• Annual Pulpit Exchange
  • BJC Sings
  • Cuba!
  • BJC Book Club
  • In Case You Missed It
  • Social Action Wants You to Know
  • The Chesed Society
  • Nachas Notes
  • Meet A Member

June July 2018 Newsletter
Rabbi Elhanan ‘Sunny’ Schnitzer
Sivan/Tamuz/Az 5778
CLICK for the Complete BJC June--July 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, genocide in Myanmar—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 worldwide 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 April 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.

Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
From the President—Shoshanah Drake
An Amazing Year
Thank you to all who were able to make it to our annual meeting! In case you were unable to be there, here are some highlights from my report.

First, on behalf of the BJC membership, I would like to thank the Rabbi, Mindy Silverstein, and Diana Abadi for all they do for the synagogue. We are so grateful and so blessed to have you at BJC.

BJC continues to be financially stable, building our reserves, and making plans for our special funds. This is largely in part to the hard work of our treasurer Lance Pelter , who has also agreed to continue in the position of treasurer for another year beyond his term. He is diligent in making sure we are spending responsibly, as well as finding ways to reduce costs. We are also very appreciative of the generosity of members who have made contributions above their synagogue support.
We have had a terrific year of programing including our 50th anniversary celebration, our Great Names in the Community Speaker Series, and our interfaith joint events. None of this happens without a village of people working together to make it a success. To our volunteers—thank you all for your time and work! 

This year we welcomed Diana Abadi as a wonderful addition to our BJC family and found stability in the Administrator position. Our communications committee has been hard at work getting our name and information out to the public. We have had feature articles in Bethesda Magazine and have been prominent in Washington Jewish Week , as well as being present on many different list-serves throughout the community. We have also updated our monthly newsletter look and our weekly BJCNow updates. If you haven’t seen them, look online and in your email.

Increasing our membership and the number of students in our religious school is one of our top priorities in the coming year. We are implementing JManage, our new congregational management program, which allows us to access and organize information more efficiently and effectively. 

With the continued reduction in the number of students projected in the religious school, with perhaps as few as 30 in the coming year, Mindy has agreed to reduce her hours and compensation to approximately 3/4 time. This is made possible, in part, because of an exciting new program ShalomLearning. (See Mindy’s column to learn more.)

Thanks to the Board of Trustees: We will miss our outgoing board members while excitedly welcoming the new members. On behalf of the congregations, our thanks to Amy Kos t, Diane Blumenthal , Barry Cantor , Lorraine McMillen , Aaron Kirkpatrick , Bruce Busman , Robin Sorkin , and Dan Goldberg for their dedication, time, and commitment to BJC.

I would especially like to thank Warren and Anita Farb , who have held important positions as our High Holy Days Chairperson and Newsletter Editor for many, many years. They are both hanging up their hats in these roles, and we are so grateful to them.

I would like to welcome our new secretary Lorrie Van Akkeren , who is actually returning in this role after a brief hiatus and our Treasure Lance Pelter. New trustees are Jason Engel , Allen Grunes , and Ted Posner . Returning trustees are Howard Berkof , David Slacter (a former president), and Helen Dalton . Sandra Walter will continue for another year as vice president, while I continue for another year as president.

We are happy to welcome Marty Ganzglass as chair of the Intercongregational Partnership Committee, Joan Wolf , who will be returning to the board to chair the membership committee, and welcoming back Ruth Magin in Programs, Harri Kramer as Social Action Committee chair, Issie Resti Education Committee Chair, and Helen Dalton as our Communications Chair.  Jim Korelitz has agreed to be chair of High Holy Days planning. Our financial adviser position is still open, so please be in touch if you are interested. 

I am very excited about the future of BJC. We are focused on continuing to make this a great place to be to worship, celebrate, learn, and build community. I want to thank everyone for the support I have received this year and encourage all of you to continue to get involved. Even if you only have an hour to give, it is an hour we can use. PLEASE contact Diana or myself if you are interested in being more involved or involved in a different way. This community needs you and wants you here.
From the Director of Congressional Education—Mindy Silverstein
Say Hello to A New Learning Model
Come this September, there will be fewer cars on the road in Bethesda as the Bethesda Jewish Congregation mid-week program of the Religious school goes virtual. That’s right, starting in September, our BJC students will be learning Hebrew and prayers from their own home “don’t need to travel anywhere mid-week” computer. 

During my tenure at BJC, I’ve heard from many parents who say it is getting more challenging to leave work early to drive their child to our mid-week Hebrew program. Couple that with the horrendous traffic conditions and other issues that occur in our families’ lives, such as school concerts, plays, rehearsals, illness, etc., the virtual classroom is the perfect solution to our families’ concerns.

Similar to an in-person school setting where students arrive to class at the same time, the virtual classroom students log in at their prescribed time. The students and teacher see each other on screen as they learn various prayers and continue to increase their Hebrew decoding ability. If you are thinking that the students sit in front of their computer for a solid hour, listening to a lecture by the teacher, you would be wrong. There are scavenger hunts, show ‘n tell, and other interactive breaks scheduled within the instructional hour recognizing that the students do need breaks.

One feature that I’m particularly excited to try involves traveling. Some of our staff visit Israel on a regular basis. With the technology of ShalomLearning, we will have the ability to visit Israel virtually. 

Other changes to our program will take place on Saturday. The entire school will get together for socializing, snack, learning various prayers, Israeli dancing, songs, or fulfilling the mitzvot of tzedakah. I hope to incorporate many field trips into the year’s curriculum.

If you would like more information regarding the Bethesda Jewish Congregation Religious School, please feel free to me at 301-469-8636 or . To register for the school, visit our website at .
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 June--July Events Calendar
Annual Pulpit Exchange with BHPC
Rev. David Gray speaks at BJC
Friday, June 1, 8 PM

 Join us for a Shabbat service with our good friend, Rev. David Gray of Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church. Reverend Gray will be speaking about the call to bear witness to God’s presence in the world through our actions on behalf of the poor.

Rabbi Schnitzer will speak at BHPC on Sunday June 10.

Rev. David Gray
Rebetzin Yaffah’s Chant Circle and Spirit Spa
Saturday, June 9, 4:30 PM 

Chanting is a form of meditation that can open the doors of the heart. Repetition of a sacred phrase can clear the mind of clutter and connect us to each other and the divine. 

Museum of the Bible Family Day with BHPC  
Sunday, June 10 at 12:30 PM

Tickets $10 students, $20 adults (includes admission to a special exhibit on the Story of David and Goliath and David’s kingship) Tickets limited to 25 participants.

Join Rabbi Schnitzer and your BJC and BHPC friends for a special family friendly visit to the new Museum of the Bible. This fabulous (and somewhat controversial) museum traces the creation of the Torah from its Mesopotamian and Canaanite roots through the Israelite monarchy to its codification in fifth century Persia. Two and one-half floors of the museum focus upon the Jewish story of our most sacred texts before moving into the creation of the Christian Bible and the impact of both texts upon the world.

Rabbi Schnitzer will share information on a few of the highlighted artifacts, such as:
  • Dead Sea Scroll Fragments (the largest public collection outside of Israel)
  • Saadia Gaon’s seventh century handwritten prayer book (the first siddur in Jewish history)
  • A first printed edition of Maimonides Mishna Torah (Italy 1517)
  • First Edition Gutenberg Bible (1454)
  • Thomas Jefferson’s Bible and much, much more.

Tickets can be purchased through the BJC website:

Our Biggest Friday Night Shabbat Celebration—Amazing Music, Inspiring Outdoor Service

Friday, 6:30 PM at the Bender JCC, 6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville, MD 20852

J oin us for SHA-BOOM, an exciting outdoor service and outstanding musical event with food, beverages, and great company. Co-sponsored by Bethesda Jewish Congregation, Adat Shalom, the Jewish Studio, and the Bender JCC, this is as good as it gets for a memorable, meaningful, musical Sabbath celebration. Bring your own picnic. Wine and challah for Kiddush provided .
New Story Leadership Returns to BJC
Sunday, June 24, 3 PM

For seven years, our interfaith community at 6601 Bradley Blvd has welcomed young adults from Israel and Palestine to teach us about their experiences in the New Story Leadership (NSL) program. NSL is an organization that brings to the D.C. area 10-12 young-adult Israelis and Palestinians every year for an intensive program of workshops, conferences, seminars, professional work exposure, cultural immersion, and team training. The concept is that NSL helps develop these young men and women into outstanding leaders who will became invaluable change agents when they go back home to places like Jerusalem, Haifa, Nablus, and Gaza City. This year, as much as ever, tensions are high between Israelis and Palestinians. Come and hear the incredible stories of hope from these young adults.

The program is free of charge. Reservations through the BJC office or website are appreciated.
Volunteer Shabbat & Installation of New Officers
Friday, June 29, 8 PM 
A synagogue is only as dynamic and as vibrant as the people who inhabit its walls. Without a doubt, the members of the congregation who give freely of their time and energy are a vital part of our success as a community.

Now it is time to say—THANK YOU—for the many gifts they bring to BJC every day. Also, come and support our incoming officers and trustees as they are sworn in.

Please join us as we honor our volunteers, officers, and trustees at this special Shabbat.
Open Book Club

The BJC Open Book Club meets in the Lounge, 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 at
June 27: The Year I Was Peter The Great: 1956 - Khrushchev, Stalin's Ghost, and a Young American in Russia by Marvin Kalb is a memoir covering the time Kalb was a graduate student working in Moscow immediately after Krushchev’s denunciation of Stalin.
July 25 : Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward is a novel written from the perspective of Esch, a 15-year-old girl living in fictional Bois Sauvage, Mississippi during the 12 days preceding, during, and following the strike of Hurricane Katrina.
Join the Band!
Well, actually, join the BJC High Holy Day Choir!

Did you enjoy the music at last year's High Holy Days? Did you look up at the choir and think wistfully, "Gee, I'd like to do that?" Well now, you can!

A vibrant and full sounding choir is a key part of creating for the congregation the spirit of the Days of Awe. It also can enrich the holiday experience of the singer as well. There is something deeply satisfying about leading worship through song. The BJC choir needs more voices. We welcome singers of all ages.

Rehearsals begin on July 11 and run through September 12. All rehearsals will be on Wednesdays, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM under the baton of our new conductor Thomas Colohan. No one makes every rehearsal—after all it is summer—but by the time September rolls around, everyone is ready.

Please call Rabbi Schnitzer if you would like to experience Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from the inside.

BJC—We’re Singing Everywhere!
Sunday, June 10 at 4 PM
Did you know that SIX Bethesda Jewish Congregation singers (past and present) are part of Zemer Chai, the Jewish Chorale of the Nation's Capital?! David Berkenbilt , Leah Chiaverini , Maran Gluckstein , Joy Gold , Jimmy Perlmutter , and Joan Wolf cordially invite you to attend their 42nd annual concert entitled, “SING IT FORWARD: Masterpieces of the Past and Classics Soon To Be.”

This gorgeous performance will be held on Sunday, June 10 at 4 PM in the Bender Sanctuary at Congregation Beth El on Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda. Maran has been a member for nearly all 42 years, and Joy is not far behind, David is brand new, Leah is a featured soloist in the upcoming concert, Joan is the choir's president, and Jimmy is the former cantor of BJC! Tickets are available at  with reserved and general seating options. Six BJC people in Zemer Chai: that's 15 percent of the choir !

October 7-14, 2018

A few more spots are available.

Come celebrate with the Jewish community of Sancti Spiritus, Santa Clara, and Cienfuegos as Daniella Delgado Horutiner becomes Bat Mitzvah. $3600 per person/double occupancy. (Single Supplement $600) This price includes round trip airfare out of Washington, DC, all hotels, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 3 dinners. We travel in an air-conditioned bus and have a full-time guide and translator. The price includes porter tips, visas, and transfers. We have day trips to Vinales and Trinidad in addition to visits to the Jewish communities in the aforementioned cities.

A $500 deposit per person. Contact Rabbi Schnitzer for more information.
Never say never again. 
In Case You Missed It

 Confirmation Service: Hear Their Voices
by Helen Dalton

On Friday, May 18, the Confirmation class of 5778 and the other members of the Tichon class, led the congregation in a very moving and beautiful service.

Standing before a full house of family, friends, and other worshippers, the confirmands, Aaron Kirkpatrick , Trevor Drake , and Max Block , were asked by the Rabbi if they were prepared to confirm their faith and heritage, commit to a life of studying and applying our Torah tradition, and most importantly, proclaiming with those who came and stood before. They responded, “We shall do, and we shall understand.”

In their own words, with the theme “ Hear Our Voices ,” here is a glimpse of the wisdom already attained, a reflection of their lessons studied and learned, and the positive attitude with which these young gentlemen face the future they will inhabit and the world they will own.

Aaron Kirkpatrick , “My relationship to Judaism is constantly evolving. I believe that the personal expression of Jewish identity is different for everyone…. My connection to Judaism has grown over the past three years. Through Hazamir and BBYO, I have learned so much about what it means to be Jewish… But it also means wrestling with God and the Jewish tradition…I have been dealing with a chronic arm injury for five years…There are times when I feel very close to God…and other times when I feel the complete opposite…At the end of the day I am proud to be Jewish and believe that things are a little better because of my heritage and faith.”

Trevor Drake , “Judaism is important to me. It makes me feel unique….When my friends say that I am ‘half-Jewish’ because my father is not Jewish, I reply, that is not the case… Judaism is not dependent on who my parents are; it’s dependent on what I believe and how I live my life…I believe in Jewish customs and traditions…celebrate the Jewish holidays…follow Jewish beliefs...and educated myself in Jewish laws so that I can make choices about how to live a Jewish life…You can’t believe in half of a religion, therefore, I am Jewish, not a half-Jew. In my future, I plan on living a Jewish life, being active in a synagogue, and maybe be as crazy as my mother and grandfather by becoming the synagogue president someday.”

Max Block , “I am Jewish because I have a Jewish parent and because I grew up in a Jewish home and because I belong to this synagogue…I spend time at the temple, making friendships, making sandwiches for the needy with my friends here at BJC…developing a connection with my Judaism. While being Jewish can be about coming from a Jewish family, for me it is much more about being part of a community of Jews.”
Rabbi Sunny reflected that Aaron, Trevor, and Max are the not the same boys who started out on the Bar Mitzvah track, carrying out the expectations of their parents and others. Confirmation is of their own volition, confirming their Jewish faith and identity. Now they will seek answers to life’s questions of love, prayer, and happiness and find that knowledge through self-exploration. His message for them, and the entire congregation, was to make your mark; to take action if you see something wrong, do something; don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because that’s how you learn and grow, and most importantly, be part of your community.

Director of Education Mindy Silverstein wished the gentlemen Mazel Tov for all that they had studied and learned, including history, Hebrew, Torah, how to celebrate the holidays, and much more. Of great importance is learning to debate respectfully, engage in tzedakah, and following mitzvot, and especially, exhibit menschlekeit behavior. They will need all that knowledge and learning to read the signposts of life, making their own interpretations of Judaism and navigating their own Jewish journey in a successful and meaningful way.
Joining in the service were other members of the Tichon class: Sammy Peterson, Zoe Cantor , and Rebecca McMillen . We walked out of the service beaming at the occasion for the young men and their families, and smiling at a bit more of their wisdom, captured here:

Prayer is like a boat, it gets you through stormy times.
Prayer is like a lamp, it shows us the light.
Prayer is like a horse, it can take you anywhere you want to go.
Prayer is like a rocket, it can take you sky high.
Prayer is like a broom, it keeps things organized.
Prayer is like a handbag, there is one for everything.

The future is in good hands at BJC.
Community Calendar

As a service to our community, we have reinvigorated the Community Calendar. These events are not sponsored by BJC, but may be of interest to you. The Community Calendar is accessible from our website as drop-down from the Events Tab. Unlike events promoted through the newsletter and the weekly email, BJC Now, you must look at this site to see these events. If you have a community event you would like to see posted, please contact the Interim Editor/Social Action Chair at 
Committee News

The Social Action Committee Wants You
to Know: Wear Orange on June 2  

By Barbara Faigin

In January 2013, just days after she performed at President Obama's second inauguration, 15- year-old honor student and drum majorette Hadiya Pendleton was killed by stray gunfire in Chicago. Refusing to stay silent about the gun deaths of Hadiya and so many others, her friends decided to wear orange on her birthday, a bright recognizable color and one that hunters wear in the woods for protection.

Since 2015, national gun violence prevention organizations have embraced her birthday, June 2, as National Gun Violence Awareness Day, to honor victims and survivors of gun violence, with events across the U.S. Here in our area, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (Montgomery County Chapter) is sponsoring an event on Saturday, June 2 at 3:00 PM at Pilgrim Church in Wheaton, MD (2206 Briggs Road). There will be several events in the DC area the weekend of June 2, plus earlier City Council Proclamation signings in Falls Church and Fairfax. To learn more, go to and click on “Take Action.”

People around the country are coming together the first weekend of June (6/1-6/3) with a simple message: There's more we can do to end gun violence.

To receive updates and messages about gun violence prevention efforts, contact me at .
Chesed Society News
B y Lorrie Van Akkeren

Recently, Carol Ann Rudolph and I represented BJC’s Chesed Society at a meeting of local synagogues to learn about best practices. 

Each synagogue shared what services it provided. BJC’s Chesed Society is not unique in sending cards at times of illness, bereavement, births, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, marriages, etc. Nor are we unique in providing meals or rides to religious services and synagogue events and rides for appointments or errands. We learned that the Bethesda Jewish Congregation Chesed Society has a unique modus operandi, which generated interest.

We learned that even though all the groups were doing many of the same things, it was interesting to learn that the structure varies substantially. A few groups are extending their work beyond the synagogue membership. We will work to continue to improve BJC’s Chesed Society based on what we learned.

So, what can our Chesed Society do for YOU? If your situation involves illness or death, please contact Rabbi Schnitzer BEFORE contacting us. For everything else—whether it is something to kvell about or something where we can be of moral support or physical help (rides or meals, for example), please get in touch with us. 

And what can YOU do for the Chesed Society? Some months we have been very busy and could have used some more volunteers. Do you enjoy getting to know your fellow congregants better? Can you provide rides to services and synagogue events? Can you help someone with errands or to and from appointments? re you good at providing empathy in time of need? Are you a good cook? Do you have ideas on how we can assist fellow members of BJC? If you can do any or all of the above, please join us.

Contact information: Lorrie Van Akkeren, or 301-946-0275.
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? Send your good news to : .

  • Our son Benjamin was married to Rachel Coyle on May 12 at Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville, MD. Rabbi Sunny officiated at a beautiful service, 16 years after giving his blessing at Benjamin's Bar Mitzvah. The newlyweds will continue to live and work in Rockville. Liz and Jim Korelitz

  • Mazel Tov to Max Block and his family on his confirmation on May 18.

  • Mazel Tov to Trevor Drake and his family on his confirmation on May 18.

  • Mazel Tov to Aaron Kirkpatrick and his family on his confirmation on May 18.

  • Mazel Tov to Samantha Travis and her family on her Bat Mitzvah on May 5.

  • Mazel Tov to Erica Posner and her family on her Bat Mitzvah on May 12.

  • Mazel Tov to Joseph Vinik and his family on his Bar Mitzvah on May 19.

  • Mazel Tov to Nick Smith and his family on his Bar Mitzvah on May 26. 

Meet a Member
Lorrie Van Akkeren

By Lorrie Van Akkeren
I first came to Bethesda Jewish Congregation a little over 30 years ago when I was searching for a place in which interfaith marriage would not be swept under the rug. I was immediately struck by the warm and welcoming atmosphere, high level of member participation, and the affordability. Eventually, my daughter joined the Choir. And a few years later I did, too.

Then Rabbi Schnitzer came in 2011. He asked me why I had never joined even though I had been coming here for many years. One of the reasons was I felt it was important to be an active member, but I did not feel I had the time—yet. He said that I was active as I was in the Choir. My membership in BJC commenced shortly after that conversation.

At first, I mainly attended services regularly and continued with the Choir. The first committee I joined was the Intercongregational Partnership Committee (IPC).

Retirement time came, and I had a bucket list of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, which included finally being as active as I wanted to be at BJC. Right away, I added Torah Today and Maran Gluckstein’s Hebrew class to the Choir and IPC. By coincidence, Edward Stern, who was then President, appointed me to fill a Trustee vacancy on the Board. A few months later, I was elected to a Trustee position. That term was never finished as the next year I became Secretary of the Board, a position I held for three years. It kind of became a habit to go to the Board of Trustee meetings, so after my term as Secretary ended, I just went as often as possible, sometimes acting as a substitute Secretary. Now, here I am, back again starting in July as Secretary….

Other activities over the years have included being in every single one of the Purim Spiels, and traveling with BJC—twice to Israel, Morocco, and twice to Cuba, with a third trip to Cuba planned this fall. A few years ago, I took a class in trope
Lorrie Van Akkeren decked out
for a Purim Spiel
and became a Bat Mitzvah. That was an awesome experience. About halfway through, I felt this bond through the Torah down through the ages back to Biblical times!

More recently, Carol Ann Rudolph started the BJC Chesed Society. I joined this group a few months later. Last October, I was elected to succeed Carol Ann as Chair.

BJC has been much more of a part of my life than any other synagogue ever has. Rabbi Schnitzer says the stranger is the friend you haven’t met yet. How true! I treasure the many new people I have gotten to know and become friendly with at BJC, Bradley Hills, and mosques. I am grateful for everything I have learned and experienced here.

Outside of BJC, I supplement my retirement with Camp Grandma, an in-home, family-style dog-sitting business, being on the Board of Voices for Quality Care, which is concerned with the care of people primarily in nursing homes, and I am one of the advisors for the Montgomery County First Aid Unit (Explorer Post 742) based at Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad. That group trains high school students to do first aid at huge community events (like Fourth of July on the Mall). And I volunteer as a foster mom for dachshunds (mostly) through Dachshund Rescue of North America and Little Paws Dachshund Rescue.

My family consists of my heartmate Bill van Berg, my son and daughter and their spouses, my son’s two daughters, my dog, a granddog, and a couple of grandcats. My other interests include crossword puzzles, Sudoku, reading, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery.

Stella Apfelberg, mother of Alan Kirschner
Arthur Barrios, father of Rochelle Banta
Beatrice Barsky, mother of Lisa Strauss
George Borden, father of Victoria Bailer
Pauline Borden, mother of Victoria Bailer
Alan Brenits, father of Donald Brenits
Betty Castleman, mother of Mark Greenstein
Bernice Dubin, mother of Alan Dubin
Anna Fagan, grandmother of Karen Jerome
Freda Goldman, grandmother of Stacey Rose-Blass
Hilde Hirsch, mother of Evelyn Ganzglass
Irving Jacobs, grandfather of Donna Goldberg
Harry Jerome, grandfather of Karen Jerome
Ida Kornfield, mother of Judy Folsom
Harry Kramer, grandfather of Harri Kramer
Joseph Laufer, father of David Laufer
Manuel Patz, father of Eileen Newman
Linda Ratner, wife of Richard Ratner
Mozart G. Ratner, father of Gary Ratner
Doris Perlhefter Rauch, aunt of Craig Winslow
Sally Cohen Reicher, mother of Terri Reicher
Sylvia Robbins, grandmother of Richard Kochman
Herman Rosenweig, grandfather of Teri Brenits
Jerome Schlossenberg, father of Sheila Wolpert
Marvin Schnitzer, father of Sunny Schnitzer
Beatrice Schwartz, mother of Linda Baum
Leona Silberman, mother of Paul Silberman
Harold Silverstein, father of Ken Silverstein
Ben Waxman Simenoff, brother of Adrienne Simenoff French
Goldie Walter, grandmother of Sandra Walter


Burton Bernard, father of Cathy Bernard
Roz Bogorad, mother of Leonard Bogorad
Rosalee Bratt, mother of Jay Bratt
Shirley Cherenson, mother of Ruth Magin
Maurice Folsom, father of Al Folsom
Hedwig Gluckstein, mother of Fritz Gluckstein
Daniel Goldstein, father of Jim Goldstein
Hope Horn, mother of Joani Schnitzer
Rena Jacobson, mother of Annie Cifarelli
Martha Kraus, mother of Mitchell Kraus
Frank Kretz, father of James Kretz
Ruth Merson Magin, mother of Todd Magin
Anna Mermelstein, mother of Marcia Loeb
Judith Posner, mother of Ted Posner
Sara Schlacter, mother of David Slacter
Marla Schwartz, sister of Linda Baum
Coleman Silbert, father of Earl Silbert
Irving Turow, grandfather of Stephen Turow
Michael Wolpert, father of Ira Wolpert
Thank You

The following list recognizes those donations made through May 2018.

To the Congregation
Davi Walders, a siddur

To the General Fund
Karen Levy, in memory of the Rabbi’s Mother, Diane Schnitzer
Julie Searls
Lorrie Van Akkeren

To the Maran Gluckstein Educational Fund
Maran's Hebrew Students
Lorrie Van Akkeren

To the Cuba Fund
Lorrie Van Akkeren
To the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund
Lorrie van Akkeren
Liz & Jim Korelitz, in honor of Ben’s Wedding
Craig Winslow, in appreciation for DACA advocacy
Jim Korelitz, in appreciation for Torah Today
Ed Stern, in appreciation for Torah Today

In Memory of the Rabbi’s Mother, Diane Schnitzer
Diane Blumenthal & Craig Winslow
Maran & Fritz Gluckstein

A Special Thank You
All who “rounded up” their Synagogue Support payments
All who continuously donate their time to volunteer at BJC
A Note from the Interim Editor:

As "we" continue to tinker with the newsletter, please let us know what works, what doesn’t, what’s missing. Your input and ideas are most welcome. Contact me at to ask questions, comment, or submit an article, or offer to help. 

NOTE: This issue covers June and July 2018. The new officers, trustees, and chairs assume their responsibilities on July 1. The next issue will reflect those changes.

Harri j. Kramer
Board of Trustees

President Shoshanah Drake
Vice-President Sandra Walter
Treasurer Lance Pelter
Secretary Amy Kost

Howard Berkof 
Diane Blumenthal
Barry Cantor 
Helen Dalton
Lorraine McMillen
David Slacter
Committee Chairs
Communication Team Helen Dalton/Robin Sorkin
Financial Advisor Barry Cantor
High Holy Days Warren Farb
Student Representative Aaron Kirkpatrick
Intercongregational Partnership Liaison Bruce Busman
Membership Dan Goldberg
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