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February 2019 Newsletter
Rabbi Elhanan ‘Sunny’ Schnitzer
Shevat--Adar I 5779
CLICK for the Complete BJC February Events Calendar
Kriat HaRav—The Rabbi’s Call
Rabbi Elhanan “Sunny” Schnitzer

Sefaradi Music Matters
The Sefardim , the Jews of Spain, lived on the Iberian Peninsula for fifteen centuries. Expelled in 1492 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the Sefardim settled in North Africa, the Middle East, France, Italy, and parts of northern Europe, but were welcomed most warmly in the Ottoman Empire. In exile, the Sefardim maintained their language, Ladino (a relatively pure form of Castilian Spanish with a mixture of Hebrew) and their oral culture. Songs were passed down through the generations, usually by women, and new songs were composed about love, loss, daily life, holidays, and history.
Ladino, once the trade language of the Adriatic Sea, the Balkans, and the Middle East and renowned for its rich literature especially in Salonika, today is under serious threat of extinction. Most native speakers are elderly, and the language is not transmitted to their children or grandchildren for various reasons. In some expatriate communities in Latin America and elsewhere, there is a threat of dialect levelling resulting in extinction by assimilation into modern Spanish.
UNESCO has declared Ladino an endangered world cultural heritage. Many of these communities were located in the mountains of Bosnia and other former Yugoslav republics. World War II and the Yugoslav civil wars of the 1990s devastated these communities, particularly Sarajevo, the hometown of DC resident Flory Jagoda .
Flory's first recording Kantikas Di Mi Nona (Songs of My Grandmother) consisted of songs her grandmother, a Sephardic folksinger, taught her as a young girl. Following the release of her second recording, Memories of Sarajevo, she recorded La Nona Kanta (The Grandmother Sings), songs she herself wrote for her grandchildren.
Now in her 90s, Flory no longer tours or performs publicly, but continues to be a leader in preservation of Ladino music, culture, and language.
Vocalist and guitarist Susan Gaeta is an important member of a new generation of musicians who are exploring the rich and varied traditions of Sephardic music. Originally from Connecticut, where her grandfather played clarinet in a Klezmer band and acted in Yiddish theater productions, Susan lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for eight years, where she performed classic jazz and traditional Argentinian folk songs.
After moving back to the United States, Susan continued her explorations in jazz and toured with Flory. In 2002, Susan was selected to participate in The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities “Master-Apprentice” program.
During her year-long apprenticeship, Susan began performing as a soloist, continuing Flory Jagoda’s Sephardic traditions for today’s audiences, learning songs that had been in Flory’s family for generations. “I had been singing with Flory for several years, but our formal master-apprentice relationship deepened my understanding of this unique music and my dedication to preserve it for future generations,” says Gaeta.
Susan has appeared at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Askenazi Festival in Toronto, Canada, and historic concerts in Istanbul and Sarajevo. She is currently a Master Artist with Virginia Humanities, teaching and continuing Flory Jagoda’s work.
Gaeta sees herself as a creative bridge between the traditional music and its modern future.
Now Susan has her own apprenticita , Charlottesville singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gina Sobel.
Susan and Gina will be performing at BJC on February 17 at 7 PM along with special guests. Subsequently, Susan and Gina, along with Mike Sobel on mandolin, and I, will be performing this same concert in 4 Cuban cities, March 24 – April 1.
This is a performance not to be missed.

Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
Concert, Art Auction, Cuban Jewish Crafts for sale, Cuban Drinks & Snacks
Tickets in advance are only $20 online at here . Tickets purchased at the door are $25.

From the President—Shoshanah Drake
Exciting Musical Memories Ahead!
The musician/music lover in me is so incredibly excited about the programing coming to BJC in February and March! 
It’s something old and something new for me, as first I get to start rehearsing and preparing for our amazing annual Purim Spiel directed by our one and only Joan Wolf . This fun event will happen on March 16th and will surely be an evening of community, laughter, and all out silliness! I have attended the spiel as both a cast member and an audience member and both are amazing ways to experience the fun. If you are interested in being in the cast, please contact Joan Wolf immediately, and if you would rather be in the audience, don’t forget to get your tickets, and maybe an extra one for a friend! The something new for me is happening on February 17th. 
As the Rabbi describes in detail, BJC is hosting the Festival de Musica Ladino featuring Susan Gaeta and Gina Sobel. You may know I’m a music teacher. I have studied many different genres of music, but Ladino music is not one with which I am very familiar. I am so excited to have this opportunity to learn about this historical music and get to experience it from such great musicians. The added bonus of this event benefiting the Cuban Jewish Community at a time when they need it more than ever makes it even better. 
I hope to see many of you at both of these events. Bring your friends! I am sure these magnificent events will create lasting memories!
From the Director of Congressional Education—Mindy Silverstein
From Fairy Tales to Text Study
It’s funny how thoughts come to you. Last month I was working with a group of students when the following popped into my head. “If you were to re-write a fairy tale, which one would you select and from whose perspective would you tell it?” As you can imagine, this led to some very creative thinking among the students. Some would retell Cinderella from the perspective of the step-sisters; others would reimagine the story of Rapunzel from the perspective of her quite bewildered hair dresser, and others would tell the story of Shrek from the perspective of his parents. 
I then asked them what they thought was missing from the story. For example, once Rapunzel was rescued from the tower, what happened to all that hair? And I asked them, what is the lesson that the story teaches us? Suffice it to say Goldilocks was NOT a good role model.
We then wondered if the conversation we just had on perspective and fairy tales figures into how text study may be approached. We thought answering the following questions would make a good start:
  • From whose perspective is the narrative being told?
  • Is any information missing?
  • Are there questions that are not addressed in the text?
  • What is the lesson or modern day questions/issues that this text attempts to answer?
  • Are the actions or behaviors exhibited by the characters the same action you might take? How are they similar or different?
  • Do we gain a deeper understanding of the text and of ourselves if we examine it from a different perspective?
For example, would we understand Esau and Jacob and the Stolen Blessing any better if told in Esau’s voice?
What I find amazing about these questions is that the questions are relevant no matter how old one is; it is the answer that changes based on life’s experiences. Attempting to actively read text while finding those connections that talk to you is what makes text study so amazing for me and what I hope to transmit to the children.  
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.

Click for the complete BJC February Events Calendar
Let's Go to Boskovice!
Join Rabbi and Rebbetzin Schnitzer on a Rare Adventure
June 29 -- July 7, 2019
  • 3 days Prague (with a 1/2 day trip to Terezinstadt)
  • 1 day Boskovice (Largest surviving Jewish quarter in Moravia - one of the surviving synagogue buildings is the home of BJC's Holocaust Torah)
  •  3 days Budapest
The trip includes:
  •  All private luxury motorcoach/driver services in Prague, Boskovice, Bratislava, and Budapest
  • All private expert guide/assistant services in Prague, Boskovice, Bratislava and Budapest
  • Daily breakfasts at hotels in Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest
  •  5 lunches and 4 dinners 
  • Privately guided tour of Strahov Monastery Libraries in Prague Castle
  • Beer-sampling experience in Prague Castle
  •  Half-day privately guided excursion to Terezin from Prague
  • 3 nights hotel stay at the Alcron Hotel in Prague 5 star (Radisson)
  • 1 night hotel stay at the Grand Hotel River Park Bratislava 4 1/2 stars (Marriott)
  •  3 nights hotel stay at the Kempinski Corvinus Hotel Budapest 5 star
  •  All entrance fees to sites based on 20 guests touring in Prague, Bratislava and Budapest
COST: $3975/ pp includes RT air from Dulles on Air France. (Single supplement available)
Land Only $2550—participants may make their own flight and land transfer arrangements.
Contact Rabbi Schnitzer for more information and a full itinerary. $700 per person deposit due March 1.

Chant Circle: "Opening The Heart” Chant Circle and
Spirit Spa

By Rebbetzin Yaffah Schnitzer

Why do we say that BJC is more than a synagogue? One reason is that we strive to bring to our congregants--and to the Jewish community--experiences that not only deepen our understanding for, and appreciation of, our Jewish heritage, but also afford comfort and healing opportunities to minds and hearts. That is the significance of the Hebrew chant. It is an experiential devotional practice that uses a melodic repetition of a Hebrew phrase from sacred text, illuminating a path toward greater understanding of our Jewish liturgy, and creating an effective way to enter meditation and awaken our inner wisdom.
Over the past 20 years, my study and practice of Hebrew chant, based on the teaching of world-renown Rabbi, Shefa Gold, has become the foundation of my life’s transformational mind, body, and spirit healing journey. 
Because of the powerful healing of past trauma and spiritual growth that I have personally experienced with this practice, I love sharing it and teaching how the deepening of the practice can help release blockages. It can facilitate shifts in thinking to allow healing from the past to take place, creating an environment of good mental, physical and spiritual wellness. 
Here is how it works….breath and spirit have the same name in Hebrew, ruach . One of the components of chant is connecting to the breath to create a focused attention, let go of the “chatter” in the mind, and delve into silence to enter a meditative state connecting the spirit to the divine source. Silence is an important component. This is the place to receive guidance and healing from the “still small voice” within. It can be understood as surrendering of the small mind— mochin d’katnut into a transforming presence.
Just as interpretation of text may have purpose and meaning, each chant has a kavanah , an intention, a purpose or use. As a trained chant leader, I guide the group’s energy through a process, inviting everyone to give themselves permission to let go of self-consciousness and allow the transformative power of the chant to do its work and open the possibilities of healing.
Did I say this is experiential? Sound intriguing? Then join me as I lead our monthly chant circle, generally held on the second Shabbat of each month, from 4:30-6:00 PM. All adults are welcome, and no prior experience or knowledge of Hebrew is necessary. Dress comfortably and feel free to bring a pillow or mat if you prefer sitting on the floor.
Participation is free, but RSVPs are requested. See the BJC NOW weekly announcements or go to . Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions and/or if you would like to be added to the email notification distribution list.
We hope to see you on February 9 at 4:30 PM. 
It’s Time to Laugh Your Tushes Off for PURIM
Saturday, March 16 at 6:30 PM

By Joan Wolf

Y ou wait with anticipation and muse, “How is BJC going to produce an even funnier spiel than last year? HOW will they serve even more delectable food?? And, how much more mind-blowing, world-class talent can grace that stage?!?” 
It’s happening again. This year’s theme is “CHICAGO: All That MEGILLAH Jazz!” and it promises to be a delight. Fun fact: in this version, Haman is totally subdued by his dominatrix wife and he can’t get a word in edgewise. Some of her views in song: “…Got a little message, meant for every Jew. You bow down to Haman, bow down or you’re through! They say that life is tit for tat and that’s the way I live. I sure deserves a lot of tat for what I’ve got to give….Check out Haman’s gallows, they’re nothing to poo poo. You bow down to Haman, or he’ll make poo of you!”
And don’t miss memorable characters such as Victoria Secret and Bubbe, who will be portrayed by one of BJC’s newest members!
Make your reservations by calling the office or write to . Tickets are $50 and include catered dinner, unlimited libations, and actors who will make you feel lucky to be alive!
If that wasn’t enough enticement, this IS JOAN WOLF’s final foray----celebrate 18 SHOWS WITH HER!
Book Club
Wednesday, February 27, at 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 .

The following are upcoming selections:
January 23: Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse combines autobiographical and psychoanalytic elements. The novel, named after the German name for the steppe wolf, in large part reflects a profound crisis in Hesse's spiritual world during the 1920s while memorably portraying the protagonist's struggles to reconcile the wild primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises.

Look Ahead: March 27:  Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver is a novel of two families, in two centuries, who live in Vineland, NJ, navigating what seems to them to be the end of the world as they know it. It paints a startingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times, when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.
In Case You Missed It:
Friends Who Feast  

By Issie Resti

During the High Holy Days, Rabbi Sunny reminded us that building and maintaining relationships with each other is a core part of who we are as a congregation. To help enhance our connections as a community, BJC held the inaugural Friends Who Feast potluck on Sunday, January 27th. It was the first in what we hope will be an ongoing series of get-togethers designed to provide an intimate setting for congregants get to know each other.
The small dinner was hosted by Joan Wolf and brought together women who have been members anywhere from several weeks to several decades. It was a great opportunity to meet new people and nurture the relationships that make BJC such a great congregation. Delicious food and fascinating conversations nourished body and soul. Keep an eye out for an invitation to one of our future "feasts"!

Fund Raising News
Good As We Give

by Sandra Walter, Vice President
Thanks to all who have already donated in BJC’s As Good As We Give fundraising campaign. If you haven’t already seen it, click here to see a short clip reminding you why BJC is so special.
We would like to encourage those who have not yet given to give to join our growing honor roll. Please make a pledge now or send a gift to BJC. We are making progress toward our overall fundraising goal, but still have a ways to go to reach it. Thank you.

What's on your mind? BJC members are not known for being without opinions --we often see them published in The Washington Post . Why not share yours now? You don’t have to wait for High Holy Days to impart your wisdom. We welcome them! Youth of all ages are encouraged to share. Please send your thoughts to: 
Ask Montgomery County Council to Take Action against Racial Stereotypes and Mascots

By Josh Silver (I'm in the middle of the picture)
I have co-founded a grassroots advocacy group called Rebrand Washington Football (RWF) that has been asking Mr. Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington professional football team, to change the name of his team. The name, R-skins, is a dictionary-defined racial slur and perpetuates unhealthy stereotypes of Native Americans. RWF has convinced County Executive Marc Elrich to introduce a resolution for the Council’s consideration asking Mr. Snyder to change the name of the team.
Other local governments have taken action. Click here for the DC government’s resolution and in Arlington County, VA.
The task is now to convince a majority of the council to support Mr. Elrich’s resolution. Click here to get a letter that can be used as a template to send to your council member (or see below). You can find the email to your council member here. Let me know if you have any questions, and please copy me on any letters you send. You can reach me at . Thank you for your consideration. 


Dear County Council Member:
               It is our understanding that County Executive Marc Elrich will be introducing a resolution asking Mr. Snyder to change the name of the professional Washington football team. The name of the team is a dictionary-defined racial slur that perpetuates stereotypes and demeans Native Americans.
In 2005, the American Psychological Association (APA) passed a resolution calling for the immediate retirement of Native American mascots in schools and athletics in part because the APA determined that such mascots were detrimental to the learning environment of both non-Native and Native youth. Over 2,000 high schools have dropped Native American names and mascots and 28 have dropped the name R-skins.
               The District of Columbia and Arlington County, Virginia have passed resolutions.
If Montgomery County also adopts a resolution, local governments would be sending a strong signal to Mr. Snyder that it is time to change the team’s name. A resolution would also serve as a valuable educational tool, increasing awareness in Montgomery County about the harms caused by the name and logo of the football team.
               Persecution against Jews have been aided and abetted by the use of stereotypes and name calling. It is with this perspective that I call on Mr. Snyder to change the name of the team. Please pass a resolution asking Mr. Snyder to change the name of his team.

Nachas Notes
Editor’s Note: We all need a little good news. Here's a space to let your BJC family know about the great news in yours. Share! Send to:

  • Mazel Tov to Rabbi Sunny and Rebbetzin Joani Schnitzer on grandchild #5, beautiful baby Lilian Hope Covitz (Yaffah Uriella bat HaRav Hadara u'Reuven Avraham), who arrived Friday, January 25 4:38 PM, 6lbs 11.4 oz. 18 inches. 
  • Mazel Tov to Al Folsom on his 87th birthday on January 28.
  • Mazel Tov to Zane Hogya, who started his new job as a life guard and swim instructor at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA on January 28. Zane will continue dog walking and dog sitting.
Meet a Member: Ruth Magin
By Ruth Magin
My husband, Todd, and I became members of BJC when we moved back to Montgomery County where we had lived for many years, after having lived in Annapolis and Reisterstown for Todd’s work. We were looking for a shul and a religious school that was warm and welcoming and could work with our two boys, Jacob and Benji, who were approaching Bar Mitzvah age. We knew it would be a challenge to find a synagogue willing to overlook the requirement of membership prior to Bar Mitzvah , as well as one that could also accommodate our boys’ Jewish day school level of education. We were thrilled that BJC welcomed us with open arms and easily made accommodations for our boys’ B’nai Mitzvot .
Both boys loved their religious school experience and continued not only in the Tichon program, but they also became madrichim , helping within the religious school in general, and tutoring BJC students in Hebrew. We have no doubt that Jacob and Benji’s BJC education and the opportunity to work in the religious school, greatly enhanced their connection to and love of Judaism.
Currently, I am a doctoral student at Georgetown University, studying climate change and corporate ethics. Prior, I spent 15 years working in the international economic development field, primarily creating international company-to-company partnerships between electric power companies in the United States and East Europe. I also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mauritania, West Africa and was a Sherut L’am volunteer in Israel.
When the boys were 2 and 4 years old, I stopped working to care for them and then, eventually, my mother. Todd holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins, and works as a software engineer for a defense contractor. Jacob is a recent graduate of Colgate University in economics, and is currently interning at an international trade concern in D.C. Benji is in his third year at Cornell in the Bachelor of Architecture program, and is studying in Rome this semester.
Serving as BJC’s Program Chair is an immense honor as I enjoy the opportunity to continue making BJC the warm and welcoming place that I first encountered almost a decade ago. Earlier, I served as Chair of the Social Action Committee. I look forward to working as a team with the board, the rabbi, BJC staff and other members to create meaningful Jewish experiences that strengthen connections within the BJC community and brings spiritual enjoyment to our lives.
February 2019

Shlomit Bauman, great aunt of Helit Broza
Ruth Bauman-Mehauss, grandmother of Helit Broza
Ida Benderson, mother of Eric Benderson
Jacob Benderson, father of Eric Benderson
Blanche Blaney, mother of Maureen Pelter
Mildred Busman, mother of Bruce Busman
Herbert Nathan David Cahan, grandfather of Sandra Walter
Harold Coplan, uncle of Lois Rose
Curtis Evey, father of Bunny Roufa
Georg Gluckstein, father of Fritz Gluckstein
William Greenberg, father of Carol Ann Rudolph
Beatrice Haber, mother of Miles Haber
Leon Jacobson, father of Annie Cifarelli
Marvin Kotz, father of Gary Kotz
Bernice S. Kramer, mother of Harri Kramer
John Krettmeyer, father of Nancy Glassman
Yuval Mehauss, uncle of Helit Broza
Zion Mehuass, grandfather of Helit Broza
Daniel Moyer, father of Barbara Faigin
Henri Pelosof, father of Lorraine Pelosof
Sarah Roger, grandmother of Robert Poogach
Benjamin Rouse, husband of Bunny Roufa
Ernest Joseph Schmalz, father of Lorraine McMillen
Diane Schnitzer, mother of Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
Shirley Selditch, mother of Renee Asher
Bessie Hurwitz Shay, mother of Wendy Shay
Reve Madeoy Sugarman, mother of Elsa Weinstein
Shirley Tahler, grandmother of Rori Kochman
Judith Taylor, mother of Lyne Taylor-Genser
Lolly Toll, wife of Steve Toll
Goldjean Turow , mother of Steve Turow
Harry Walders, father of Larry Walders
Miriam Winkler, mother of Robin Doroshow
Thank You

To the General Fund
Ellen & Marvin Sirkis
Helen Wolfe   
Nancy & Herbert Milstein     
Amy & Bruce Mehlman        
Naomi & David Balto
Earl Silbert     
Lorrie van Akkeren    
Lottie & David Mosher          
Linda Engel & Michael Goldstein    
Karen Jerome & Jonathan Eig
Ellen Gleberman & David Laufer
Valerie Barrish           
Marsha & Les Levine, for Social Justice Programs
Al Folsom, in memory of Cecelia Krupsaw Foslom 
Robin Doroshow, in memory of Miriam Winkler
Wynne & Bruce Busman, in memory of Mildred Busman
Wynne & Bruce Busman, in memory of Irving Cassell
Elaine Feidelman & Irwin Shuman, in memory of Vanessa Mallory Kotz

Good As We Give
Howard Teitelbaum   
Lauren & Sam Kline  
Ellen Case      
Rachel Mosher-Williams & David Williams
Susan & Rob Schaefer           
Ruth Salinger 
Liz & James Korelitz 
Karen Jerome & Jonathan Eig
Maureen & Lance Pelter        
Terri Reicher  
Michael Chase, in honor of Lisa Savitt & Mike Phillips
Wendy Shay & David Wall
Julie & Mitchell Kraus          
Sharon Curry & Michael Schecter    
Lauren Rathmann & Howard Berkof
Audrey Yen & Jason Engel   
Nancy Glassman        
Linda Blumberg & Steve Turow       
Ruth Rosenberg         
Susan Levin   
Randy & Steve Toll   
Judy & David Scott   
Lorrie Van Akkeren   
Lisa Strauss    
Pamela Alexander & Robert Kurz     
Joan Kaufman
Emily & Antoine van Agtmael          
Dionne & Ken Fine    
Elsa Friedman
Virginia & Jason Weidenfeld
Karen & Jonathan Block       

To the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund
Lorrie van Akkeren, in memory of Ida Goldstein

To the Maran Gluckstein Education Fund
Nancy Glassman
A Special Thank You
All who “round up” their Synagogue Support payments and to all who continuously donate their time to volunteer at BJC.
Board of Trustees

President Shoshanah Drake
Vice-President Sandra Walter
Treasurer Lance Pelter
Secretary Lorrie Van Akkeren

Howard Berkof 
Helen Dalton
Jason Engel
Alan Grunes
Ted Posner
David Slacter
Committee Chairs
Communication Helen Dalton
Financial Advisor [An Opportunity!]
High Holy Days Jim Korelitz
Student Representative Sammy Peterson Intercongregational Partnership Liaison
Marty Ganzglass
Membership Joan Wolf
Past President Rachel Mosher-Williams
Programs Ruth Magin
Social Action Harri j. Kramer

BJC Administration
Spiritual Leader Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
Director of Education Mindy Silverstein
Synagogue Administrator Diana Abadi

BJC News
Interim Newsletter Editor Harri j. Kramer

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