• Counting the Omer
  • Yom HaShoah
  • 6 Million Reasons for the Jews to Ally with the Uyghurs
  • Environmental Justice Series
  • Book Club
  • Save the Date: Annual Meeting
  • ICYMI: Wine/Chocolate & TED Talks
  • Get Involved: FOOD DRIVE
  • Youth Perspectives
  • Meet A Member
  • Nachas Notes
  • Good as We Give: Remember Mom
April 2021 Newsletter
Rabbi Elhanan "Sunny" Schnitzer
Nisan/Iyar 5781

CLICK for the Complete BJC April Events Calendar
See GET INVOLVED below to learn how YOU can help with food insecurity.
Kriat HaRav—The Rabbi’s Call
Rabbi Elhanan “Sunny” Schnitzer

Long ago, before yeast was commonly used to make bread, almost all risen breads were made using sourdough. In the spring as the first barley was harvested, new grain was believed to require a new sourdough starter culture before one could bake fresh bread. It was considered a bad omen for the new year to use old sourdough starter for new grain. So, after thoroughly cleaning their houses of all traces of last year’s sourdough, a new culture was started using new grain. The making of new sourdough starter took about seven or eight days. Eight days without leavened bread—one of the many reasons for the duration of the Pesach holiday.

It took patience and a little creativity to make the waiting less onerous.

We are in the final days of our second Pesach in Covid-induced isolation.

I cannot remember a year when Pesach has had such great meaning.

In some ways, despite the many blessings we have enjoyed this year, such as warm homes and full bellies, we have lived lives of deprivation. We have lived for a year deprived of the contact, community, and social activity that mark and enrich the human condition.

Our Pesach rituals, the abstention from eating leavened foods, are, in some ways, designed to move us into and then out of a state of deprivation. The words of our Haggadah, remind us of how our people lived in a state of oppression and transitioned to becoming once again, a free people. From contraction to expansion. From Mitzrayim, in Hebrew the contacted narrow place, to the broad expanses of the wilderness—HaMidbar.

During our ritual dinner, our seder, we eat poor simple foods, unleavened bread, simple greens and roots, an egg, fruits and nuts. The only “luxury food” on our seder plate, the bone of a lamb, is not meant to be eaten. It is a symbol of what we no longer have—meat and a Temple.

Biblical scholar Dr. Yael Avrahami teaches that our Pesach rituals are essentially privation rituals. We “mimic the practice of a bad year…ritually ensuring that…the coming year’s bread supply would be secure.” We deprive ourselves in the hope that we will be blessed with abundance as a result.

Nowhere in our seder is this expression experienced more acutely than when we chant the words “ha lachma anya di achalu av’hatana b’ar’ah d’Mitzrayim—This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.”

Lachma anya, “bread of affliction,” literally means “poor bread,” which stands in contrast to the leavened, sweet rich breads we eat the rest of the year.

After what we have all experienced during the year that has just ended (this month of Nisan is the first month in the Jewish calendar), we may not feel the need for this ritual of deprivation. We have experienced it directly for over 12 months. We are now on the threshold of liberation.

Like our Israelite ancestors, we are preparing for the journey to what we hope will be a better place. Many of us, and soon most of us, with new medicines in our bodies will move into a new freedom. Freedom to hold the loved ones we have missed so much. Freedom to travel. Freedom to move through the world with caution, but without fear. But we are not quite there yet.

In these waning days of Pesach, some of us might also begin to impatiently yearn to taste again the soft rich breads we enjoy the rest of the year. In these hopefully waning days of isolation, we also yearn to return to the richness of life.

Our ancestors had to wait seven days or more before the starter dough for a new year’s bread was ready to use. They could not rush the process. Pesach taught them to wait creatively for a new abundance. May we wait creatively as well for our new abundance.
President's Column—Sandra Walter
Hope is in the air. Daffodils are blooming, and the sweet smell of spring bulbs bursting through the ground guide my neighborhood walks with my four-legged pal, Cooper the dog. For some of you, Passover this year has extra meaning: armed with vaccine doses, you can once again gather with your loved ones.

For many of us, those days of seeing our loved ones in 3-D, live and in person, are weeks away —but they are coming! That is the hope that is in the air, too.

The story of how we each got our vaccine will be part of the “where were you when” phenomena that occurs with each major event that is part of our collective experience. My story is about luck after I read on the neighborhood list service to try the local CVS at the end of the day. I went in late March and they had two extra doses available just before closing that otherwise would have expired. Among the first people I shared this news with was my Dad in Memphis, who I’ve not seen in 18 months. I texted him, “One dose down and one to go and then I’m coming for a big Dad hug!!!” He replied, “I can’t wait!!!!” with a heart emoji.

I feel the same way about seeing all of you— in person, in 3-dimensions—as BJC begins to reopen—with caution and care. We have all gotten through this pandemic together as a community on Zoom for celebration and through sorrows, to pray and to practice our faith, to laugh and to learn. Again, we have underscored to ourselves and to those who joined us along the way why BJC is more than a synagogue, we are a community of caring, charisma, action, values, and generosity. I’ll echo my Dad, for when it comes to seeing all of you, “I can’t wait!!!!”

Chag Sameach!
6601 Updates for Our Safety
By Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, Membership & Administration Coordinator
Hard to believe, but it won’t be long until we return to 6601.

While we’ve been gone, there have been some important safety upgrades to the campus.

First, the security system has been upgraded. Staff will have fobs with a direct link to fire and police. New cameras will be installed at entrances. And to get into the building, there’s a new touchpad with keys at both entrances. This will allow you to connect directly with our office. Press the button for BJC and you will hear our regular outgoing message and be able to press 2 for Elizabeth, 3 for Rabbi Sunny, and 4 for Alicia to be buzzed in. Getting buzzed in will only be used when there are no services or events and the doors are locked. Once we return in person, doors will be unlocked as before for services and celebrations.

Second, speed through at your peril! Speed bumps have upgraded from the Bradley Blvd. entrance through to the Greentree exit of the building to increase safety and discourage cut-through traffic. Please be aware these are higher than the old ones and are designed for 5-8 mph driving. Any faster and you could damage the underside of your car. Signs will be installed soon. Until then remember to go slowly!

Third, by the time you read this, new exterior lights will have been installed to improve lighting in the parking lot and around the building.
Education Updates: Lifelong Learning Begins Here
By Maran Gluckstein , School Coordinator
As a result of a number of Education Committee meetings, we have determined that rather than thinking of ourselves as a Religious School, we want to think of what we do as lifelong Jewish learning at BJC. We want our students to see themselves as part of a continuum of learners, and we want to offer more robust adult education programming.

To that end, I am inviting anyone to submit a question or questions to me at under the rubric “Anything You Wanted to Know about Judaism but Didn’t Know Whom to Ask.” That is, all those niggling little customs, words, ideas you’ve always wondered about. but thought you should already know and were too embarrassed to ask. Without revealing your identity, I will post the questions and answer them to the best of my ability or with the Rabbi’s help in future Insights issues.
Please be in touch with me in times of joy, sadness, or illness in your life or in the lives of a loved one or another member of the congregation. HIPAA regulations have made getting information from hospitals extremely difficult. I greatly appreciate your help keeping me informed of the health needs of our congregation. If you have a pastoral need, please call the BJC Office at (301) 469-8636 or email me at
Click for the complete BJC April Calendar
Zoom links will also be provided weekly in BJC Now
Counting the Omer and Kabbalah is Back with Rabbi Sunny: 49 Days to a New You
Every Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday 6 PM, April 1-May 13
A magical mystical journey of spiritual self-improvement.

Mystical teachings, lessons from the Sages in self-improvement, and a moment to breathe.

During the Omer period we have the opportunity to break open klipot (negative shells) from within our being, releasing the light that has been trapped by the story of our lives. An accessible beginner’s entry into Jewish mysticism.

Note: While Rabbi Sunny’s sessions are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday through May 13, the actual counting began on Sunday, March 28 and runs through Sunday, May 16.
Meeting ID: 834 8405 8443
Passcode: Omer5781
Yizkor for Pesach and Shabbat Worship
Saturday, April 3, 10 AM

Four times a year, on Yom Kippur, and the three pilgrimage festivals, we observe Yizkor. To join with others to remember our beloveds who are no longer with us, elevates the spirit.

On the last day of Pesach / Shabbat morning April 3, at 10 AM, we come together to observe the timeless ritual of memory. Bring your memories to the Zoom screen and open your heart.
Yom HaShoah Film and Discussion 
Wednesday, April 7, 6:30 PM

The movie Holy Silence is the story of Pope Pius Xll and the Catholic Church's response to the evils of Nazism and the Shoah. The film screening is at 6:30 PM, with a discussion at 8 PM led by Mitchell Kraus, docent at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Pre-screening of the film is available through PBS with a subscription or on Amazon Prime.

The evening will conclude with the recitation of memorial prayers and Kaddish.
Greater Washington Community Yom HaShoah Observance Online
Sunday, April 11, 1 PM 
BJC is joining with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Washington, DC in their commemoration of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

On Yom Ha'Shoah, virtually gather with communities around the world to remember the systematic persecution and murder of six million Jews and millions of other innocent people from a variety of ethnic, religious, and national backgrounds. Hear important messages about the lasting impact of the Holocaust from survivor Esther Geizhals and direct descendants of other survivors, followed by the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the stories shared.

Pre-registration is required.

CLICK HERE to register
Six Million Reasons for Jews to Ally with the Uighurs
Monday, April 12, 8 PM
The Inter Congregational Partnership Committee—members of Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church (BHPC) and Bethesda Jewish Congregation (BJC)—invite you to a panel discussion to discuss the plight of the Uyghurs.

The Uyghurs are Muslim Chinese, belonging to one of the 56 officially recognized ethnic groups of China. They live in Xinjiang Province in Northwestern China. For the past few years, the Chinese government has been committing genocide against the Uyghurs. They have been subjected to arbitrary and brutal imprisonment and forced into labor camps. Men have been taken from their towns and separated from their families. Women are forcibly sterilized, and the population is re-educated for the purpose of eradicating Uyghur religion, culture, and language. Children are sent to indoctrination centers. We cannot stand by idly as genocide, oppression, and slavery are inflicted against the Uyghurs.

When you participate, you will learn about the mass atrocities against the Uyghurs and how to become advocates on their behalf. After the Holocaust, we vowed “NEVER AGAIN.” Help to fulfill this vow on behalf of the Uyghurs.

The panel will include: Serena Oberstein, the Executive Director of Jewish World Watch, a faith-based organization combating genocide; Rayhan Asat is a Uyghur human rights attorney and a senior fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights; Lina Lengber, is involved in the national movement for human rights education and is writing her dissertation on the genocide being waged against Uyghurs; and Eva Dou, the Washington Post's China business and economy correspondent. She was part of the Wall Street Journal team that won the 2018 Loeb Award in international reporting, for a series on China.

Here are some resources for more information:

  • Click here to learn more about the campaign to help the Uyghurs sponsored by JWW
  • General information and insight from the BBC  
  • A recent story by Eva Dou
  • Information on companies with supply chains tied to Uyghur forced labor
Yom Ha’atzmaut Story Slam 
Wednesday, April 14, 8 PM
Join us for BJC’s second Story Slam of the year! In honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, the topic is “Living in Israel.”

If you have a story about a trip to Israel, email to sign up for a 5-minute story telling slot.
Mocktails and Munchies 
Saturday, April 17, 8 PM
Following up on last month's successful Wine and Chocolate pairing, join the Program Committee and taste alcohol-free "Moses Mule" with Israeli Bam Bams and other tasty combinations.
Movie Night
Sunday, April 18, 8 PM

Our April Movie Night will also have an Israeli theme. Check your BJC Now for more details.
Coming Together to Celebrate Spring at BJC
Saturday, April 24, 5 PM for Youth; 6 PM for Adults

"The Winter is Over, the Sound of Singing is Heard" - Song of Songs

5 PM - Youth Activities: Have fun together, bring your friends, stick around to sing, enjoy smores, and celebrate Havdalah

6 PM - Adult Schmooze, Fire Pit, and Sing Along

7 PM - Smores and Havdalah for All
Working Toward Environmental Justice: A 3-Part Summit  
By Marty Ganzglass, Co-chair, Intercongregational Partnership Committee

Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church reached out to the Intercongregational Partnership Committee (ICPC), to join the BHPC-sponsored first Interfaith Climate Summit. In this exciting three-part series, we will examine our experiences and feeling about climate change in the context of our faiths. The sessions will be led by staff from BHPC and Interfaith Power & Light in the DMV.

Here are the three components:

Sunday, April 18: Outdoor Youth Summit at 6601 Bradley Boulevard, 3:30-5 PM.
For Middle and High School students only! Join other youth for a discussion, followed by an art project that will be displayed on the 6601 grounds.
We’ll explore questions such as:

  • What are your fears and hopes about your future on a warming planet? 
  • How do our communities and traditions both ground us and pose a challenge in addressing climate change? 
  • In what ways are environmental issues human rights issues?
  • How do you see older generations helping or holding back progress on climate issues? What do you wish they knew about how you feel? 

Sunday, April 25: Inter-Generation ZOOM Dialogue on the Climate Crisis, 12 PM.
Join us for a multi-generational dialogue building on last week’s Youth Summit. We’ll begin by listening to the voices of our young people, and discuss issues such as:

  • How are we each affected by or protected from the impacts of climate change?
  • How do our generations see things differently?
  • What can we offer each other?
Sunday, May 23: Moved to Action: A ZOOM Workshop, 12 PM

How are we called to work for environmental justice? Join us to learn about the many steps you can take, from changing your personal habits to modifying your home and energy sources, subscribing to community solar fields, and advocating for government action at the county, state, and national levels.  
Book Club
Wednesday, April 28 & May 26, 8 PM

Come every month or drop in when you like! Generally, it’s the 4th Wednesday.

April 28: Warlight: A Novel by Michael Ondaatje (author of The English Patient) tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and one character’s journey through facts, recollection, and imagination to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time. 

May 26: The Topeka School by Ben Lerner is set in Topeka, Kansas in the 1990s. It is a riveting prehistory of the present: the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the new right, and the ongoing crisis of identity among white men. The novel was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 

Click here to get the Zoom link for the meeting or to join the Book Club. 
Sunday, May 2, 3 PM
On Sunday, May 2 at 3 PM, BJC and BHPC will host the virtual presentation of a short documentary film on urban gun violence, presented by the Perceptions Film Forum/DC Area Interfaith Network for Gun Violence Prevention.

This inspirational, 14-minute film, “Do-It-Yourself Gunshot Treatment on Chicago’s South Side,” sheds light on urban emergency first response training.

Following the film, there will be remarks and Q&A's with the filmmaker and an urban health professional who deal with this major public health crisis on a daily basis.

Check BJC Now for the Zoom links.  
Annual Congregational Meeting: May 2

Check BJC Now for Link
In Case You Missed It: Wine & Chocolate and TED TALKS
By Diane Horn, Co-chair, Program Committee
In Case You Missed it, BJC had a special Wine and Chocolate Tasting event led by our new Administrator Elizabeth and her husband Ralph Kirkpatrick.

Luckily for us, they are both wine aficionados as well as chocolate lovers. It was a delightful evening.

If you had attended you would know how to pair reasonably priced red wines with a range of chocolate (from light to dark), share stories and laughs with others, and know what is Elizabeth’s favorite chocolate candy. Elizabeth shared what Spanish bubbly may be better than Prosecco—do you know?

# # #

At another event on March 16th, after Havdalah we held BJC’s own version of TED Talks. The evening was filled with learning new things, not only about subjects, but also about our members.
If you’d been there you would have learned how a 6-year-old celebrates Shabbat, the different types of speech disorders and how Joe Biden copes with his, not to mention the importance of car detailing and how it keeps your car from deteriorating. You’d also know how vitally important airplanes are in delivering humanitarian aid around the world and how Middle Eastern Spices are going mainstream even to Trader Joe’s.
A huge THANK YOU to our speakers:
Liam Covitz (Rabbi Sunny and Rebbetzin Yaffah’s Grandson): All About Shabbat
Karen Levi: Speech Disorders and Politics
Ralph Kirkpatrick: Car Detailing and Repair
Sandra Walter: How Humanitarian Aid Takes Flight
Diane Horn: Cooking with Middle Eastern Spices
Join Good Deeds Week to Make a Difference All Year Long
Saturday, April 10-Sunday, April 18
BJC is joining with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Sara & Samuel J. Lessans Good Deeds Week.* Over 60 partners and thousands of participants across DC, MD, and Northern VA will work to address the year-round problem of food insecurity. Join us as we fill the shelves of local food pantries, feed those who are hungry, and make a difference all week long. For our project, BJC will once again collect food for Manna.
We're starting a day early: from Saturday, April 10 – Sunday, April 18, Manna will have three blue bins on the church-side parking lot in the yellow area. The bins are unattended, and you can drop off food at any time. Here’s a quick list of what foods Manna needs most or download a flyer here:
  • Grains: instant oatmeal packets, original flavor; brown rice; whole grain pasta
  • Protein: tuna, salmon, or chicken in water; dry or canned beans (low sodium), natural nut butters
  • Fruits & Vegetables: canned vegetables (low sodium), canned fruit (in juice), fruit cups
  • Other Healthy Items: shelf-stable, individual milk boxes; cooking oils and spices; instant formula & baby needs.

Please note: Manna cannot accept opened packages, nor food beyond its expiration date.
We’re counting on you to be generous! If we fill the bins, Manna will pick them up and replace them. We’re also partnering with Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church on this week-long effort. And we’d be delighted if you shared this information with your neighborhoods and communities.
Please help us make a difference for those for whom food insecurity is a regular, unrelenting problem. The BJC Board would like you to know that one of our three tzedakah donations this year will be to Manna. (Stay tuned to Insights to learn about the others.)
*Federation’s Good Deeds Week is made possible by Drs. Ellen & Stuart Lessans, in loving memory of Sara & Samuel J. Lessans.
With all that’s happening around the world, surely you have an opinion or perspective. Writers of all ages are encouraged to use this space to share your thoughts on what matters to you. Send to
Youth Perspectives: COMMUNITY
By Sammy Peterson

As I write this essay, it has been nearly 365 days to the day since we last experienced normalcy. It was on Friday, March 13, 2020, that schools shut down, governors started issuing lockdowns and infections from the “novel coronavirus” began to spread like wildfire across the United States.
In the past year, we’ve struggled with isolation, stress, illness, and death.
Out of all our emotions of the past year, all the things life has thrown at us, dealing with loss amid a pandemic is a different type of emotional turmoil.
This past February, I lost my grandmother. She was always my biggest cheerleader. Always there to chat on the phone about anything, from sports to politics to what was going on in school and in my life. She always, without fail, offered her complete support to anything that I did. Although she was visually impaired, with help from her magnifier she read nearly everything I ever wrote—creative writing to college essays and articles for my school newspaper, and everything in between. Nanny was always there to listen and give a word of encouragement or a piece of advice, no matter the circumstance.
One of my earliest memories with Nanny was of playing in the coat closet of her Long Island home. I was pretending to be a firefighter, using her low-vision cane as an axe to fight through the falling debris—the various coats, neatly hung up in the closet. And Nanny was right beside me, holding me up so I wouldn’t fall off the stepstool in my excitement, and going along with my charade.
For my elementary school self, role-playing around in the coat closet was the most natural thing in the world. But it takes a special disposition to go along—fully in character—with your grandson as he messes up all of your neatly hung coats and hats.
That memory captures my relationship with Nanny and her personality in a nutshell. Always supportive no matter what. Always there for a laugh, or for counsel, or to tell a great story. Always loving.
Normally, the process of mourning is defined by a distinct sense of community. We sit Shivah, where we share stories together and reminisce with a house full of voices to lift us up.
In the age of the pandemic, everything is online, and grief is no different. Rather than an in-person funeral service with dozens of family members and friends, we are forced to face the realities of a “viewneral.” A handful of immediate family and a Rabbi in person, while everyone else watches from home on Zoom.
Those of us who have sat Shivah have had the same experience. There is no week-long open house of caring and deli sandwiches. Instead, there is an online service with voices emanating from a computer screen. Condolence cards arrive in the mail. And then you are alone.
Nothing makes grieving easy, especially in our virtual world. But my family received wonderful support from BJC as we dealt with our loss. All of the kind words and shows of support reinforced how the congregation truly has become our home over the past two decades. We needed community, and BJC was there. 
Editor’s Note:  Here's where we share recipes. Please submit your favorites! Send to

Don't forget to check out our BJC Passover cookbook!

Passover 9 Egg Sponge Cake

Click here for a pdf of the recipe.

A classic from Alan Lichter's treasure trove. Delicious all year round!


9 Eggs, separated
2 C Sugar
6 tbsp Water
Lemon Rind, grated
¼ C Lemon Juice
½ tsp Salt
¾ C Unsifted Matzah Cake Meal
¾ c Unsifted Potato Starch
Optional: 1/3 c Almonds. finely chopped

2/3 C  Sugar
2 tsp Potato Starch
½ tsp  Salt
1 tsp  Orange Rind, grated
2 C   Orange Juice

NOTE: Sponge or angel food cakes: Sponges and angel food cakes are leavened with air, so they have to cool hanging upside down or they will collapse into themselves. The easiest way is to use a pan that has feet attached to the pan. Just flip around the feet and turn the cake upside down. If your pan doesn't have feet, don't worry -- just turn the pan over onto the neck of a wine bottle or long, heatproof funnel. If those aren't handy, balance the edges of the pan on inverted mugs or cups. Allow the cake to completely cool for several hours. Then remove the pan from the bottle and slide a sharp knife with a long, thin blade between the cake and side of the pan to free any sticking crumbs. Place a plate over the top of the tube pan, flip it over, and remove the pan.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Beat egg yolks lightly. Gradually add in sugar until mixture is light and fluffy.
3. Add water, lemon rind, and lemon juice (add almonds, if using); beat lightly.
4. Gradually mix in matzah cake meal and potato starch.
5. Beat egg whites with salt until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter gently and thoroughly.
6.Gently pour into an ungreased 10’ tube pan. Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees ) for 1 hour 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger. Invert the pan and cool thoroughly before removing from pan. See note.

1. Blend sugar, starch, and salt in a saucepan.
2. Add orange rind.
3. Stir orange juice into mixture gradually.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
5. Drizzle on cake slices when serving.
Editor’s Note: Let us know share in your happiness. New job? New baby or grand? Got into that college? Engagements or weddings? Send to:

Mazel Tov to:

  • Lorrie van Akkeren whose grandson Graham Leonard Pettebone was born March 3 to Dawn & Rick Pettebone.

  • Micah Resti who became a Bat Mitzvah on March 6, and to her parents Issie & Justin Resti.

  • Harri j. Kramer & Russ Hogya who celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on March 27.

  • Rabbi Sunny and Joani Schnitzer who celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary.

Kudos to:

  • Barry Dwork, whose letter to the editor on bullying and racism was published in Washington Jewish Week on 3/24/21 (3rd letter)
In his own words
The Posner family—my wife Karen Anderson, our children Justin (17), Erica (15), and Georges (12), and I – have been BJC members since moving to Bethesda from Olney in early 2013. Previously, we belonged to Olney Kehila. We were introduced to BJC by Gary Sampliner, whom I had gotten to know professionally when he was a lawyer at the Treasury Department and I was a lawyer at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. As it turned out, Gary and I had more in common than our professional interests: We had grown up in the same town (Port Chester, New York), and I had gone to elementary school and high school with Gary’s younger brother, James. And if that weren’t coincidence enough, I soon discovered that BJC member Dan Goldberg also hailed from our hometown and that we had a common school friend. So, perhaps there is some invisible force drawing children of Port Chester to BJC.

Ours is an interfaith family (Karen having been raised a Lutheran). My experience as a Jew has been shaped by diverse influences. Growing up, my family belonged to a conservative congregation, but that choice was driven more by practical than philosophical considerations. We were not an especially observant family. My extended family included my grandfather Georges (after whom our son is named) who was actively involved in fund-raising and other activities in support of Israel, my father’s cousin who taught Yiddish and was passionate about myriad causes related to Judaism and social justice, second cousins who were drawn to orthodox Judaism in college and never looked back, and my uncle’s brother who was a composer of liturgical music, an assistant to Leonard Bernstein, and one of the leading authorities on Jewish music in the twentieth century. All of these influences, and more, have contributed to my Jewish identity.

In the years since we joined BJC, our engagement with the congregation has been primarily through the youth education program. Justin and Erica became Bar and Bat Mitzvah at BJC, and we look forward to Georges becoming Bar Mitzvah at BJC next March. I served on the board from 2018 to 2020 and was delighted by the opportunity that gave me to get to know the other members of the board and the BJC community a little bit better. Looking ahead to a post-COVID world and to a (sigh) not-too-distant future in which Karen and I will be empty nesters, I hope to become more involved with BJC-led community-focused projects.

Other fun facts about the Posner family: Karen is a doctor (a neuropsychiatrist specializing in the treatment and study of Huntington’s Disease and other neurological disorders), and I am a lawyer (specializing in international trade and international arbitration). Karen moved from University of Maryland Hospital to Georgetown University Hospital when we moved to Bethesda in 2013, and last year she became a full tenured professor at Georgetown. 

I have moved back and forth between government and private practice over the course of my career – returning to government last October as the Assistant General Counsel for International Affairs at the Treasury Department. Justin will graduate from Richard Montgomery High School in June and begin studying at the University of Chicago (Karen’s alma mater) in the fall. He has been an avid member of RM’s Quiz Bowl and Model UN teams and founder of RM’s Philosophy Club. Erica is a sophomore at Walt Whitman High School. She is a stellar lacrosse player, and during the pandemic she started what has become a thriving cookie business (happily serving the greater Bethesda community and beyond). Georges is a sixth grader at Pyle Middle School who loves soccer, Minecraft (among other online games that I understand only dimly), and chess.

Frequently over the past year, I have thought about my relationship to my communities, including the BJC community. I eagerly look forward to rediscovering those communities when COVID is behind us.

Yahrzeits: April 2021

Charles Altschuler, brother of Bernard Altschuler
Emily Austin, sister of Laurie Mabile
Edith Baum, mother of Bruce Baum
Rose Brucker, mother of Anita Farb
Dorothy Coplan, mother of Lois Rose
Helga Deda, aunt of Shirley Altschuler
Pearl Dubrow, mother of Davi Walders
Rose Dubrow, mother of Laurie Dubrow
William Dwork, uncle of Barry Dwork
Susan Cahan Ferguson, mother of Sandra Walter
Annette Franzel, aunt of Maran Gluckstein
Richard Getter, father of Lisa Getter Peterson; grandfather of Hannah, Sammy, & Sara
Michael Glassman, husband of Nancy Glassman
Colette Marie Terez Epstein Goldberg, mother of Dan Goldberg
Gordon Goldstein, father of Lorrie Van Akkeren
Lily Laufer, mother of David Laufer
Max Levi, father of Karen Levi; grandfather of Isabel
Rose Levine, grandmother of Bruce Baum
Duane McMillen, father of Dale McMillen
Richard Fredric Pelter, brother of Lance Pelter; uncle of Jeremy Pelter
Selma Saxe, grandmother of Gary Kotz
Felix Sinalevich, father of Boris Sinalevich; grandfather of Faith, Felix, & Ilan
Charlotte Stein, mother of Vivian Finkelstein
Harry Stein, father of Vivian Finkelstein
Leon Sukin, father of Hope Klauber
Donald Wilansky, father of Robin Sorkin
ShulCloud 101:
Tips from Treasurer Terri Reicher
Have you needed directions to navigate the payment systems in ShulCloud? Terri has created a PowerPoint, “ShulCloud Made Simple: Linking your bank account in 6 easy steps.” Click here to link to the instructions on our website,

As always, no question is too insignificant or silly. Get in touch with Elizabeth at, and she'll help.

Each May, many of us are fortunate enough to be able to tell our mothers in person how much they’ve meant to us with a card or a special treat.

Why not also honor them with a donation to BJC?

And for those who remember their mother each year at the time of her yahrzeit, why not honor her at Mothers’ Day with a donation to BJC?

We’ll run a special section next month in honor and memory of our moms.

Thanks to all of you who have signed up with Amazon Smiles as a no-brainer way to give BJC 0.5% of your purchases of eligible products without any cost to you.

Thanks to those of you who have been participating, as of March 2021 BJC has netted $1,154. Please take a minute and sign up.
Poetry Book to Benefit BJC

Many of you may remember Rabbi Reeve Brenner, who served as BJC’s rabbi for 18 years. He recently published a book of poems, Zayde Reeven 1,2,3 and Collected Poetry. The book’s three sections—Folk, Family, and Frivolity—cover an eclectic variety of subjects and emotions. They showcase his gift for language play, for intertwining historic, cultural, and biblical references, and his sense of humor. Rabbi Brenner has generously offered to donate the $18 price of his book to BJC for any copies ordered through the congregation during the month of April.

If you would like to purchase one (or more), please contact him directly, and make your $18 donation for each to BJC by sending a check or using Shulcloud. He will send your signed copy directly to you. Then sit back and enjoy!


Cindy Bogorad, in memory of Fritz Gluckstein
Wynne & Bruce Busman, in memory of Fritz Gluckstein
Wynne & Bruce Busman, in memory of Larry Walder’s sister Mimi
Wynne & Bruce Busman, in memory of Lisa Peterson’s mother, Eleanor Getter
Nancy Glassman, in memory of Fritz Gluckstein
Donna & Dan Goldberg, in appreciation for the BJC Second Night Seder
Joan Kaufman & Louis Hecht, Jr. for the purchase of video equipment
Joan Kaufman & Louis Hecht, Jr.
Harri j. Kramer & Russ Hogya, in memory of Harri’s mother Bernice S. Kramer, grandfather Abraham Sherman, uncle Sidney Sherman, and uncle Nathan Kramer
Mary Beth Klotz, in memory of George H. Beuchert, IV
Alan Lichter
Laurie Mabile, in memory of her grandparents Helen & Jacob Austin
Maureen & Lance Pelter
Terri Reicher
Dorothy Solomon
Howard Teitelbaum
Lorrie Van Akkeren


Harri j. Kramer & Russ Hogya, in memory of Fritz Gluckstein
Liz Sloss & Jim Korelitz, in memory of Fritz Gluckstein


Barbara & Marty Faigin
Barbara Hess & Jay McCrensky
Maureen & Lance Pelter
Margo Stein
Lorrie Van Akkeren

And to all of our members who “round up” their synagogue support and donate their time.
Board of Trustees (as of 7/1/2020)
President Sandra Walter
Vice-President Jeremy Pelter
Treasurer Terri Reicher
Secretary Lorrie Van Akkeren

Ken Fine
Karen Levi
Karen Levy
Alan Lichter
David Slacter
Steve Turow
Committee Chairs
Education Issie Resti
Financial Advisor
High Holy Days Jim Korelitz
Student Representative Sammy Peterson Intercongregational Partnership Liaison
Marty Ganzglass
Membership Diane Blumenthal
Past President Shoshanah Drake
Programs Diane Horn & Joan Kaufman
Social Action Harri j. Kramer

BJC Administration
Spiritual Leader Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
Program & Worship Coordinator Alicia DePaolo
Membership & Administration Coordinator: Elizabeth Kirkpatrick
School Coordinator: Maran Gluckstein

BJC News
Newsletter Editor Harri j. Kramer


Bethesda Jewish Congregation
6601 Bradley Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20817-3042
Tel: 301-469-8636