IN THIS ISSUE

  • Help Wanted
  • High Holy Days: Sing & Write
  • Back to Shul/Shabbat Under the Stars
  • A Chance to Learn Hebrew
  • ICYMI: New Story Leadership
  • Social Action: Villages
  • Youth Perspective
  • Nachas Notes
  • Meet A Member
August/Sept. 2019 Newsletter
Rabbi Elhanan ‘Sunny’ Schnitzer
Tammuz/Av/Elul/Tishrei  5779/80

CLICK for the Complete BJC August/September/Early October Events Calendar
Kriat HaRav—The Rabbi’s Call
Rabbi Elhanan “Sunny” Schnitzer

In July, a group of BJC members enjoyed the privilege of experiencing the unique international Jewish heritage connected to our congregation. We visited the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. We were delighted by the culture and history that surrounded us in Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest. The motivation for our visit was to see for ourselves the restored Jewish Quarter of the town of Boskovice, in the Moravia province in the Czech Republic and more specifically the synagogue that was the original home of BJC’s Holocaust Memorial Scroll #143.
 
We were greeted by the city historian and the regional museum curator, who were quite excited about our visit, for a personal tour of the regional museum and the ghetto. Of the three ghetto gates, one still remains, and it is through this gate that we stepped back in time. Looking at old photographs in a gallery, it is apparent that very little has changed since the ghetto was emptied out on March 19, 1942 and the Jewish population deported to Terezin. Today, local families live in the houses that formerly belonged to the 463 Jews of Boskovice, of whom 14 returned after WWII.
 
The highlight of our visit was the restored large synagogue, where, it is believed BJC’s Holocaust Torah resided. A somewhat unique feature is that many of the Shabbat evening prayers are decoratively painted on the walls and ceiling. Some of these familiar prayers were written in Aramaic rather than Hebrew, and there were a few variations in the wording compared to how they appear in most prayer books today. Also, on the ceiling were Shivitim , meditative paintings with mystical imagery. The rabbis of this synagogue were Kabbalists! We stood as a group before the Holy Ark in wonder and excitement at our discoveries.
 
We also visited a recently unearthed Mikvah , under a house across the street, fed by a spring, still fresh and still flowing after years of neglect. While there are no Jews today in this once thriving center of Czech Jewish life and learning, we were all moved that the local government cherishes its Jewish heritage, honors it, and insures that this community is not forgotten.
 
Prior to our visit to Boskovice, we made a pilgrimage to Terezin, to visit the “large” concentration camp where most of the Jews were interred. Some of us were confused or upset by how “normal” Terezin appears today. It is a living village inhabited by people who work in nearby businesses and factories. Some buildings have been set aside to serve as examples of the cramped and overcrowded living quarters. There are galleries and museum spaces. The so called “secret” synagogue has been preserved. The crematorium has been restored and appropriate monuments installed at the cemetery outside of the camp. But, the “model ghetto” looks today, disturbingly, like a charming Czech hamlet.
 
Terezin was not a “death camp” like Auschwitz. It was a detention and transport camp. 88,000 of the 155,000 who for some period of time resided in Terezin were transported to the death camps. At Terezin there were no gas chambers. The 35,088 people who died here perished from disease (primarily typhus) and late in the war, starvation. The overcrowding, lack of sanitation, poor nutrition, and abuse, did the job of killing. Terezin is a cautionary memorial to what can happen when final solutions to “racial questions” are imposed by governments that fan the flames of hatred and take up an agenda of national purification.
 
Touring these places, the camps, ghettos, synagogues of Central Europe gives rise to complex emotions. The attitudes that gave rise to the Shoah still exist. In Hungary, the current government of Viktor Orban openly tolerates and even encourages anti-Semitism as a political tool, and there is no shortage of Hungarian Neo-Nazis ready to openly express hatred of Jews. In the 2008 Hungarian census, over 100,000 people identified themselves as Jews. In the most recent census, according to Tomas Grosz, president of Beit Orim Budapest’s Reform Jewish community, only 11,000 people identified as Jewish, primarily because of their fear of what the future may hold for them.
 
For 75 years the Jewish people have shouted Never Again. But these words are empty words if they do not inspire humanity to change. The normalization of places where genocide and murder took place is an atrocity. That genocides have occurred repeatedly since 1945, and that racism seems to be acceptable again in both Europe, and now in the United States, is a stain upon humanity and a poor reflection upon us, the Jewish people, who swore to be the conscience of the world. The past is prologue and evil never sleeps. Something we would do well to remember.

Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
From the Director of Congregational Education Rabbi Jennifer Weiner
Happy to Meet You
On my way to BJC this morning, I was listening to a radio show about current events. The show closed with a snippet of a song from a movie celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of “The Muppet Movie.” The song was “The Rainbow Connection. From the back of the car, my older child started to sing along. “ Ima ,” he said, “we sing this song at camp. Do you know it?” Our conversation continued with me recalling about when I first saw the movie. Then we talked about the first time we each heard the song. Before the conversation had ended, we analyzed the meaning of the words and sang it together. That conversation is the type of discussion I hope to cultivate in our religious school and our congregation. D’or l’dor …from one generation to the next.
 
My journey as a Rabbi and a Director of Education has been one of joy and learning. Through serving different congregations for the past 23 years since ordination at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, Ohio, I have had the opportunity to meet amazing people, witness incredible blessings, and learn from many teachers and students. I have served congregations in Louisiana, New York, Las Vegas, and more locally in Woodbridge and Fredericksburg. Last year, I also taught at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria and was the Confirmation Program Director. 
 
Although I’m proud to be a teacher, I am also currently a student in the Executive MA Program of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR, I will receive this Executive Master’s Degree in May 2020. 
 
While in Woodbridge, I met my husband, Jeffrey, a native of Virginia. We have two sons, Aaron and Micah. Aaron is going into 6th grade and Micah is going into 2nd grade. Aaron just returned from his 4th summer at Camp Harlam in PA. If you want to know about Jewish summer camp, ask him. He will talk your ear off.
 
I am so excited to now serve as Rabbi Educator/Director of Congregational Education at BJC. I look forward to getting to know the BJC family and community. Know that my door is open to you, and I answer emails in as short a period of time as possible. Find me at rabbijennifer@bethesdajewish.org
 
Be on the lookout for an upcoming email about a BJC Religious School family get-together in August!
President's Column—Sandra Walter
Can You Help Tend Our BJC Community Garden?
Summertime at my house means tending the garden. It’s my daily zen—watering, weeding, wandering through my yard where garden boxes, planters, and pots of all shapes and sizes are filled with flowers, herbs, and vegetables. OK, I know, technically the ones with seeds are fruits. The most prolific crop is cherry tomatoes. Why? I’ll answer that in two ways. First, because they grow and ripen quickly. Second, the plants keep coming back year after year—sun-ripened tomatoes fall back into the garden with seeds bursting forth into the soil to see light the following year. This year, at least 200 second generation tomato plants emerged to abundantly populate my garden and give me seedlings and fruits to share from my now community garden with family, friends, and neighbors.
 
One morning as I was picking tomatoes, I thought BJC is a community garden. We are a place where people come together, where nurturing of the mind and soul lead to inner peace through spiritual activity and religious worship. We are a place where the one generation plants the seeds for the next, where people cultivate relationships, where neighbors tend to the needs of friends in times of heartache and happiness, where rolling up your sleeves and getting involved brings personal satisfaction and community benefits.
 
This summer, BJC is planting the seeds for the Jewish calendar year ahead. We welcome Rabbi Jennifer Weiner , who is bringing a fresh and experienced perspective to youth education, and education overall, as our Director of Congregational Education. The new term of Board trustees is working together to cultivate our community for growth and to help our members reap the benefits of a vibrant garden of opportunities throughout the year. Rabbi Sunny continues to lead us with wisdom, insight, and teachings that help each of us nurture ourselves spiritually and grow in our knowledge of our faith, our culture, our responsibilities to humanity, and our practice of Judaism. As we search for a new Synagogue Administrator to join our community, your offers to volunteer, as well as your patience and support are appreciated.
 
As the days start to shorten, High Holy Days Volunteer Coordinator Jim Korelitz and co-chair Howard Berkoff will be asking for you to join them as a volunteer for a few hours during the holidays to help our community run smoothly and safely. So many of you have been volunteering for years, please continue and consider bringing a new volunteer with you. If you are new to the congregation, respond to the call to volunteer for this and other activities during the synagogue year. It’s a great way to roll up your sleeves and make our BJC a garden of Jewish life and values, a garden that has much fulfillment for each of us to harvest. [And if you want some tomatoes or tomato plants, please let me know.]
HELP WANTED!
BJC Office Help Needed NOW!
At this writing, after nearly 60 days of interviews, the position of BJC Synagogue Administrator remains unfilled. While advertisements have been re-posted, it will be many weeks before someone is in the position.
 
This is a busy month in the BJC office: High Holy Days mailings, second payment billing, and fall publicity roll outs all happen in August.
 
The Rabbi can't do it alone.
 
Do you have experience and proficiency with financial, membership and communications/ marketing function, organizing volunteers, and planning and implementing events? Are you tech savvy? Proficient in Excel, Quick Books, Social Media, or Website Management?
 
Can you give us a few hours a week?
 
Do you know someone with this skill set looking for a position full time or part time?
If you do, please contact Rabbi Schnitzer in the BJC office or see the full job listing at Jewish Jobs.com
Rabbi's Message
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. This is particularly necessary now that 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. Please call: 301-469-8636 #3.
HIGH HOLY DAYS SCHEDULE

Selichot       
Saturday, September 21 at 8 PM Concert & Service, Borscht Belt to Broadway
 
Rosh Hashanah
Sunday, September 29 at 8 PM, followed by Community Oneg
Monday, September 30
        10:00 AM Morning Service
        1:30 PM Family Service for All Ages
        3:30 PM Tashlich at Meadowbrook Park, Chevy Chase, Md
 
Yom Kippur
Tuesday, October 8 at 8 PM Kol Nidre
Wednesday, October 9
        10:00 AM Morning Service
        1:30 PM Family Service for All Ages
        2:30 PM Yom Kippur Discussion
        3:30 PM Musical Meditations
        3:30 PM Chant Circle
        5:00 PM Reading of the Book of Jonah
        5:30 PM Yizkor and Neilah Services
SING! High Holy Day Choir Rehearsals
Begins Wednesday, August 7, 7:30 PM
 
The BJC High Holy Days Choir begins our rehearsal season the first week of August under the able baton of conductor Thomas Colohan and beautifully accompanied by Karin Firsow. Leading the congregation in song and inspiring our community at this most holy time of year, is a spiritual experience beyond compare. We still have room for more singers. Contact Rabbi Schnitzer if you would like to give it a try.
Writers & Readers Wanted and Needed
 
One of the unique High Holy Days traditions at Bethesda Jewish Congregation is the inclusion in the service of members’ selections of prose and poetry. These can be either inspirational writings you have come across and would like to share with the congregation or your own original work.
 
Please send your submissions for the High Holy Days Supplement to the BJC office by September 15th.
 
Readers: If you’d like to read from the bimah at services, let us know. Please call Rabbi Schnitzer or send an email to rabbi@bethesdajewish.org
High Holy Days Volunteers
By Jim Korelitz
 
One thing that makes BJC so special is the active participation of our membership in our services and events. This is especially true during the High Holy Days, when we need more than 75 volunteers to help guarantee that everything runs smoothly for our members and guests. We need volunteers to help with ushering, parking, removing/returning books, setting up and cleaning up for the Rosh Hashanah Kiddush and Tashlich , and other tasks.
 
Please complete the volunteer form that you will receive in the mail with your High Holy Days information packet and return it to the BJC office. Or, you can go online at SignUpGenius and sign up for one or more tasks.
 
If you have any questions, please contact Jim Korelitz, High Holy Days Volunteer Coordinator, at jjkore@msn.com  or 301-385-3015.
Yizkor Book
Add Your Loved Ones to BJC’s Book of Remembrance
By Sandra Walter
 
Who will you remember these High Holy Days? This Yom Kippur add your special tribute to beloved family and friends in BJC’s Book of Remembrance/ Yizkor Book. This book memorializes how our loved ones touched our lives spiritually and culturally.
 
Every BJC member is encouraged to include their loved ones—whether family by birth, by marriage, or by choice—in this keepsake book that will become part of the BJC archives.
 
BJC members may submit names of remembrance for complimentary listing in the Yizkor book. Tzedakah in your loved one’s names during the High Holy Days is a mitzvah , and your generosity to BJC is appreciated. Your generosity helps BJC fund programs, services, and operations. Help us raise at least $10,000 in donations—every gift makes an impact.    
 
All you have to do is provide the info, we’ll take care of the creating the page. If you would like assistance in creating your tribute, please ask.
 
Directions for submitting will be sent in a special email in August. If you want to reserve your space, email the page size and donation amount with your name to sandra4bjc@gmail.com .
 
Choose from these Family Memorial Page Options. Suggested donation levels are noted:
 
  • Quarter Page: Suggested $72 minimum donation, up to 6 names (additional names $18 per), and one photo or dedication
  • Half Page: Suggested $118 minimum donation, up to 8 names (additional names $18 per), and one photo, and a poem or remembrance
  • Full Page: Suggested $172 minimum donation, up to 12 names (additional names $18 per), up to two photos, and a poem or remembrance
  • Be a Yizkor Angel: $1000 minimum gift includes a cover page dedication, unlimited names and photos on multiple pages.
  • Name Listing Only: Suggested $36 minimum donation for the first 3 names; additional names $18 donation
  The submission deadline is September 5 . Explicit directions will be sent later in August.
Selichot Concert & Service
Borscht Belt to Broadway: The Return of The Kosher Hams : An evening of music and laughter with Joan Wolf, Leah Chiaverini, Karen Levy, and Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer

Saturday, September 21, 8 PM

The Selichot theme of longing for deep connection runs through not only the High Holy Days, but through popular music as well. “ Ta Sh’ma ” (as the rabbis of the Talmud say)—“come and listen,” to music that will make you laugh and cry as we explore the affairs of the heart as preparation for the High Holy Days season.

A few of your favorite BJC musicians have put together an evening’s entertainment that is sure to please. The concert will be followed by a fancy dessert reception and a Selichot service that ends around midnight. The final hour of the Shabbat before Rosh HaShannah was deemed by our rabbis to be a time of special power with special prayers and songs.

Come party with us! FREE—Reservations Preferred
Rosh HaShanah Tashlich and Picnic

Re-located to Meadowbrook Park
7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, off East West Hwy near Jones Bridge Rd
Monday, September 30, 3:30 PM

Tashlich , our annual ceremony where we throw our bread upon the waters and release our spiritual “ick,” has a new location this year. There will be a playground, good food, and friendship. It’s a great afternoon geared for the entire family. Come again or come for the first time, but please do come.
 
More about our new venue here . RSVP preferred.
EVENTS

Click for the complete BJC August/September/Early October Calendar
SPECIAL PROGRAMMING NOTES
Torah Today is Back! Every Wednesday 6:30 PM
 
After a brief summer hiatus, BJC’s weekly Torah study group returns. No Hebrew or prior experience required to plumb the depths of ancient Jewish wisdom, history, and lore. Can’t make it to BJC on time? You can attend “virtually” on Zoom by using this link

Saturday Shabbat services are on summer vacation until Labor Day. Join us on Saturday, September 7 at 10:30 for our joyous worship.
Back to Shul Night and Shabbat Under the Stars
Friday, September 6, 6 PM; Services at 7:00
Summer’s over, and the time is right for—back to BJC! Don’t keep your love of BJC a secret. Share your passion for our unique expression of Judaism with others. Bring your friends to our outdoor musical Shabbat.
 
Enjoy a free barbecue and activities for children. Meet BJC’s new Director of Congregational Education Rabbi Jennifer Weiner . Let’s get the word out about our warm, inspiring, and exciting synagogue and school. We’ll be stronger for your efforts.
 
Please RSVP for the barbecue to the BJC office.
Rebetzin Yaffah’s Hebrew Chant Circle & Spirit Spa
Saturday, September 14, 4:30 PM Covenant Hall
Open your Heart for the Holy Days.

Chant is an ancient form of meditation that can open the doors of perception.

Repetition of a sacred phrase can clear the mind of clutter,
and connect us to each other and the divine.

Join chant leader, Rebbetzin Yaffah Schnitzer , for a program designed to reach and strengthen your spiritual core. Experience the power and potential of this pathway to soul healing. 

No prior knowledge of singing, chanting, or Hebrew language is necessary. Bring a mat or pillow for your comfort, if you like.

RSVP to: Yaffah18@aol.com
Book Club
Wednesday, August 28 and September 25, 8 PM

The BJC Open Book Club meets in the Lounge at 8 PM usually on the 4th Wednesday of every month. Anyone is welcome to join or just drop in for a particular book discussion. For more information, please contact Evelyn Ganzglass eganzglass@gmail.com    
 
August 28: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a novel that exposes the intimate toll the unjust imprisonment of black men takes on a couple’s relationship. It is reviewed as a deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both African-American masculinity and African-American womanhood in 21st century America.
 
September 25: The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict taking place on earth between humans and nonhumans. 
Make This the Year You Learn Hebrew!
Starting Saturday, September 14 at 9 AM
By Maran Gluckstein
Our multi-level Hebrew class for adults will resume with the opening of Religious School on Saturday, September 14. 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 $200 for non-members. We meet every Saturday that school is in session from 9:00 – 10:15 AM. If you will be a new student, please contact our instructor, Maran Gluckstein , at 301-984-0948 so that she can be sure to have the proper books waiting for you.  L’hitraot!  See you soon! 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: New Story Leadership
By Marty Ganzglass & Harri j. Kramer

“Change the Story, Change the World” is the motto of New Story Leadership, a nonprofit that identifies emerging agents of change from Palestinian and Israeli society. These delegates spend the summer in Washington, DC, sharing their powerful stories and learning new tools to create economic, political, and social change in the region.
 
The NSL program has three distinct elements. The participants learn to tell their individual stories and shared experiences; they work on Capitol Hill learning to speak truth to power; and they develop social impact projects to better their home communities.
 
About 60 members from BJC and BHPC attended the Eighth Annual New Story Leadership Event on Sunday, July 14. They were treated to an inspired presentation by young Israelis and Palestinians, interning in the offices of Members of Congress and paired with host families.  Pastor Gray of BHPC opened the program with moving words about both congregations’ long-standing investment in NSL. Rabbi Schnitzer described the NSL past and present participants as “our best hope,” referring to their commitment to promote people-to-people peace building.
 
The audience sat rapt listening to the varied backgrounds and stories. For example, an Israeli participant is trying to break the barriers of change by helping Israeli’s learn to speak Arabic because 95% cannot. Based on demand, he has expanded his online program to offering face-to-face meetings. Another NSL participant is working to bring more Palestinians into the field of journalism. A third is using her art to communicate present-day reality and her vision for the future.
 
Congressman Jamie Raskin , whose office is hosting both a Palestinian and Israeli NSL participant, spoke about the importance of bringing Palestinians and Israelis together at work and in a family setting. He emphasized the benefits for not only the participants, but also the other staff in his office as well.
 
After a lively Q and A, the event closed with NSL’s Managing Director Rawan Odeh presenting Rabbi Schnitzer and Associate Pastor Chris Foster with plaques in appreciation of the Synagogue and Church's support for NSL. 
Social Action Wants You to Know: Villages -- A Great Way to Connect in Your Neighborhood
by Russ Hogya

For the past few years, I have had the pleasure of being a driver for the Little Falls Village in my neighborhood. Villages are a true grassroots effort that sprouted about 18 years ago to help seniors age in place. It is estimated that there are about 200 villages across the nation, and many are in the greater Washington, DC metro area.
 
In the village model, members help each other. Many seniors are capable of living alone, but need help with specific tasks, such as small home repairs, computer issues, snow removal, and driving to the grocery store or doctors. The senior members pay a fee to access the volunteers who respond to those various needs. Each village has its own structure and operations. Many provide for a variety of social connections and events to keep its senior connected and engaged. 
 
I support the Little Falls Village , which operates in the 20816 zip code. We have a single coordinator who posts the requests from our seniors. I scan those emails and respond when I’m able. About 100 requests come in each month. Typically, I’ll drive my elderly neighbors to doctors appointments about four-six times a month. I choose to stay with them, but that’s not required. Each appointment is generally about a 2-hour commitment.
 
I’ve learned that I’m more than a chauffeur. Often, I’m a sounding board, or just someone to talk to. I’ve met the most fascinating people, and they often share their amazing life stories with me. 
 
I love being a part of neighbors helping neighbors. I always come home with a smile.
 
Here’s a link to the Montgomery County site with resources about villages and links to the active villages in our area.
PERSPECTIVES
What's on your mind? BJC members are not known for being without opinions--we often see our members published in The Washington Post. Why not share your thoughts? Youth of all ages are encouraged to share. Send your thoughts to:  hjk.obx@verizon.net
We Demand to be Counted
By Alera Shtasel-Kretz
 
Editorial Note:  Margaret Bachrach was so moved by Alera’s eloquence as she delivered this D’Var Torah on the occasion of her Confirmation on June 8th and acknowledgement of Margaret’s conversion that Margaret requested it be shared with the BJC congregation.

Thank you so much for sharing this special Shabbat with both me and my new friend, Mrs. Bachrach. Both of us have chosen to be here: we are both participants in the continuum of committed Jewish life.
 
Today’s parsha , Bamidbar is the beginning of the fourth book of the Torah. Bamidbar starts with God commanding Moses to take a census of the Jewish people: “Take a total count of the entire community of the sons of Israel according to their families, according to their father’s house, counting the names of all males twenty years old and upward.” [Numbers, Chapter 1.] The purpose of doing so was to count all of the men eligible for both the army and for taxation.
 
In fact, this parsha continues a theme that has concerned me from the time of my Bat Mitzvah : the express exclusion of women in the lessons of the Torah, and by implication often, and here quite explicitly, in the very count of the Jewish people. 
 
Some scholars have questioned whether this exclusion in Bamidbar is deliberate, or whether it was a construct imposed by scribes, reflecting the culture of their times. My view is that it really doesn’t matter: if God is omniscient, then the directive is explicit. If the scribes imposed this interpretation, then it remains, notwithstanding, the language of the Torah that we read for all time. And, if the census is to count the entirety of the Jewish population, and Judaism values the uniqueness of each individual, then why does the drumbeat continue, including only half of us?
 
At my Jerusalem Bat Mitzvah , July 2016, I discussed the central role of Miriam in Chukat , also from the book of Numbers.
 
In that parsha , Miriam—a significant prophet and leader in her own right and hardly dependent on her younger brothers—is responsible for saving the Jewish people by locating water during the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering in the desert. “God provided a moving well of water, which followed the people until the moment of Miriam’s death.” Without her, all would have died. 
 
Standing at the Southern Wall of the Old Temple, I asked then: “What was God trying to say by giving such a critical position—and power!—to a woman? What does Miriam teach me, a young Jewish woman, about how to live and act?— particularly when, today, despite Miriam’s leadership, women are still not allowed to sing or pray at the Western Wall, considered the most sacred site in Judaism, the place where our ancestors went to seek God. And, notwithstanding Bamidba r, women in Israel assuredly serve in the army and, equally assuredly, are taxed.
 
Similarly, at my BJC Bat Mitzvah , October 2016, I reflected on the meaning of Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot . That profound Torah portion, from the Book of Exodus, describes both the Lord’s relationship with Moses and of Moses’ return to Mount Sinai.
 
In regaining God’s favor—which then permits Moses to ascend Mt. Sinai and return with a replacement version of the Ten Commandments—God says, “I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” I then questioned what does that mean: “I KNOW YOU BY NAME.” Does God not know everyone by name? Are there those in the world so unimportant that their names do not matter, much less their numbers?
 
Using three stories from my time in Israel, I asked if God did not know the names of:
  1. Women – who could not pray, or become Bat Mitzvah – at the Western Wall;
  2.  Israeli Arabs, citizens of Israel, whom Israel does not even recognize much less count; and
  3.  Palestinians, whose homes are bulldozed for settlements; whose schools and infrastructure are secondary if they exist at all; who routinely suffer unnecessary indignity at the hands of the government of Israel.
I ask, again, with some rage: How can this be? In 2016 and in 2019 and seemingly forever. Is God not pleased with women, with non-Jews, with those of different cultures, or poor, or suffering, or somehow not-chosen?” Even to the point of not counting us—women—as “Jewish people”?
 
Which gets me back to the census of today’s parsha . In the United States, the Constitution requires a census, which now happens every 10 years and is upcoming in 2020. The requirement is that every person be counted—adults, children, babies, citizens, immigrants, refugees, and even visitors or undocumented individuals.
 
Basically, the Census Bureau counts everyone dwelling in a residential structure—for the purpose of establishing equal population-based districts for the U.S. House of Representatives. For the first time, however, this Administration is trying to ask a new question and count only “citizens.” 
 
Just last week, new evidence was uncovered—and conveyed to the Supreme Court, which is now considering the constitutionality of this new approach—expressly stating that “using citizen voting age populations would be advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”  [Dr. Thomas Hofeller, late Republican redistricting expert, 2015 study]    
 
Essentially, under-counting or not-counting will intimidate not only Hispanic households and thus reduce their political power, but also anyone who may legitimately be on the path to citizenship and/or who might be a Dreamer or an undocumented immigrant who could be deported on the basis of that question alone.
 
Can a census that does not count everyone ever be legitimate? Should we accept undercounting or exclusion anywhere—including in the census of the Jewish people required by God in today’s parsh a? Doing so not only devalues and denigrates individuals and groups, but also deprives society of all of our many potential contributions.
 
At least one interpretation of Bamidbar , wholly bypassing the gender question, is that each individual is important and “each …can contribute to society as a whole through unique, [personal] gifts and talents.” [Gidon Herschander, D’var Torah, The Times of Israel, May 23, 2014]  It is stressed, additionally “that realizing one’s individual potential should be done only by contributing to others beyond oneself as well.” [Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks] Again, it is abhorrent—and as a practical matter, senseless—that this lesson, these gifts, this social impact should be limited to men.
 
Miriam continues to be an example for me. She was honest, caring, and joyful, and she did her work without a lot of fanfare, regardless of the arrogance of the men. She also made clear that women must be people of caring action. That they must take care of those around them in their communities and in the world. This is the essence of Bamidbar— assuming Miriam could be counted at all.
 
At both of my B’nai Mitzvah , and reaffirmed by my Confirmation today, I committed to being a Jewish woman and aspire to make the world better, and also to be someone who knows everyone’s name, counts everybody—and treats everyone with respect, dignity, kindness, and compassion. The point is that we can choose our own roles—and that is true freedom.
 
Mrs. Bachrach and I chose to be here. We demand to be counted in the ranks of the Jewish people.
Nachas Notes
Editor’s Note: Here’s a spot to kvell with your BJC community. Let us know what you’re celebrating. An engagement? A new baby? Grandbaby? Got into that great college? A new job? Send your good news to: hjk.obx@verizon.net

  • L'dor v'dor at BJC! Mazel Tov to Margaret Bachrach who became a Jew on June 5th at Adas Israel, after 48 years of being married to her Jewish husband, Burt. During Shabbat services on June 8th, while celebrating her Confirmation, Alera Shtasel-Kretz congratulated Margaret, who she had just met for the first time, on choosing to be counted as a Jewish woman. Margaret, in turn, referred to Alera as "her elder" and promised to follow her inspiring example. 
 
  • Mazel Tov to Marty Ganzglass upon the publication of The Price of Freedom, the sixth and final volume in his historical novels set during the Revolutionary War.  
Meet a Member: The Korelitz Family
By Jim Korelitz
Hi, we’re Jim and Liz Korelitz and we have been members at BJC since 1995. Both of our children grew up at BJC, including having their Bat/Bar Mitzvahs here and continuing with Tichon , confirmation, and working as class aides until they started college.
 
Our daughter, Katy , is married to Nate and they recently (Nov. 11) had a baby— Sam , our first grandchild. They live in North Carolina, so we now drive down there regularly (about once a month) to play with Sam. The Rabbi married our son, Ben , and Rachel last year, and they live close by in Rockville (with Gaby, our first granddog). You might recognize Ben as one of the bartenders at several of the past Purim spiels. He and Rachel also attend other BJC services and events (we all love the food trucks and Shabbat Under the Stars). 
 
This will be my second year as the High Holy Days Volunteer Coordinator. Although it’s summer, I am already busy with the planning activities. See the article above about High Holy Days and your opportunities to choose your volunteer tasks.
 
In this picture, we are on a family vacation in Alaska a few years ago.
Yahrzeits

AUGUST 2019
Burton Bernard, father of Cathy Bernard
Herman Cohen, grandfather of Donna Goldberg
Noah Cohen, nephew of Nancy Glassman
Minnie Druckman, grandmother of Linda Blumberg
Howard Faigin, father of Marty Faigin
Daniel Goldstein, father of Jim Goldstein
Edward Goldstein, father of Dana Goldstein
Hope Horn, mother of Joani Schnitzer
Milton Kochman, grandfather of Richard Kochman
Isadore Kornfield, father of Judy Folsom
Bernard I.H. Kramer, father of Harri Kramer
Kenneth Mandeville, son-in-law of Lorrie Van Akkeren
Ruth Merson Magin, mother of Todd Magin
Julia Robinson, daughter of Kurt Kohn
Sara Schlacter, mother of David Slacter
Phil Schneider, father of Cindy Bogorad
Marla Schwartz, sister of Linda Baum
Rosalie Shiffman, mother of Sheila Wolpert
Frieda Stepper, mother of Shirley Altschuler
Irving Turow, grandfather of Stephen Turow
 
 
SEPTEMBER 2019
Jack Barksy, brother of Lisa Strauss
Barbara Cahan, grandmother of Sandra Walter
Grace Rein Cohn, mother of Susan Kraut
Adrian Curtis, sister of Richard Fogel
Isadore Frankford, father of Norma Stern
Frank Gold, father of Judy Scott
Allene Gordesky, mother of Joan Kaufman
Laura Jane Ketcham, mother of Kathy Spiro
Sherri Kost, mother of Amy Kost
Vanessa Mallory Kotz, wife of Gary Kotz
Ruth Broza Levin, grandmother of Helit Broza
George Loeb, husband Marcia Loeb
Anne Pelter, mother of Lance Pelter
Jack Silberman, father of Paul Silberman
Lillian Rosenberg Silbert, mother of Earl Silbert
Fanny Stern, mother of Ed Stern
Nancy Shu-Teh Cheng Yang, mother of Catherine Yang
Thank You

A Shout Out to our Oneg Hosts in June
 
Ling Chin & Gary Sampliner 
Jean & Gary Ratner
Wendy Shay & David Wall  

The following list recognizes donations made through July 16, 2019.
         
Donations to the General Fund
 
Mitchell and Julie Kraus      
Shirley & Gerson Yalowitz
Lorrie Van Akkeren  
Maran Gluckstein, in honor of her granddaughter's birth
Harri Kramer & Russ Hogya, in honor of Mindy Silverstein
Norma & Edward Stern, in memory of Bill van Berg
Edith & Bruce Goldstein, in memory of Bill Van Berg
Wynne & Bruce Busman, in memory of Bill Van Berg
Diane Blumenthal & Craig Winslow, in memory of Bill Van Berg
Burt Bachrach, in memory of Bill van Berg
Diane Blumenthal & Craig Winslow, in memory of Doris Rauch
Harri Kramer & Russ Hogya, in memory of Phyllis Hoffman, Bill van Berg, and Harri’s grandparents Rose Wagman Sherman and Aaron (Harry) Kramer
Sheila & Ira Wolpert, in memory of their parents
 
Donations to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund

Edward & Norma Stern       
Lorrie Van Akkeren  
Judith & Janeth Ginsberg    
Aaron & Kelly Mendelsohn, in honor of their daughter’s  Bat Mitzvah
Anita & Warren Farb, for gun violence prevention
Sana Shtasel & James Kretz, In honor of their daughter Alera's Confirmation
Lorrie Van Akkeren, in memory of Susan Levin
 
To the Cuba Fund

Lorrie van Akkeren   
         
A Special Thank You

And to all of our members who “round up” their synagogue support and donate their time, as well as donate their time to volunteer.
Board of Trustees

President Sandra Walter
Vice-President Jeremy Pelter
Treasurer Terri Reicher
Secretary Lorrie Van Akkeren

Trustees
Jason Engel
Ken Fine 
Helen Dalton
Alan Grunes
Alan Lichter
Ted Posner
David Slacter
Committee Chairs
Communication [An Opportunity!]
Education Issie Resti
Financial Advisor Jason Engel
High Holy Days Jim Korelitz
Student Representative Sammy Peterson Intercongregational Partnership Liaison
Marty Ganzglass
Membership [An Opportunity!!]
Past President Shoshanah Drake
Programs Jaon Weidenfeld
Social Action Harri j. Kramer

BJC Administration
Spiritual Leader Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
Director of Congregational Education Rabbi Jennifer Weiner
Synagogue Administrator [An Opportunity!!!]

BJC News
Interim Newsletter Editor Harri j. Kramer hjk.obx@verizon.net

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