Events, News, and Shmooz
Letter from Guest Writer (in lieu of Rabbi Hannah)
Dear Friends,

Counting the Omer, tonight’s count is 28, which is four weeks of the Omer.

We are counting many things these days. Weekly, many of us are counting down until we can welcome the Shabbat Bride into our home again. Many of us are also counting down the two weeks after our final vaccination shot. And I suspect, we are all counting down until we can safely visit with our family and friends again.

This week’s passing brings us closer to Shavout, the festival celebrating the Giving of the Torah at Sinai, than to Pesach. I imagine that the feeling of hope that so many generations felt as they spiritually prepared for and eagerly awaited Shavout must feel like the current space in time with the beautiful spring weather, the flower and trees in full bloom, and increased availability of the vaccine across the country.

Our counting now is more than halfway done. And while we are so used to counting “down” in anticipation, the Counting of the Omer flips the feeling of hope on its head and allows us to count “up.” As we prepare over the next three weeks to celebrate the Giving of the Torah, I know I’ll be thinking about how I can count “up” and in which ways I can personally grow. How will you spend this time?

I hope on this Shabbat you can stop counting down, if ever so briefly, and take the sanctuary of time that G’d has gifted you to count up. Shabbat shalom!

Anne Brachman  
All of the below events are virtual, except as noted. To learn more about these events (including how to register), you can find them on our website calendar HERE.

Saturday, April 24th
Claire Davis' Bat Mitzvah
at 10:00 am

Friday, April 30th
Virtual Open Mic "Campfire" for Lag Ba'Omer
at 8:00 pm

Saturday, May 1st
Tot Shabbat
at 9:00 am
Monthly Shabbat Morning Service & Bat Mitzvah of Willa Marks
at 10:00 am

Tuesday, May 4th
Special Program with Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, journalist and author of "I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls, and Wars in Hungary"
at 7:30 pm

Saturday, May 8th
Meditation and Torah Study on Jeremiah's Tree by the Water
at 8:45 am
Tot Shabbat
at 10:00 am

Tuesday, May 11th
Eric Mendelsohn: Synagogue Architect with a Vision --
A Discussion with Photographer Michael Palmer
at 7:30 pm

Friday, May 14th
Communal Kabbalat Shabbat Service
at 6:30 pm

Sunday, May 16th
Shavuot Shiur/Class -- Were We All at Sinai?
at 7:30 pm

For information about upcoming events not run by Hill Havurah that might be of interest to our community, you can click HERE.
News and Shmooz
Welcoming Our New Education Director
Hill Havurah is happy to welcome Melissa Werbow, our new Education Director. Melissa earned a masters degree in Jewish education from Hebrew Union College and comes to us after serving as Director of Jewish Studies at the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School in Sarasota, FL. 

Melissa is already working to ensure a seamless transition at Yavneh, and we are confident that she will build on the strong foundation laid by Rabbi Hannah and Rabbi Julie. Welcome, Melissa!
Gan Shalom's Mini-Events Spring Fundraiser
Support Gan Shalom (Hill Havurah's preschool) and have some fun by buying tickets for virtual and in-person events hosted by Gan Shalom parents and teachers.

You can attend events such as a toddler soccer session at Lincoln Park, a virtual cocktail making class, an in-person bicycle outing on the Anacostia river trail, and many more.

To learn about all of the fun-filled options, and to buy your tickets, click HERE

Most events have limited capacity, so don't miss out. Tickets are available until Sunday OR until they sell out!
Hill Havurah Annual Meeting
Tuesday, May 25th, 7:30 pm
All Hill Havurah members are invited to attend our annual meeting on May 25th from 7:30-9:00 pm. Like last year, it will be held on Zoom.
On the agenda will be the Annual Review from the Board Chair and a special message from Rabbi Hannah, as well as consideration of the 2021-22 budget and other important business.

If you have any questions, you can reach out to Board Chair Marlene Singer at

Welcome, New Havurah Member!
Hill Havurah welcomes new member Sharen Samek. We look forward to the day we can meet you in person!
Yavneh Newsletter
To see the latest edition of the Yavneh on the Hill Parents' Update, you can click here. If you would like to be kept abreast of our religious school's news, please email Danny at to be added to the Parents' Update mailing list.
Hill Havurahdcast Podcast
If you haven't already, check out the Hill Havurahdcast podcast, on which Rabbi Hannah interviews Hill Havurah members. You can read about it in a June Washington Jewish Week article ("Hill Havurah produces podcast for the pandemic"), and you can subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and TuneIn.

You can read desriptions of and listen to our (so far) 39 episodes -- featuring a wide variety of Havurah members -- here.
Lifecycle Events
Happy birthday, Rebecca Melsky!
Happy 10th birthday, Lily Snyder!
Happy birthday, Bonnie Hillsberg!
Happy 4th birthday,
Samantha Shenkman!
Happy birthday, David Dantzic!
Happy birthday,
Sharon Rosenfeld!
Happy birthday, Stephen Catlin!
Happy 7th birthday,
Julian Leibovitz!
Happy birthday, Anne Brachman!
Upcoming Yahrzeits
The following yahrzeits are coming up this week:

  • Reba Nevel Krigelman, z"l, aunt of Amy Nevel

  • Nettie Allen, z"l, mother of Michael Allen

If you've not entered yahrzeit information about your deceased loved ones in your account, you can at any time. If you have any trouble doing so, you can email Alan Shusterman for assistance.
Hill Havurah is an independent, Jewish community based on Capitol Hill and serving people from across the Washington metropolitan area. We have a mission to meet and anticipate the spiritual, educational, religious, cultural, and life cycle needs of a growing and evolving Jewish community. Hill Havurah's many activities support our members' interests in advancing Jewish culture, identity, education, and a commitment to community service. A warm, inclusive, and informal spirit is part of what has made Hill Havurah so special for more than two decades.
Contact Information:
Address: 212 East Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-729-3515

Rabbi Hannah Spiro, Rabbi

Alan Shusterman, Executive Director

Rabbi Julie Gordon, Rabbi Educator

Melissa Werbow, Education Director

Laura Vitiello, Gan Shalom Director

Danny Tomares, Operations and Program Assistant

Mackie Sperry, Operations and Program Assistant