Ritual Director, who is eager to coach and facilitate our participation. Become part of this cadre of women who can be drawn on as regulars for chanting Torah. For available dates, please contact Co-Chair and past Sisterhood president, Lucy Hassell, at
or Co-Chair Marcie Goldstein at
N Street Village Yarn Project  Ongoing
Sisterhood is collecting yarn for the Village's knitting and crocheting classes. If you have any yarn or needles, please deposit them into the coat room bin marked "N-STREET VILLAGE YARN COLLECTION". Thank you.
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. 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 or 

Members in the News

April Rubin MD, recently named a “best doctor” by Washingtonian magazine, has been passionate about women’s health since college. She has practiced obstetrics and gynecology on Capitol Hill for three decades and has become recognized as an expert in menopause and perimenopause (including alternative therapies) and adolescent gynecology, having lectured and written often on these topics. She admits patients to Sibley Memorial Hospital and the Washington Hospital Center, where she is Senior Attending Faculty.
In 2003 April found a way to incorporate her other passion, Judaism, into her professional life by attending the Brit Kodesh course at the Jewish Theological Seminary and becoming a mohelet. Having performed well over a thousand medical circumcisions on newborns she delivered, April is thrilled that in the last eight years she has been able to help usher hundreds of Washington area babies into their covenant with God through the ceremonies of brit milah and brit l’shem gerut (brit for purposes of conversion). April also conducts naming ceremonies--brit bat for girls and hatafat dam for converts.
At Adas Israel, April is a member of the Board of Directors, sits on the Executive Committee, and is active in Sisterhood.

Sisterhood Cares

Sisterhood extends a warm mazel 
tov to Lindsey and Samuel Rothenberg on the birth of their son, Ezra Gideon, born on
April 16.
Best wishes for a lifetime of fun-filled times, strength, good health, and joy.
Bereavement Notices
Sisterhood extends condolences to
Sharon (Marc) Bennett on the loss of her father-in-law Bill Bennett of blessed memory, who passed away on May 3.
May the family be comforted among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. 
Shirley Abrams Memorial Fund
Shirley Abrams (z"l) was one of Sisterhood's most memorable and active leaders, serving as President from 2001-2003 and upgrading the Sisterhood Gift Shop offerings.
Donations in Shirley's memory may be sent to
Sisterhood, c/o Dava Berkman, Adas Israel Congregation, 2850 Quebec Street, NW, Washington,
DC 20008.

Gift Shop

Buy beautiful items at the Gift Shop and help support Adas Israel and its many activitiies.

Adas Israel Sisterhood
2850 Quebec Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Server: web2 Session Id: Session Name: PHPSESSID