• 6601 Opens!
  • Middle East Discussion
  • Book Club
  • Honor Our Volunteers
  • ICYMI: Gun Violence Prevention
  • Committee Update: Actions to Support the Uyghurs
  • Nachas Notes
  • Meet A Member
June 2021 Newsletter
Rabbi Elhanan "Sunny" Schnitzer
Sivan/Tammuz 5781

CLICK for the Complete BJC June Events Calendar
Kriat HaRav—The Rabbi’s Call
Rabbi Elhanan “Sunny” Schnitzer
We live in perilous times. One cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on the television, or car radio, or visit the internet without a new outrage assaulting our eyes and ears. More school shootings, immigration arrests and children separated from parents, the news from Israel and Gaza, anti-Semitic demonstrations in Europe and assaults on Jews in the streets of New York and L.A.—the senses and the mind are overwhelmed.

It makes one wonder what has changed in the global— and the American—psyche that makes such outrages possible and acceptable. With a rising racist neo-fascist right, a violent and often anti-Semitic left, the echoes of the chaos of the 1930s resonates in the ears of anyone familiar with 20th century history.

And perhaps therein lies a big part of the problem. No one seems to remember history and as George Santayana famously and correctly said: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

And a new generation of Americans seems to know very little about the past or for that matter even the present.

We live in perilous times. The dumbing down of America and the West accelerates with assaults upon our system of public education at the highest levels of government. This is not news; it has been a problem for over a quarter of a century. It is simply more acceptable now and has become part of a transparent agenda. An ignorant population is more malleable, more easily confused, and more challenged to separate facts from fiction. This is how freedom is lost.

A chilling example of how far things have fallen was made apparent in 2018 with the release of a survey commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. The survey indicates that young people in the United States lack “basic knowledge” about the Holocaust.

While 11 percent of Americans adults interviewed said they were unaware or unsure of what the Holocaust was, that figure was double among respondents aged 18 to 34.

And while Auschwitz has long served as a haunting symbol of genocide and a byword for human suffering, 66 percent of young people were unaware or unsure of what the death camp was, compared to 41 percent of the general population.

It only gets worse. In May, during a “man on the street” bit on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, people were asked to simply “name a book.” Not to “name a book you have read recently” or “name any book you have read,” but just to give the title of a book. Every respondent could not name even a single book title.

We understand that the results were manipulated for this bit of comedy. We have no idea how many people were surveyed until the eight or nine respondents gave the outrageous response—or lack of response. But, according to a recent study from the PEW Research Center, we do know almost 1 in 4 Americans has not read a book in the past year. This is all the more appalling in a nation where periodical readership is at an all-time low, far too many people get their news of current events on Facebook, and it is common to tune in to a television network that only reinforces your already held point of view. It is a toxic mix.
We are becoming a nation of ignoramuses.

It is difficult for us, here in highly educated Bethesda, Maryland, living in the National Capital Area, where many folks are news junkies, and government policy decisions have a direct effect on our lives, to understand how the rest of the country sees the world. But unless we do something about it on a national level, we are in serious trouble as a nation and particularly for the Jewish people. Ignorance allows hatred to grow.

It is a problem that can be solved, but we will need to summon the national will to meet the challenge and we will need to give education the same sort of funding priority we give to our armed forces.

Sir Claude Moser taught; “Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.”
We Jews are a people who revere the written word, place the highest priority on education of the young, and know deeply that an educated population has been the key to our survival.

How might the Jewish people rise to the occasion and share our knowledge and experience with America and the world? That is a question worth answering.

Editor’s Note: This column first ran in June 2018. Sadly, three years later, it has never been more timely.
President's Column—Sandra Walter
Thank you all for the opportunity to serve as BJC President. BJC is my spiritual home, but more than that—you all are my community. I am proud of all that we as a community have accomplished over the past two years while I’ve been president, and I look forward to being part of our continued impact on the world, caring for each other, and growth of our BJC. 

To everyone at BJC, these are good and exciting times with the opportunity for our congregation to flourish by being out in the community and by welcoming new members. Please everyone—consider the role you can play and volunteer, continue to be BJC’s foundation with your synagogue support of dues and contributions, and communicate news of our offerings to welcome those you know and those you will meet to strengthen and grow our BJC.

Many acknowledgements were shared during the annual meeting, so let me simply underscore those here by thanking our board for their tireless commitment and those who have served as staff to support our endeavors. In Rabbi Sunny I’ve had a great partner, and I am so appreciative of his passion for BJC and collaboration with me. 

Over these two years, we’ve grown our programs, educated our youth, engaged our members, been a visible part of our larger community as a leader and a partner on issues that matter, stabilized our finances, reorganized our staff, integrated technology to reach more people, rebranded BJC with a new website, launched communications to better inform our members, professionalized our financial operations and launched ShulCloud, and of course, we made it through a pandemic without missing a beat. And so much more!

It is every president’s wish to leave an organization stronger than when you started. This is the result of equal parts timing, opportunity, and team. BJC was already in a good position when I started, and I am confident it has gained in wisdom, pride and strength in these two years. To Harri Kramer and Wynne Busman as they come into their co-presidency, you are the right people to lead us at this point in our history. I look forward to the future of our BJC.
Education Updates: Celebrating this Year; Looking Forward to the Next
By Maran Gluckstein , School Coordinator
On Saturday, May 22, we celebrated the end of the school year with an afternoon activity attended by almost all of the students and many of their parents. We tie dyed T shirts, played games, and enjoyed pizza. Each student received a gift bag with an individual Israeli Bamba snack package and a bubble necklace. 
We are looking forward to continuing Jewish learning at BJC next school year starting on October 9. We will have Kitah V’khug (Class and Club) for all students up to Grade 6, two Saturday mornings a month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. The third Saturday will be Mashehu M’yuchad (Something Special), a variety of afternoon activities including hunting for shark teeth, a Maccabiah sports competition, and many more to which we will encourage students to bring friends.
Wishing everyone a safe, happy, healthy, relaxing, and enjoyable summer. L’hitra-ot – See you soon! Maran
P.S. Don’t forget to send your everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-Judaism-but-didn’t-know-whom-to-ask questions to me by clicking here.
As We Get Ready to Return: 6601 Updates
By Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, Membership & Administration Coordinator
We are so encouraged by the news in recent days from the CDC, State of Maryland, and Montgomery County regarding the decline in COVID hospitalizations, deaths, and case numbers. We know that vaccinations and mask wearing have helped us achieve these declines.
The State of Maryland and Montgomery County have removed most COVID restrictions for vaccinated people; as of May 28, the county has been fully open and most health regulations regarding mask-wearing and gathering size restrictions expired.
BJC will follow all Montgomery regulations, as well as remain guided by the Jewish values of Pikuach Nefesh (saving a life) and Kol Yisrael Aravim Zeh le Zeh (All of Israel, each is responsible for the other).
We are truly excited to finally open our building on June 4 for worship. Here is an overview of what this means for us:
BJC is a private institution, and as such, our spaces do not technically count as “public.” However, we remain committed to your health and safety, and to our obligations to each other as community members.
Based on what we know about virus transmission, and because we are a singing congregation, it makes sense for us to continue to wear masks while we are worshipping indoors. Also, we want our children under 12, who cannot yet get vaccinated, to be able to join us.
In Covenant Hall, we will keep the doors to the outside open. Also, we have the benefit of being able to move chairs around to accommodate those who wish to be together in a pod or who wish to be further away from others.
Guidance on wearing masks and social distancing is rapidly changing. We expect that we will continually be updating our guidance, particularly as we work to create uniform protocols among all who are in the 6601 complex.
We will continue to stream our services. So please continue to join us if you’re not comfortable yet coming in person.
On the horizon, we will slowly begin having more in-person events. Please keep reading BJC Now for updates. Please know that we are actively listening to you—our congregational community—to hear what you want to continue virtually vs. in our building or both.
We know that it’s been a difficult year and appreciate how you all have come together as a virtual community. We’re looking forward to brighter, in-person days ahead!
Tips from Treasurer Terri Reicher
As we head into the end of our fiscal year, look out for documents from your friendly treasurer. First, those of you with a balance due will receive a statement. Please make arrangements to pay your balance before June 30, preferably sooner.
Second, in early June we will be sending statements for fiscal year 2021-22, which begins July 1. We ask that 70 percent of your dues be paid up by the High Holy Days, unless you have a previously agreed arrangement. The Jewish calendar loads many of our expenses into the fall, and therefore we load our dues payments into the fall. The remainder of dues are payable by December 31.
We will be contacting those with dues accommodations for the coming year. Dues arrangements must be agreed to by the member and the BJC President and are reviewed yearly.
If your circumstances have changed and you can pay full dues or increase your payments, we urge you to do so. BJC depends on the generosity of our members, and as we come out of Covid restrictions and can come together as a congregation, we will be able to spend more to create fun and fulfilling events for you.
As always, if you have questions or need to discuss your statement, please email me. 

If you have any questions about ShulCloud, please get in touch with Elizabeth at, and she'll help. You can also click here to link to the instructions on our website,
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
SNAP SHOTS: Getting Together for Worship & Fun
Click for the complete BJC June Calendar
Zoom links will also be provided weekly in BJC Now
Shabbat Worship in Person
Friday, June 4, 7:30 PM

We welcome you back for our first indoor, in-person Shabbat service in a very long time. Join us and share in Shabbat with your BJC friends. We choose to be masked; we will have the doors open, and we can move chairs about so that everyone is comfortable. 

Come back! We miss you!

We will also live stream our service for those who aren't ready to join us in person.
BJC/BHPC/MIIC to Receive 2021 Interfaith Bridgebuilder Award
Sunday, June 6, 4-6 PM Online

Our three Spiritual Siblings Sharing Sacred Space will be honored by the Interfaith Council of Greater Washington with the 2021 Rev. Dr. Clark Lobenstine Interfaith Bridgebuilders Award. This is a ticketed online event available for a donation of $35 ($25 Seniors and Students). Tickets can be purchased by clicking here
The ICPC Sponsors a Discussion on Middle East Perspectives
Sunday, June 3, 9:15 AM

The Intercongregational Partnership Committee (ICPC) is supporting BHPC's Adult Education session on focusing on the crisis in the Middle East. Rawan Odeh, a Palestinian American and Co-Managing Director of New Story Leadership (NSL), and Eran Nissan, now an Israeli peace activist and a former combat soldier in the special forces of the Israeli Defense Forces, will discuss:

  • the devastating events that have escalated into the current crisis
  • how the crisis has affected their communities
  • how their NSL experiences shaped their political activism
  • how the peace movement is responding 

Rawan and Eran are alumni of NSL’s summer program, which have been showcased by BJC and BHPC. Join the Zoom discussion by clicking here. (Meeting ID 857 6618 3170) You may also call in at (301) 715-8592.
Book Club
Wednesday, June 23, 8 PM

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

June 23: Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell. In a bold feat of imagination and empathy, this novel gives flesh and feeling to a historical mystery: how the death of Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son, Hamnet, in 1596, may have shaped his play “Hamlet,” written a few years later. The novel is a portrait of unspeakable grief wreathed in great beauty.

July 28: Sadness is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher. Unflinching in its honesty, unyielding in its moral complexity, this novel is about a young man who is preparing to serve in the Israeli army while also trying to reconcile his close relationship to two Palestinian siblings with his deeply ingrained loyalties to family and country.
Click here to get the Zoom link for the meeting or to join the Book Club. 

More about BJC's Open Book Club is our website. Click here.
Honoring Our Volunteers, Installing the New Board of Trustees
Friday, June 25, 7:30 PM

Join us at this special Shabbat service where we recognize our extraordinary volunteers who are the heart and soul of Bethesda Jewish Congregation. We will also install the new Board of Trustees who assume their new duties on July 1. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all who make BJC thrive.

In Case You Missed It: Gun Violence Prevention
By Karen Levi
With the following words by Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer, the joint Bethesda Jewish Congregation and Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church’s program for Gun Violence Protection(GVP) began on May 3, 2021.
“Our hearts have long been broken by gun violence. Broken hearts are not our problem. Numb hearts are our problem. We ask that you place into our hearts not only compassion for the victims but action on their behalf. Give us strength and fortitude for the long struggle. Let our voices rise together and never cease until all people, from the battlefields to our cities to our broken homes can live without fear. May all who feel that owning a gun is the only solution to their fear have their hearts renewed with love and faith in You and faith again in humanity.”
The virtual presentation consisted of a short film entitled, DIY Gunshot Treatment on Chicago’s South Side. Though the film was brief, it was surprisingly intense. I am certain many of the viewers felt tears welling up in their eyes. The movie depicted small groups of teens, as young as 15-years-old, learning first aid for gunshot wounds from specially trained lay instructors. The teens were taught about staunching the bleeding, which is often the cause of death among gunshot wounds.
Something I did not know is that the police, after securing a crime scene, are not required to administer first aid to a victim. Law enforcement frequently attempts to prevent bystanders from helping a victim. Another horrifying aspect—and the cause of unnecessary deaths--is the refusal of hospitals to treat gunshot victims. One young man in Chicago was transported 45 minutes away by ambulance to a Shock Trauma Unit. Due to the long trip and the lack of appropriate lifesaving treatment, the teen died. If you would like to watch the film, it is available on YouTube. Click here for the link. 
After the film, two experts shared their insights. A question and answer session followed. Reverend Gray concluded the thought-provoking program.
If you are interested in becoming more active in the fight for Gun Violence Prevention, the following are suggestions to jumpstart or increase your involvement.

If you would like to receive periodic updates on gun violence prevention events and legislative actions in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., contact Barbara Faigin. 
Social Action Wants You to Know: One-Stop Shop for Volunteer Opportunities

Now that COVID restrictions are lifting and we’re vaccinated, there is huge demand for volunteers. In Montgomery County, there is a central clearinghouse to find opportunities. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is rich with a variety of ways to give back to the community. There’s even a specific section for those over 50. Learn more by clicking here.
From the ICPC: Action to Support the Uyghurs
Compiled by Marty Ganzglass, Karen Levi, & Gary Sampliner
Do not stand idly by. Make your voice known as an upstander, not a bystander. Protest the genocide of the Uyghurs! Here are some concrete actions you can take:
1. Email or contact friends and relatives to support S. 65, The Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act. The good news is that the four Senators from Virginia and Maryland already are signed on in support of S. 65, along with 46 other co-sponsors. Efforts to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Act through the U.S. Senate are ongoing. The goal is to get 60 senators committed to cosponsoring the bill. 
A full list of the current cosponsors, as well as the text of the bill, can be found here. The Senators who have not yet enlisted as cosponsors include, among others:

  • Alex Padilla (CA)  
  • Chris Murphy (CT)           
  • Tom Carper (DE)
  • Bob Menendez (NJ)      
  • Kristin Gillibrand (NY)    
  • Chuck Schumer (NY)
  • Rob Portman (OH)          
  • Bob Casey (PA)                
  • Pat Toomey (PA)
  • Jack Reed (RI)                  
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
  • Bernie Sanders (VT).

If you have friends or relatives in any of these states, contact them and urge them as constituents to contact their Senators to support S. 65. You’ll find a script for calls or e-mails to your Senators here.    
The Uyghur Human Rights Project has an easy-to-use link to sign a petition to your Senators. You can change the opening to thank the Senators from either Maryland or Virginia for already supporting the bill here

2. Contact Volkswagen of North America to protest their factory in Xinjiang Province that either uses Uyghur forced labor or suppliers that do so. The email address is Or call VW at their U.S. headquarters office (248-754-5000) and tell them you are opposed to VW’s continued operation of its factory in Xinjiang using Uyghur forced labor. Text for a sample email and script for your phone call can be found here.
3. Join Jewish World Watch’s planned day of protest at the VW location in Herndon, Virginia on June 13th. To register, click here. Join Jewish World Watch and follow the Uyghur organizations in the United States. By joining JWW, you help support their campaign to end the genocide of the Uyghurs. 

4. Look for the label—don’t buy clothing Made in China. Most of the cotton produced in China comes from Xinjiang Province. Uyghur slave labor is being used to harvest the cotton and produce it into cloth or clothing marketed in the United States. The Chinese Government is making every effort to conceal that its exports are being produced by Uyghur slave labor in Xinjiang. Determining the source of components and products is difficult and murky. There are a few companies in the United States that specifically document the source of their materials. Lists of companies that have committed to take action requested by leading NGOs against forced labor in Xinjiang and those that have failed to make such commitments can be found here, while links to petitions addressed to some specific companies can be found here

5. Email U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken by clicking here and urge him to work for the release of Ekpar Asat, the brother of Rayhan Asat, one of the panelists from our April 12 program. A noted Uyghur intellectual and businessman, Ekpar Asat has been imprisoned without charges or trial by the Chinese Government and subject to forced “re-education.” Tragically, Rayhan has not heard from her brother for several years. Feel free to use or adopt the sample email text here.

6.  Stay tuned for proposed actions with respect to the 2022 Winter Olympics scheduled to be held in China. Efforts are underway to communicate with some of the larger sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Mars-Wrigley, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, and others and possible consumer boycotts. Jewish World Watch is focusing on a diplomatic boycott by official representatives of the U.S. government, while allowing spectators and athletes to attend/compete and hopefully protest the treatment of the Uyghurs.
Take any or all of the above recommended actions. Do your part so that “NEVER AGAIN” really means “NEVER AGAIN.”
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:

  • Sarah Mendelson and her parents Kelly & Aaron Mendelson on Sarah becoming a Bat Mitzvah.
  • Alera Shtasel-Kretz, who is graduating from high school and will be attending Tulane in the fall.
  • Judy & David Scott whose granddaughter Ella, daughter of son Joshua and Ruth, became Bat Mitzvah in Rockville on May 8 and whose grandson Jedidayah (Jedi), son of their son Jason and Kippy, became a Bar Mitzvah in Brooklyn on May 22.
MEET A MEMBER: Nancy Allinson & Marty Dickinson
In her words
It all began with singing. I was sitting next to Karen Levi at Rockville Chorus rehearsal. This was maybe five or six years ago. We struck up a friendship right away. Then, one day, a while back, Karen asked me if I would be interested in singing with the BJC choir for the High Holy Days! Yes, I said, with some nervousness. Was I up to this challenge? Well, three years later. . . I will be singing again, hopefully, in person. come this July. 
It all began with a mutual interest in religion and Tikkun Olam. Marty Dickinson, my partner, is an Episcopalian with a strong commitment to Social Justice. Before the pandemic, I had been attending many services with him at the Washington National Cathedral. We love talking about religion and spirituality and politics. Our trip to Israel in 2018 (my second), Marty’s first, strengthened that religious/spiritual bond.
It all began with a nudge from Karen. This time, she asked me if I might want to join the synagogue. I wasn’t sure. Maybe. The pandemic hit. Marty and I were attending Shabbat services, online, just about every Friday night. In a phone call with Rabbi Sunny about something else, the invitation came up. Marty and I had been attending so regularly, how about joining? That did it. We joined together.
Between Torah Study, Shabbat services, book club, and choir, I am thrilled to be a member of BJC. I love the warmth and accepting nature of the members. Rabbi Sunny has created an inclusive and joyful space. Thank you for accepting me and Marty into the Congregation! 

Yahrzeits: June 2021

Stella Apfelberg, mother of Alan Kirschner
Lillian Austin, mother of Laurie Mabile
Beatrice Barsky, mother of Lisa Strauss
Bill van Berg, heartmate of Lorrie Van Akkeren-heartmate
Jeanette Bixhorn, mother of Herbert Bixhorn
George Borden, father of Victoria Bailer
Martin Borden, brother of Victoria Bailer
Alan Brenits, father of Donald (Don) Brenits
Betty Castleman, mother of Mark Greenstein
Anna Fagan, grandmother of Karen Jerome
Lilleta A. Fink, mother of Lisa Savitt
Hedwig Gluckstein, mother-in-law of Maran Gluckstein
Irving Jacobs, grandfather of Donna Goldberg
Harry Jerome, father of Karen Jerome
Ida Kornfield, mother of Judy Folsom
Aaron (Harry) Kramer, grandfather of Harri Kramer
Joseph Laufer, father of David Laufer
Barbara Levy, mother of Karen Levy
Judith Posner, mother of Ted Posner
Doris Rauch, aunt of Craig Winslow-aunt
Sally Reicher, mother of Terri Reicher
Sylvia Robbins, grandmother of Rich Kochman
Herman Rosenweig, grandfather of Terri Brenits
Jerome Schlossenberg, father of Sheila Wolpert
Beatrice Schwartz, mother of Linda Baum
Leona Silberman, mother of Paul Silberman
Goldie Walter, grandmother of Sandra Walter

It's not too late to remember and honor our Dads, not to mention our high school and college grads.

Why not also honor them with a donation to BJC?


Each month we promote Amazon Smiles as an effortless way to give BJC 0.5% of your purchases of eligible products without any cost to you. As you look at the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, consider that donations matter and every bit helps. Please take a minute and sign up.
A Novel Idea
By Karen Levi

How many of you writers—who are published—are hiding in the nooks and crannies of your house, apartment, or garden? Who is too bashful to speak up?
So far, we have identified four BJC authors—Marty Ganzglass, Diane Horn, Karen Levy, and me—who have agreed to donate to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund for each book sold.  
Help BJC by buying our books! And, I invite all interested authors to contact me if you want to join us for the promotion and also reap the publicity, which is what every author desires.
Please be in touch by August 15. Perhaps we can have an in-person fall event, like a book talk. Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church will also begin a similar program, and plans are to publicize a combined list of the authors among us to both congregations.
BJC reserves the right to select books that reflect the spirit and mission of BJC. Click here to learn more about the authors and purchase copies of their books. 


Harri Kramer & Russ Hogya, in honor of Sammy Peterson’s contributions to the Board and Insights
Harri Kramer & Russ Hogya, in memory of Rose Sherman, Harri’s grandmother
Maris & David Mazie
Lisa Getter & Johnathan Peterson, in memory of Eleanor Getter
Lorrie Van Akkeren


Marty & Barbara Fagin, in support of Uganda
Judy & Al Folsom, in honor of Rabbi Sunny’s birthday
Evelyn & Marty Ganzglass
Jim Korlitz & Liz Sloss, in honor of Rabbi Sunny teaching Torah Today class.
Maris & David Mazie
Kelly & Aaron Mendelson, in gratitude to Rabbi Sunny and BJC for Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah
Lorrie Van Akkeren

And to all of our members who “round up” their synagogue support and donate their time.
Board of Trustees (7/1/2020-6/30/21)
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