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June & July 2019 Newsletter
Rabbi Elhanan ‘Sunny’ Schnitzer
Iyar/Sivan/Tammuz 5779
CLICK for the Complete BJC June & July Events Calendars
Kriat HaRav—The Rabbi’s Call
Rabbi Elhanan “Sunny” Schnitzer
I n the Talmud , there is a great deal of exposition about the value of Jewish education and the responsibility of a community to educate its children.
We read in Tractate Shabbat, “A community without school children is doomed to destruction.”
The Shulchan Aruch , the sixteenth century codification of Jewish law, requires each community to pay the salary of a teacher to educate its children to read the Aleph Bet. Jews have always made education our top priority. No matter how many hardships our people have faced, in the poorest towns in the Pale of Settlement or in the ghettos of Nazi Germany, the schooling our children never ceased.
We are blessed to live in an American society that values the pursuit of knowledge as a virtue, something that makes us better and fuller people. That was a wisdom that Judaism always understood. Yet, the number of students in our religious schools is shrinking, not because there are fewer children, but because there are fewer committed parents. The reasons are many for this phenomenon, but I will boil it down into one phrase, “We have failed to make it matter.”
And we must make it matter.
We are at a perilous time in a culture where the institutions of knowledge and truth are rapidly being destabilized. We must ask ourselves, are we teaching our children the value of critical thinking? Are we modeling—to the best of our ability—the Jewish virtues of patience, being slow-to-anger, and being courageous, as baseline behavior—or is it only aspirational? Are we engaging in the spiritual and intellectual practices of studying, reflecting, empathizing, and praying? Are we showing children that it is important to defend our shared values? Are we displaying that being present in the world is not an easy task, and that there are people who need our effortful attention? Are we volunteering to support the homeless, the immigrant, and reaching out to help vulnerable children? Are we engaged in adaptive change to improve our character and everyday behavior? If the answer is “no” or even, “I don’t know,” we must change that dynamic, because when we, as parents and grandparents, get involved, so do our children. And that has a powerful effect on character development, as well as intellectual growth.
Given the choice between character development through playing competitive sports or through repairing the world, which has more lasting value? The answer should be obvious to us.
Of course, learning Hebrew, ritual, Israel, holidays, and Jewish identity are deeply valuable lessons. Nevertheless, if this is the thrust of our efforts, we will squander our money, time, and energy, unless what we teach has immediate impact on our world. If our children pick up on the sense that their parents are committed to working on themselves through community service, and embodying their most virtuous selves, then formal Jewish education will reinforce and strengthen the lessons that parents and a synagogue community can provide. It does indeed take a village to raise the next generation. You may be an “empty nester,” but feeding and sustaining our young is still your responsibility.
With this in mind, as we transition to new leadership in our school, we must be prepared to put our backs into this gargantuan task of rebooting Jewish education so that it makes a difference and it matters. It will take all of us to create, build, and promote a school that meets the needs of a new generation. Please give your time and resources when called upon. Then, I believe, we cannot fail.

Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
From the President—Shoshanah Drake
It's A Wrap
As I complete my two years being the president of BJC, I would like to share some of my remarks from the annual meeting.

We continue to end each year meeting our budget, which results from planning throughout the year and being financially responsible. This is largely in part to the continued hard work of our treasurer Lance Pelter , who stayed on for an extra year as treasurer. Not only has he been very diligent staying on top of our spending, he has found many ways to reduce costs. We also appreciate the generosity of members who have made contributions above their synagogue support to supplement our available resources
We have had many wonderful programs, including our fantastic Purim Spiel, our Hanukkah dinner and New Member Shabbat, a wonderful speaker series including Gene Weingarten, our Interfaith Thanksgiving celebration, and so much more. None of this happens without a community of people working together to make it a success
Our communications committee has continued to be hard at work getting BJC’s name and information out to the public. We had feature articles in prominent places such as the Washington Jewish Weekly, and on many different list serves throughout the community. As you have seen throughout the year, our social action committee works hard to help us make a difference in our world.
We have been there for each other during time of simcha and times of sorrow. The service held after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh brought together our interfaith community to show that we all belong and support each other. As other tragedies occurred, our Rabbi again showed support through his words and his wisdom.
We are always willing to try new things to continue to grow and improve. This past year, with changes in our student population, we tried a new model for Wednesday religious school.
On behalf of all of BJC’s members, I would like to thank Mindy Silverstein and Diana Abadi for all they do for the synagogue. We are so grateful for your many efforts, most of which is invisible, but which keeps us going.
I especially want to thank Rabbi Sunny for all he does and gives to BJC every day. Along with the rest of the congregation, I am so lucky to be able to call him my Rabbi.
We have many volunteers who keep programs and initiatives running. As you have seen in many of my newsletter articles, it takes everyone to make BJC work. As a music teacher, I literally spend time “preaching to the choir,” and I know that I am doing the same thing here, but I implore you all, please continue to volunteer. Please reach out to others you know and invite them to volunteer with you. It does not have to be a long-term project, but can be a simple one-time opportunity. We have loved your ideas and want to encourage you to continue sharing your thoughts and volunteering. We thank you very much for your time and generosity. 
I would very much like to thank Vice President Sandra Walter for all she has done and will continue to do for the synagogue. Our incredible Board works hard behind the scenes. On behalf of the congregation our deepest appreciation to those rotating off the Board: for their dedication, time, and commitment to BJC:
  • Howard Berkof
  • Helen Dalton
  • Ruth Magin
  • Rachel Mosher-Williams
  • Lance Pelter
  • Joan Wolf
And we welcome:
  • Sandra Walter as president
  • Jeremy Pelter as vice president     
  • Terri Reicher as treasurer            
  • Lorrie Van Akkeren continuing in her role as secretary
Our new trustees:
  • Ken Fine
  • Alan Lichter
  • David Slacter (returning for a second term)
And those returning to complete second year of their term                           
  • Jason Engel, who will also be entering the role of financial adviser
  • Allen Grunes
  • Ted Posner
I will move into the role of past president. Marty Ganzglass will continue as chair of the Intercongregational Partnership Committee, Harri Kramer will continue as chair of the Social Action Committee, and we are looking for a co-chair. Harri will continue as newsletter editor.
Issie Resti will continue as education chair, Sammy Peterson will continue as student member, Jim Korelitz will continue as chair of High Holy Days planning, and we welcome Jason Weidenfeld as our Programs Committee Chair.
We have openings for chairs of membership, communications, and fundraising. Please be in touch if you are interested. Contact Sandra at
I love this congregation for many reasons, but first and foremost is our community. It is amazing to have a home where you know people are there to support you and celebrate with you. It is wonderful to have a place where you watch your children and others learn and grow and discover their own Judaism. We are there for each other, and we stand unified working for a better world, one of which we are proud to be a part.
Like many synagogues, BJC has gotten a bit smaller this year, but with your help we have a strong future ahead. Help us increase our membership by getting the word out. Share with others how special this place is. The Board has been working on long-term plans to build our membership and our resources. Together we can keep BJC a strong and thriving home for us all.
I want to thank our members for their support and continuing to engage in every aspect of BJC. You all make this place very special, and I look forward our future together.
From the Incoming President—Sandra Walter
How Will You Spend Your Summer?
Summer brings me back to memories of sun-filled days on the beach in Atlantic City, where my grandparents lived. To this day, summer days sitting on the beach fill my soul—even though they may just be a few days here and there. This year, summer plans include something new—becoming the next president of our congregation, and working with my fellow board members and the staff to envision and plan for the year ahead at BJC.  
This summer, between your holidays and vacations, downtime and beach time, I hope you’ll join us for Friday night Shabbat services. Simchas and sorrows don’t take a holiday—and your summer spiritual participation will be a great way to start your summer weekends with friends at BJC. Join us July 12 for the Volunteer Recognition and Installation Shabbat as we thank outgoing board members and welcome incoming board members. BJC is powered by volunteers all year-round, and is the secret sauce to our success beyond our small size. Consider how you will get involved, the time and talents you have to offer, and the enjoyment and satisfaction you’ll get giving more of yourself to the BJC community.
I also want to invite you to be a part of our planning for 2019-2020 by joining me for a series of informal congregational get togethers that I’ll host in late June, mid-July, and early August. Several years ago, many of you participated in the project CE21 (Congregational Engagement for 21st Century) that BJC held as we worked together to develop the vision for our synagogue moving forward. We’ve had many successes from that effort, and its time again for your voice to be heard and your volunteer power to be engaged. The future for BJC is exciting and promising with a new Rabbi Educator and new Synagogue Administrator joining us in the months ahead, the strength of Rabbi Sunny’s long-tenured leadership that continues to make BJC a spiritual home for each of us—and most importantly, the gift of community that each of you contributes with your presence and participation that makes BJC more than a synagogue.
Please join me in thanking outgoing president Shoshanah Wolfe Drake for her incredible leadership these past two years. I’ve learned much from her, and from immediate past president Rachel Mosher-Williams who now leaves the board. I share Shoshanah’s appreciation of those officers and Board members who have completed their terms You’ll meet our new board members during the year ahead, at BJC and through this newsletter
Our future at BJC is as bright as the summer sun—and I look forward to all we have to look forward to as we each personally, and all together, pursue our Jewish journeys.
From the Director of Congressional Education—Mindy Silverstein
The Circle of Life
Do you know that annoying phenomenon when a tune keeps repeating in your head? I know you know what I’m talking about. It’s when “It’s a Small World” is stuck in a loop in your head or when “This is the Song that Never Ends” plays over and over and over until you truly can’t stand it anymore? I recently woke up to “Circle of Life” playing and replaying in my brain. Of course, the only lyrics that kept repeating were “circle of life” and then I hummed the rest. Why, of all the songs, was this the one my brain focused on? I didn’t hear it on TV, my grandsons didn’t mention it. Clearly, I was the one, somehow, who brought it to the forefront. Buy why?
As soon as I arrived at work, I looked up the lyrics to the song and saw that it really is quite spiritual. It talks about how the world is awe-inspiring, how we can only manage to take in a snippet of what it has to offer and that together, great and small, we can co-exist. It also talks about having faith and love as we find our place within the circle of life.
So again, why was this the song going through my mind? I think it’s because as I write my last newsletter article for BJC, there is a message that I need to uncover. But what is it? The Circle of Life is about a journey and finding one’s place in it. As I leave the security of BJC, I find myself on a path; it may be a path to a place I visited before or it may be something totally different and outside my comfort zone. Whatever it is, I know I’m ready for the trip and am excited by the prospect. I also know that my tenure at BJC and the interactions I’ve had with the Rabbi, Diana, the congregants, families and especially the students have helped me prepare for this adventure.
As the BJC religious school enters a new chapter, I wish all of you safe travels on your journey through life. I hope the lessons that the staff and I tried to teach you give you comfort, faith, and the knowledge that you can handle what comes your way. Judaism provides us with many valuable lessons. You just need to take the time to search.
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba [Here comes a lion, Father]
Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama
Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [A lion and a leopard come to this open place]
[Chant repeats]
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life
It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

Registration for Next School Year
The registration packets for next school year have been emailed to all of you. If you haven’t received your packet, you can find it on the BJC website.   
From the Administrator—Diana Abadi
Thank You for Your Gifts
Being the new kid in school is not easy. Being the new adult in a new job is not easy. And as my second and last year at BJC comes to an end, I can’t fail to notice that opening the way for a new person is not easy either. But you made it possible. You opened the doors for me, and it has been, since the beginning, an experience of learning and growth.
As I look back down the road we traveled, I feel nostalgic, but I can’t help feeling a sense of accomplishment, and definitely a little excitement for what is coming up. I’m not sure what life will bring for me, but I do know I am ecstatic about the possibilities of the degree I have already started pursuing in a masters’ program in Forensic Psychology.
Being BJC’s administrator has brought a lot of emotions to my life, and I wholeheartedly believe that none of my accomplishments are truly mine but yours, because nothing would have been possible without your help every step of the way. I want to thank every single one of you that donated your time to be present and to make this work for both you and for me. I am sure most readers of this article are BJC volunteers. Whether you show up a couple of times a year or several times a week, you all have helped, and for that you will always have my greatest appreciation.
While July will bring the end of my time at BJC, it will definitely not the end of our friendship. Please don’t hesitate to be in contact, as I look forward to listening to all of BJC’s adventures through your eyes. You can find me at
BJC—and its members—has meant the world to me over the past two years. Thank you all for the gifts of welcoming me into your community.
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 Calendars
Special Programming Note :

Saturday Shabbat Services Go On Summer Vacation Starting JUNE 15.

See you in September!

Annual Interfaith Iftaar
Saturday, June 1
from 7:30 - 9:30 PM

Saturday, June 8, 10:30 AM

Join us for a special Shabbat morning service as this year’s confirmand, Alera Shtasel Kretz , delivers a D’var Torah that draws upon lessons learned in this year’s Tichon class. Our students spent the year immersed in study of Jewish history, Yiddish Theater, contemporary Jewish American culture, and the social issues of the moment including rising anti-Semitism and free speech issues. Come and listen to the wisdom of a new generation.
Chant Circle
Saturday, June 8, 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. The Chant Circle will take a break in July and August.
Shaboom Returns—Our Biggest Friday Night Shabbat Celebration 
June 21, 6:30 PM at the Bender JCC,
6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville, MD 20852
Join us for a summer Shabbat like no other with a variety of local rabbis, cantors, and song leaders. BJC, The Jewish Studio, and Minyan Oneg Shabbat join together outdoors under a tent for an evening of great music, wonderful community and a beautiful end to your busy work week. We'll provide challah, wine, drinks, and dessert. Bring a picnic Shabbat dinner to share (dairy or vegetarian only please).
Free to all. RSVP Preferred. 
Volunteer Shabbat & Installation of New Officers
Friday, July 12, 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 them at this special Shabbat.
New Story Leadership Returns to BJC
Sunday, July 14, 3:00 PM

F or eight 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 program. NSL is an organization that every year brings to the D.C. area 10-12 young-adult Israelis and Palestinians for an intensive program of workshops, conferences, seminars, professional work exposure, cultural immersion and team training. The concept is that NSL will help 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.
Book Club
Wednesday, June 26 and July 24, 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:
June 26: Red Notice : A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice is a memoir by Bill Browder, an American hedge fund manager working in Russia, about the culture of corruption and impunity in Putin's Russia today. It tells the story of the events leading up to the 2008 murder of his Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky after he uncovered a $230 million fraud committed by Russian government officials. Since 2016, the Magnitsky Act authorizes the U.S. government to sanction those, whom it sees as human rights offenders worldwide, by freezing their assets and banning them from entering the United States.
July 24 , The Tin Drum by Gunther Grass is considered by many reviewers the defining novel of the 20th century. The novel is the first book of Grass' Danzig Trilogy and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. Oskar, a hunchback detained in a mental hospital and convicted of a murder he did not commit, tells the story of his extraordinary life from the long nightmare of the Nazi era to his anarchic adventures in post-war Germany.
 SNEAK PEAK: 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. in post-war Germany.
Join the Band -- Well, actually, the BJC High Holy Days Choir
First Rehearsal on July 31, 7:30 PM

Did you enjoy the music at last year's High Holidays? 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 31. All rehearsals will be on Wednesdays, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM under the baton of conductor Thomas Colohan accompanied again this year by Karen Firsow on piano. Not one makes every rehearsal, after all it is summer, but by the time the end of September rolls around everyone is ready.
The service schedule is as follows:
  • Rosh HaShanah Evening Sunday September 29, call 7:15 (service at 8 PM)
  • Rosh HaShanah Morning Monday September 30, call 9:15 (service at 10 AM)
  • Yom Kippur Evening Tuesday October 8, call 7:15 (service at 8 PM)
  • Yom Kippur Morning Wednesday October 9, call 9:15 (service at 10 AM)
  • Yom Kippur Yizkor and Neilah Wednesday October 9 call 4:45 (service 5 PM)
Please call Rabbi Schnitzer if you would like to experience Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from the inside.
In Case You Missed It:
Calling Attention to Gun-Related Deaths in the DMV

By Barbara Faigin

In 2018, there were 199 adults and children in the Greater Washington area shot to death in gun homicides. Sadly, this was an almost 10 percent increase from 2017 and one of the largest totals in recent years. To focus attention on these tragic deaths, on the weekend of May 18-19, the BJC Social Action Committee, BJC and BHPC members, and the Intercongregational Partnership Committee (ICPC) mounted a memorial display of 150 T-shirts, each one with the name, age, and date of death of someone in our area who died in a violent shooting in 2018. Each T-shirt represented a mother, a father, a child, a neighbor, a friend. The display was meant to draw attention to these deaths which, along with suicides and accidental shootings, are a critical public health crisis needing action now. The exhibit also promoted the June 7-9 National Gun Violence Awareness [Wear Orange] weekend.
The BJC religious school students and teachers started the work on the project on their last day of religious school by writing names on some of the T-shirts and installing some display racks. BJC and BHPC members continued the installation on Sunday, May 19 at the Intercongregational picnic and some truly dedicated BJC members came back on May 21, 24, and on Memorial Day to install more display racks and T-shirts and to secure the shirts. Many thanks to all who helped.
Our display was also supported by the Bethesda United Methodist Church, which lent us some of the T-shirts and display racks from their September 2018 Memorial display. BJC and BHPC are both members of the DC Area Interfaith Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) Network. Barbara Faigin, BJC's Lead for GVP, hopes that more in the BJC and BHPC communities will become part of the GVP interest group who receive periodic e-mails about gun violence prevention programs, events, and news. E-mail Barbara at    
In Case You Missed It: BJC & BHPC-- A Golden Relationship

By Helen Dalton
On May 19, continuing a story of interfaith engagement, in the face of recent hate-fueled tragedies, a special plaque installation caps a year-long celebration of more than a 50-year partnership of two distinct congregations, Bethesda Jewish Congregation and Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, who not only share a friendship, but raised funds together to expand the existing church to accommodate both congregations. Continuing the Covenant celebration, which began last year with a simple tree-planting, the plaque installation event took place at a family picnic at BHPC/BJC.
The plaque installation was conducted by BHPC’s pastor, the Reverend David Gray who explained, “While each retains its own faith, identity and traditions, the church and synagogue view themselves as ‘spiritual siblings’, committed to promoting understanding among people of different faiths and heritage.”
Co-conducting the installation, BJC’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Schnitzer added, “This synagogue-church partnership has served both congregations well, allowing them to gain insight and understanding into the faiths of others, and, at the same time, serving to deepen their respective faiths.”
In Case You Missed It: WOW!

By Sana Shtasel
WOW! was the universal response of those privileged to hear Lesley Sachs, Immediate Past Executive Director and Director of International Relations, of Israel’s Women of the Wall (WoW) at Sana Shtasel and Jim Kretz’ home, Sunday, May 19.
Women of the Wall is a community of Jewish women, from all streams of Judaism, from Israel and abroad, who strive to achieve the right to wear tallit and tefillin, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem. The Kotel is Judaism’s most sacred holy site and the principal symbol of Jewish peoplehood and sovereignty. WOW’s goal is to transform it to a place where women can pray freely.

WoW fights to break the Orthodox rabbinate’s monopoly over the public space and to amplify women’s voices which are silenced by ultra-Orthodox rule.
Those who heard Lesley—powerful and passionate; erudite and deeply strategic; enthusiastic and courageous; joyful and enraged—were themselves inspired. How could any of us remain detached from such a simple, but critical mission? 
When Israel's law and society silence women in prayer—literally, publicly, and deliberately—it is a violation of civil rights, human rights, and religious freedom.
Please take a moment and learn more about WoW's extraordinary history, legal struggle, and genuine accomplishments. Learn how you can be a part of this vital and needed movement for religious equality. More information is here . Be sure to view the photos and videos here .

Editor's Note: What's on your mind? BJC members are not known for being without opinions Why not share yours now? We welcome them! Youth of all ages are encouraged to share. Please send your thoughts to: 
By Trevor Drake
On April 18, I “celebrated” the fourth anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah. For many people my age, having a Bar or Bat Mitzvah signifies the last moments they are connected with a synagogue for a long time. Yet, when I had my Bar Mitzvah, my connection to this synagogue started. From that day, I have been even closer to the people and events that occur at BJC. Granted this partially because my mother was the Vice President and then became President of the synagogue, but it still made me closer to everyone here at BJC. 
Being involved at BJC has helped me form relationships with a variety of people of all ages and in all types of professions. I’ve learned by helping others and by volunteering when I am needed, I feel closer to my Judaism and to my part in making the world a better place. To me, BJC is a place where people support each other in times of need and in celebration. This year I participated in the Purim Spiel for the first time. It was a very different perspective being behind the scenes and on stage rather than just hearing about it from others.
BJC has been the place where I have grown up and, as I get ready to start my senior year of high school, I know it is a place where I will have support as I move on to college. There is so much to more to BJC after religious school. Come join me and see what it’s all about.
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 Gabby Mendelson and her family on her Bat Mitzvah on May 11.
  • Mazel Tov to Maran & Fritz Gluckstein, whose granddaughter, Ilanit Jean Are was born on May 12 –- Mothers’ Day. Her parents are Malka and Justin Are, and her big brother is Eatom Are. 
  • Mazel Tov to Davi & Larry Walders, whose grandson, Lev Samuel Abramson, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on May 25 at Hebrew Education Alliance in Denver, CO. He is a son of Natalie Walders Abramson (who had her Bat Mitzvah at BJC) and Simeon Abramson.
  • Mazel Tov to Alera Shtasel Kretz and her family on her Confirmation on June 8.
  • Mazel Tov to Gary Sampliner, who is retiring at the end of June from a 21-year career at the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of General Counsel (International Affairs), where he has served as Senior Counsel.
Meet a Member: Edward Stern
In His Own Words
My wife Norma and I have been members of BJC for about 39 years. I got to know the congregation when I taught 8th grade religious school during the Rabbi Friedman era. Later, when my son was old enough to go to religious school, we joined. I liked that it was a liberal congregation, and that a lot of its functioning depended on volunteers, as it still does.
I joined the program committee and eventually the BJC president pulled me in to be chairman. In those days, the Rabbi was half time, so the program committee arranged for presentation and discussion programs on the other Friday nights.
I remember that I enjoyed working with the Board. We did have things to work out, and we did it in a thoughtful and amicable manner. Everyone worked toward the same goals. I still have friends in the congregation from those early days.
The treasurer at that time told me that being treasurer was not a difficult job, so I agreed to do it. I still like her very much, anyway. I received every dollar, paid every bill, paid the employees, and filed their tax withholdings, and Social Security. That's how, as a federal regulator, I learned to be more conscious of the problems of small business.
I stayed on the board to be vice president, then president, and past president. I would not have done this, if I did not enjoy working with such a decent, sensible, and pleasant group. Then 25 years later, I repeated those jobs. It was work, but work with people I like and respect. 
About 25 years ago, some members who knew of my long interest in comparative religion asked me to teach an adult class. We covered a lot in two years. For the next 17 years, I hosted monthly adult classes on topics of interest to the group, including: Mishnah , Maimonides' commentaries and letters, Renaissance to modern opinions of famous rabbis on problems sent to them (i.e., “Responsa”). We also studied how European nations dealt with Jews, from the English parliament’s “Jew bill of 1753” to Napoleon’s emancipation of the Jews. We used English translations of original documents.
The material we studied has immediate application to law, regulatory policy, and ethics today. (I used it myself to rewrite federal policies on workplace physical and psychological violence for several Departments and others.) Then I paused the adult classes for five years, to co-teach BJC’s 7th grade Jewish history class with my friend Gary Ratner . I covered Napoleon there, too. It is a great story.
When I retired in 2012, I joined the Rabbi’s Wednesday night Torah class. My wife joined me a few years later when she retired. We both enjoy it very much. Rabbi Sunny is a serious scholar and sheds valuable light, but it also helps to have questions and insights from the study group.
My professional career was at U.S. Department of Labor/OSHA, working on legislative and regulatory policy. I believe that studying Talmud for a few years at the GWU Hillel and later at BJC helped me unravel some complicated issues. I also borrowed a concept from the Talmud to design expert systems to apply regulations. But that's another story. I am willing to host monthly adult classes in the future, and I hope you will join me. Let me know what interests you.

JUNE 2019
Arthur Barrios, father of Rochelle Banta
Pauline Borden, mother of Victoria Bailer
Bernice Dubin, mother of Alan Dubin
Blaine Eig, father of Jonathan Eig
Lilleta A. Fink, mother of Lisa Savitt
Sonia Gold, mother of Judy Scott
Hilde Hirsch, mother of Evelyn Ganzglass
Rena Jacobson, mother of Annie Cifarelli
Harry Jerome, grandfather of Karen Jerome
Henry Kahn, father of Ralph Kahn
Ida Kornfield, mother of Judy Folsom
Abraham Kraus, father of Mitchell Kraus
Joseph Laufer, father of David Laufer
Mortimer Leister, grandfather of Joy Gold
Harvey Rabin, husband of Evelyn Rabin
Linda Ratner, wife of Richard Ratner
Mozart G. Ratner, father of Gary Ratner
Doris Perlhefter Rauch, aunt of Craig Winslow
Irving Roger, grandfather of Robert Poogach
Jerome Schlossenberg, father of Sheila Wolpert
Marvin Schnitzer, father of Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer
Beatrice Schwartz, mother of Linda Baum
Harold Silverstein, father of Ken Silverstein
Leo Stern, father of Ed Stern
Julia Ullmann, grandmother of Ted Posner
Barbara Wilansky, mother of Robin Sorkin
JULY 2019
Stella Apfelberg, mother of Alan Kirschner
Beatrice Barsky, mother of Lisa Strauss
Roz Bogorad, mother of Leonard Bogorad
George Borden, father of Victoria Bailer
Rosalee Bratt, mother of Jay Bratt
Alan Brenits, father of Donald Brenits
Betty Castleman, mother of Mark Greenstein
Shirley Cherenson, mother of Ruth Magin
Herbert Clofine, grandfather of Elizabeth Clofine
Anna Fagan, grandmother of Karen Jerome
Maurice Folsom, father of Al Folsom
Hedwig Gluckstein, mother of Fritz Gluckstein
Irving Jacobs, grandfather of Donna Goldberg
Rena Jacobson, mother of Annie Cifarelli
Aaron (Harry) Kramer, grandfather of Harri Kramer
Martha Kraus, mother of Mitchell Kraus
Frank Kretz, father of James Kretz
Anna Mermelstein, mother of Marcia Loeb
Maggie O’Brien, sister of Tim O’Brien
Judith Posner, mother of Ted Posner
Sally Cohen Reicher, mother of Terri Reicher
Sylvia Robbins, grandmother of Richard Kochman
Herman Rosenweig, grandfather of Teri Brenits
Leona Silberman, mother of Paul Silberman
Coleman Silbert, father of Earl Silbert
Ben Waxman Simenoff, brother of Adrienne Simenoff French
Goldie Walter, grandmother of Sandra Walter
Michael Wolpert, father of Ira Wolpert
Thank You

A Shout Out to our Oneg Hosts in May
Julie & Mitch Kraus
Dionne & Ken Fine
Maris & David Mazie
Miriam & Mark Hetfield
Renee & David Asher
To the General Fund
Bruce Baum, in memory of Edith Baum & Rose Kline Levine
Lorrie Van Akkeren   

To the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund
Sana Shtasel & Jim Kretz    
Benjamin Korelitz
Liz & Jim Korelitz, in honor of Rachel's conversion
Lorrie Van Akkeren         
A Special Thank You
All who “round up” their Synagogue Support payments and to all who continuously donate their time to volunteer at BJC.
As of July 1, 2019

Board of Trustees

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

Jason Engel
Ken Fine
Allen 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 Jason Weidenfeld 
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