July 2022 Newsletter ................................ . . Rabbi Eric L. Abbott
Tamuz 5782 ...........................Rabbi Emeritus Sunny Schnitzer
IN THIS ISSUE: The Rabbi's Message, July Events, In Case You Missed It
CLICK for the Complete BJC July Events Calendar
“Beginning Our Shared Journey Panim-El-Panim, Face-to-Face”

As I start my time here at Bethesda Jewish Congregation, I aim to embrace the power of relationships: the power of meeting each of you panim-el-panim, “face-to-face,” in holy community. As Dr. Ron Wolfson teaches, “People will come to synagogues…for programs, but they will stay for relationships.”* Dr. Wolfson envisions a Jewish community built not on labels, or branding, or websites—but on relationships. Only through relationships, he teaches, can a Jewish institution offer purpose, meaning, and belonging.

Therefore, I cannot wait to get to know you!

We are embarking on a new chapter in our BJC story. This endeavor will, no doubt, come with changes. I will introduce new melodies to services; I bring my own style of teaching; our programming will take on a new flair. Nonetheless, the core of what we do and who we are will not change. The myriad traits that drew me to this community—BJC’s spirituality, the intellectual conversations, the warm and welcoming hospitality, and the community’s familial embrace—will persevere.

To better understand these values and to hear about your dreams and aspirations, I have one top goal in my first year: to build relationships with you, the members of BJC. I want to hear from you, each of you: What is your story? Where do your passions lie? What excites you about our community? What keeps you up at night? As we learn about each other, we can better apply the ancient wisdom of our Torah to our modern lives.

So let’s grab coffee, or tea, or ice cream…or some other fun treat! I have created a special portal just for scheduling appointments with me: https://www.calendly.com/ericlabbott. Please select a time and location and we will meet. If you do not find a time that works for you, please reach out to me and we will set something up.

If I am asking to get to know you, it is only fair that I share a bit about myself! Instead of a bio (which you can find online), here are some fun facts about me:

I’m part of a double rabbinic family—a family which just grew! I met my wife, Rabbi Eliana Fischel, at URJ Eisner Camp in the Berkshires while we were both rabbinical students. She now works as a rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation, and in so many ways, she is my rabbi. We have two wonderful children together: Ezra, who is almost two years old, and Rebecca, who is almost two months old. I cannot wait for you to meet them and for all of us to be a part of the BJC community!

I am a runner. I love to go on long runs around the DMV, especially right here in Bethesda (though I miss running on the National Mall). You may even see me around town pushing Ezra in my running stroller.
I love playing board games. I’m always ready to learn a new one, though I’ll warn you that I can get a bit competitive. My favorite board game is Catan—I highly recommend it!

My favorite biblical character is Isaac. Isaac barely appears in the Torah, and his story falls in the shadow of his father and sons. However, when I read between the lines, I see him as a man deeply devoted to his family while he also serves God. I aspire to be like him, dedicated to what matters most. You can listen to my retelling of Isaac’s story here.

I am an Eagle Scout. Growing up, I spent many years in the Scouts, including seven summers working at a Scout camp, Camp Yawgoog. For my Eagle service project, I collected toiletries for people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.

I am in a movie. Wes Anderson filmed some of his movie Moonrise Kingdom at Camp Yawgoog and I ran the ropes course when they filmed there. If you look closely, you can see my blurry shape supervising in the background of one scene!

I co-led a soup kitchen during rabbinical school. Alongside my wife and other student leaders, I organized weekly visits from local communities to volunteer at the HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen in New York City. We served warm meals and offered clothing and other services to 100-150 guests each week.
I believe that Judaism can change lives and change the world. My rabbinate is fueled by my vision for this better world, and I hope to guide individuals, families, and our community toward building this future together with Torah as our guide.

These next few months—and beyond—will be full of opportunities to get to know each other. I hope you join me for coffee, learning, prayer, and more so I can meet you panim-el-panim and get to know you better. My family and I are incredibly excited to join this community and I cannot wait to lead us toward a shared vision. Let the journey begin!

 *Dr. Ron Wolfson, Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community, p. 2
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. If you have a pastoral need, please call the BJC Office at (301) 469-8636 or email me at rabbiabbott@bethesdajewish.org.

When I am away, please contact Geryl Baer in the BJC office at (301) 469-8636, admin@bethesdajewish.org. She will know how to contact me or my substitute.

On behalf of Bethesda Jewish Congregation, we are delighted to welcome you, Rabbi Eliana Fischel, Ezra, and Rebecca to the BJC family. Brucha ha ba'ah, Rabbi. Welcome! We look forward to your presence on our bimah for Shabbat, holidays and High Holy Days and your guidance at life cycle events. We anticipate the wisdom of your sermons and the excitement you will bring interacting with all of us. We look forward to working with you and learning from you in the years to come. We surely are a blessed congregation.

We have been fortunate to work with Rabbi Sunny for over 20 years. He has always welcomed new members to BJC, and it is our honor to welcome Rabbi Abbott now to the BJC family.    

Over the coming months, there will be a variety of opportunities for congregants to meet and greet Rabbi Abbott and his family. There will be events for ALL: Rabbi Abbott’s first Shabbat Service is on July 1. We hope everyone will join us to welcome him to the congregation for his first Friday night and at Friday night services throughout the summer. Be on the lookout for announcements of future parlor meetings, which will be an opportunity to get to know our new Rabbi in a small, intimate setting. 

And, as a bonus, our buttons are back! A small team of volunteers from the Membership Committee, Diane Blumenthal and Liz Sloss, along with Craig Winslow and Jim Korelitz, worked with Geryl Baer and Amy Kertesz to produce our new buttons. Please wear them! It will help Rabbi Abbott learn our names. The Membership Committee will be working together with the Rabbi, the Program Committee, Geryl Baer, and Amy Kertesz on events and outreach activities to bring new members to BJC. 

All of us at BJC are dedicated to seeing that our congregation continues to thrive. If there is something that matters to you that you would like us to be aware of, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Click here to reach Wynne and here to reach Harri.

Change is something that all of us experience and is the yin and yang of being both a challenge and an opportunity. You may recall, Who Moved My Cheese?, which is all about change. Some of the key chapters are: Change Happens, Anticipate Change, Monitor Change, Adapt to Change Quickly, Change, Enjoy Change!, Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again & Again. . . the end. . . or is it a new beginning?" We have a new beginning and an opportunity to "Enjoy Change"!

Please join us in welcoming Rabbi Abbott to the Bethesda Jewish Congregation family.


Harri and Wynne
Click for the complete BJC July Calendar

BJC continues our Friday night worship at 7:30 PM. Saturday morning services will resume in September. Consult BJC Now for the latest information about in-person activities and for links to services if you prefer to worship virtually.

New Story Leadership is back for the summer of 2022- live and in person. Ten young university age delegates, four from Palestine and one from Gaza and five from Israel, arrived June 12, 2022 to spend approximately eight weeks In Washington D.C. They will learn together, live together, work together (in internships in Congressional offices and summer job placements) and socialize together. They will tell their stories to each other, to us on July 17th, and to audiences throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area.

On Sunday, July 17th at 3:00 pm in Covenant Hall, the NSL delegates will share their personal stories of struggle and hope, and how they are building a new story for understanding and cooperation in the Middle East through their Projects for Change program. After the delegates share their stories, there will be a question-and-answer period, followed by a reception.  

Join us in person or on Zoom for this wonderful event!
Book Club
Wednesday, July 27, 8 PM

The BJC Book Club will continue to meet virtually for the foreseeable future. We usually meet at 8 PM on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Our upcoming selections are: 

July 27: The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia- This historical novel, which is set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918, captures both the fate of a country in flux and the destiny of one family that has put love, faith and future in the unbelievable. 

Evelyn Ganzglass will send out the Zoom link prior to each meeting. If you are not already on the book club’s email list and would like to join us for any or all of our meetings, please let Evelyn know and she will add you to the list. 
Rabbi Sunny's Farewell Shabbat

BJC closed out a wonderful month of celebration with a bang. About 80 people attended Shabbat Under the Stars with the BJC Simcha Band. An amazing buffet of desserts baked by volunteers was served, chaired by Lauren Kline and Carie Schaffer. Many thanks to all our BJC bakers! Rabbi Sunny's last Saturday service was a full house, both in Covenant Hall and afterwards at a lovely luncheon in Memorial Hall, chaired by Jim Korelitz and Steve Turow. Our BJC community really made Rabbi Sunny's last Shabbat leading BJC something special, and our gratitude is boundless.

Pride Month

BJC went to Pride! Amy Kertesz and Karen Levi braved the crowds and cheered on the parade, joined by Amy's husband Mo and youngest son. We were thrilled to see the Jewish community represented, and cheered extra hard when the Edlavitch GLOE group marched by us. Pride was super fun, and we'd love for more people to join us next year!

We wrapped up our LGBTQ+ awareness month with a showing of the romantic comedy "Kissing Jessica Stein". After watching the movie and munching on a delicious dinner, the group spent an hour in discussion about LGBT issues through a Jewish lens. To see the list of recommended readings and resources, click here.

Mahjongg Madness
Did you miss out on our last Mahjongg Madness session? Not to worry, we play every month! June was a full house, with 16 players of varying experience. We're here to teach if you've never played! Free to join, but save a few dollars for a raffle ticket so you can win one of our prizes at the end of the session. Check the BJC website for more details.

Keep Calm and Mahj On!
The Bethesda Jewish Congregation Youth Education Program is now open for registration! We can't wait to welcome your family to the 2022-2023 school year.

BJC provides a warm, lively, and creative environment in which students develop a solid understanding of Judaism and a positive Jewish identity. Students also acquire the skills and ethics necessary to become responsible and motivated members of the Jewish community.

BJC welcomes students who have not yet enjoyed an organized religious school model as they begin to reach traditional B’nai Mitzvah age.
Take advantage of our flexible programming including one-on-one Hebrew instruction for grades 4-7.

First year synagogue membership is included for any new family that registers for the coming year! $25 per student early bird discount if you register by August 1st.

Make This the Year You Learn Hebrew!

Our multi-level Hebrew class for adults will resume in person on Saturday, September 24. There is a depth and richness to being able to experience prayer and Torah in the original that is available to you through the study of our people’s ancient yet amazingly modern language. We have groups from beginners through advanced and welcome everyone.
Tuition is free for BJC members and just $200 for non-members! That's a steal for this 9 month program.
We meet every Saturday with the exception of certain holiday weekends from 9:00 – 10:15 a.m. through May, ending just before Memorial Day.
L’hitraot! See you soon!

Please contact the BJC office with any questions. We're happy to help!
THE FRIENDS CLUB – Call for Board Members, Volunteers and Members
By: Marty Ganzglass

The Friends Club was founded in 1990 and is housed at 6601 Bradley Boulevard. It is a social program designed to enhance the lives of men living with Alzheimer’s disease and to provide support for their caregivers. The Club meets Mondays through Thursdays, from 9:30 to 1:30 and provides a familiar non-institutional setting with trained staff and committed volunteers giving the men an opportunity to socialize, share common interests, enjoy musical entertainment, short presentations and supervised exercise. 

I have volunteered at The Friends Club for the past twelve years. It is an extremely rewarding experience.

The Club is currently looking for candidates to join our Board, as well as new volunteers to commit to one day a week. And if someone in your family is in the early to mid-stages of Alzheimer’s consider visiting the Club and seeing if it is good fit for him.

If interested please contact Ken Silverstein, Executive Director at (301) 469-0070 

Rabbi Sunny and a few members of the Social Action Committee took part in the Poor People's March on June 18th. Attendees congregated at Freedom Plaza for a "Shabbat of Moral Movement" and then marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the main rally site. To learn more about the Poor People's Campaign, click here.

On Juneteenth, two congregants--Josh Silver and Karen Levi-- attended a program in support of The River Road African American Community and its Moses Macedonia Burial Ground. The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition (BACC) was formed by members of the Macedonia Baptist Church, located on River Road in Bethesda, Maryland. The BACC attempts to preserve the history of the post-Civil War African Community that thrived in this area of Montgomery County. The BACC has been working diligently with the county government to consecrate what remains of the grounds of the Moses Macedonia Cemetery. The remains of former slaves and members of the subsequent community lie in the hallowed grounds. In the last few years, spokespeople attended every public meeting of the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC). Unable to receive resolution, they engaged the public and media. Much of the land that contains the former cemetery and African American community has been built on and paved over. The fight for the remaining land continues in the courts.

The Social Action Committee of BJC supports the BACC and its ongoing efforts. Anyone who is interested in this action please contact Karen Levi, SAC Chair via the BJC office. 
For more information:

Be sure to review the BJC Social Action page to learn how you can be involved!
By:Marty Ganzglass
The One Journey Refugee Festival took place on the grounds of the National Cathedral on Saturday, June 25th. In addition to Afghan, Syrian and Ukrainian craft booths, there were musicians and dancers from Ukraine, Cambodia and elsewhere, with games and story telling for children. Representatives from refugee relief organizations, including Lutheran Social Services and Kind Works, both of whom BJC and BHPC work with as part of our Afghan Refugee project, had informational tables. And of course there were ethnic food trucks and ice cream stands. This is an annual event and hopefully more congregants from BJC can attend next year.

Pictured: Congregant Marty Ganzglass
Editor’s Note: Share the joys in your life! Send to: amy@bethesdajewish.org

Mazel Tov to:

  • The Rubenstein and Lion families on the Confirmation of Lin Lion
  • The Mendelsohn family on the Confirmation of Gabrielle Mendelsohn
  • The Danis and Schenker families on the Confirmation of Dylan Schenker
  • Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer on his retirement


Ever confused about when we remember the yahrzeit of your loved one? You can choose to remember this special date according to the Hebrew or English calendar. Get in touch with Geryl Baer in the office to review and verify the accuracy of your records.


Yahrzeits: July 2022

Beatrice Barsky, mother of Lisa Strauss
Jeanette Bixhorn,mother of Herbert Bixhorn
Patricia Bixhorn, wife of Herbert Bixhorn
Roz Bogorad, mother-in-law of Cindy Bogorad
George Borden, father of Victoria Bailer
Martin Borden brother of Victoria Bailer
Rosalee Bratt, mother of Jay Bratt
Alan Brenits, father of Donald (Don) Brenits
Betty Castleman, mother of Mark Greenstein
Shirley Cherenson, mother of Ruth Magin
Anna Fagan, grandmother of Karen Jerome
Zena Feldman, mother of Helen Dalton
Maurice Folsom, father of Henry (Al) Folsom
Hedwig Gluckstein, mother-in-law of Maran Gluckstein
Hope Horn, mother of Joan Schnitzer
Irving Jacobs, grandfather of Donna Goldberg
Aaron (Harry) Kramer, grandfather of Harri Kramer
Martha Kraus, mother of Mitchell Kraus
Frank Kretz, father of James Kretz
Eva Levi, mother of Karen Levi
Ruth Magin, mother of Todd Magin
Judith Posner, mother of Ted Posner
Sally Reicher, mother of Terri Reicher
Julia Robinson, daughter of Kurt Kohn
Herman Rosensweig, grandfather of Teri Brenits
Phil Schneider, father of Cynthia "Cindy" Bogorad
Marla Schwartz, sister of Linda Baum
Leona Silberman, mother of Paul Silberman
Coleman Silbert, father of Earl Silbert
Michael Wolpert, father of Ira Wolpert


In honor of Lorrie Van Akkeren’s Birthday by Bruce and Edith Goldstein
Lawrence Slifman and Barbara Ranagan
Margo Stern
Lorrie Van Akkeren 
In memory of Herime Schlossenberg from Sheila Wolpert


Wynne and Bruce Busman
Harri Kramer and Russell Hogya


Denise Diaab
The Killefer Family
Jim Korelitz and Liz Sloss
Terri Reicher
Margo Stein
Norma and Edward Stern
Lorrie Van Akkeren


In honor of Maran Gluckstein from the Parents, Students and Education committee 
In honor of Linda Blumberg and Stephen Turow from the Parents, Students and Education committee 
Lorrie Van Akkeren

And to all of our members who “round up” their synagogue support and donate their time.

We are now an affiliate partner with Modern Tribe! Shop for all your Judaica needs though this link or by clicking the image. Bethesda Jewish Congregation earns 5% of all purchases! You get wonderful new items, and you support BJC in the process. Happy Shopping! 

Sign up for Amazon Smiles and benefit BJC! Those pennies, nickels, dimes, and sheckles add up. It costs you nothing, but by doing your Amazon shopping through their Smiles program and designating BJC, we profit a little bit at a time -- BJC will get 0.5% of your purchase. Sign up now and choose BJC. It never costs you anything, and it's very easy to do. Just click below.
Board of Trustees (As of 7/1/2022)

Wynne Busman & Harri Kramer
Co-Vice Presidents
Ken Fine & Issie Resti
Treasurer Steve Turow
Secretary Michelle Goldstein

Helen DiStefano
Shoshanah Drake
Karen Levy
Ted Posner
David Slacter
Lorrie Van Akkeren
Board Members & Committee Chairs

Chesed Society Lorrie Van Akkeren
Education Amy Rubenstein & Shoshanah Drake
Financial Advisor Terri Reicher
Fundraising Robin Sorkin & Sandra Walter
High Holy Days Jim Korelitz
Intercongregational Partnership Liaison
Marty Ganzglass
Membership Diane Blumenthal & Liz Sloss
Immediate Past President Sandra Walter
Programs Diane Horn & Joan Kaufman
Social Action Karen Levi
Student Representative Gabby Mendelsohn

BJC Administration

Spiritual Leader Rabbi Eric L. Abbott
Synagogue Director Geryl Baer
Program/Communications Director Amy Kertesz
Rabbi Emeritus Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer


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