Events, News, and Shmooz
Rabbi Hannah's Letter

Rabbi Hannah is on vacation this week, so as we count down the last week and change before Shavuot, our time to ascend that mountain and receive Torah all over again, enjoy three very different Shavuot poems, beginning with a classic:

We All Stood Together

By Merle Feld, for Rachel Adler

My brother and I were at Sinai

He kept a journal

of what he saw

of what he heard

of what it all meant to him

I wish I had such a record

of what happened to me there

It seems like every time I want to write

I can’t

I’m always holding a baby

one of my own

or one for a friend

always holding a baby

so my hands are never free

to write things down

And then

As time passes

The particulars

The hard data

The who what when where why

Slip away from me

And all I’m left with is

The feeling

But feelings are just sounds

The vowel barking of a mute

My brother is so sure of what he heard

After all he’s got a record of it

Consonant after consonant after consonant

If we remembered it together

We could recreate holy time

Sparks flying

Fifty Gates

By Rabbi James Stone Goodman

Was it a complete gift this wisdom or did we turn ourselves inside out and twist ourselves into a posture of acceptance some crazy yoga that we submitted to methodically and daily in order to gain the gift; here is your Wisdom, nicely packaged it’s now in Book form first it came as Thunder and Lightning but some time into the future after you are done with the Telling you will begin the Writing then it will be a Book then it will return to Lightning in digital form and you will return to Telling because the words are on the wind in the rain maybe once in a while you’ll project them on a wall or Write them in a journal to remind you that the Word has shape and also to remind you that the word does not have shape it has sound.

The return to Thunder.

Revealing Torah, Revealing Me: A Prayer for Shavuot

By Devon Spier

Before there was Torah

There was thunder.


The sound of a horn beating.

A mountain and smoke billowing.

People trembling.

The Word arose from sight and sound.

To receive Torah was a moment.

But what of the moment prior?

In which our senses and primal feelings

Called out to G-d above.

Wanting to stay at a distance

But remaining firmly in place.

As if to say:

"I'm scared."

"I'm ready."

Reveal Torah.

And, with your blessing, 

Reveal me.


To learn more about these events (including how to register, which we require for almost all events), please visit our website calendar HERE. Also, we plan to livestream many of our in-person events. Information about how to stream can be found in the event descriptions on our website calendar.

Please note -- We will of course be monitoring the evolving pandemic and making changes to the below events as warranted.

Sunday, May 29th

Anacostia Watershed Clean Up (in-person outdoors)

at 10:00 am

at Bladensburg Waterfront Park

Tuesday, May 31st

Hill Havurah Annual Meeting (on Zoom)

at 7:30 pm

Saturday, June 4th

Tot Shabbat (in-person indoors)

at 9:00 am

Shabbat Morning Service -- Chizuk (in-person indoors)

at 10:00 am

at Reformation (212 E. Capitol St., NE)

[More information down below.]

Sunday, June 5th

Shavuot Celebration (in-person)

at 10:30 am

at Reformation (212 E. Capitol St., NE)

Monday, June 6th

Teen Tikkun Olam Showcase (in-person indoors)

at 5:30 pm

at Reformation (212 E. Capitol St., NE)

Saturday, June 11th

Tot Shabbat (in-person outdoors)

at 10:00 am

at Reformation (212 E. Capitol St., NE)

Friday, June 17th

Kabbalat Shabbat Service & Potluck Dinner (in-person indoors)

at 6:30 pm

at Reformation (212 E. Capitol St., NE)

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

Shabbat Morning Service -- Chizuk

Saturday, June 4th, 10:00 am

You are joyfully invited to join the Hill Havurah’s Chizuk Class of 5782 as they affirm their decisions to have become adult members of the Jewish community. While confirmation is a long-standing tradition in many Jewish communities for tenth grade students, our community has chosen to call their ritual Chizuk, or Strengthening, highlighting the strength of their self-motivation and excitement for their Jewish journeys. This year, our Chizuk class includes eleventh grade students, as we tabled last year's program because of the pandemic.

Please join us for a Shabbat morning service on Saturday, June 4th from 10:00 am until noon, followed by an informal reception, in Parish Hall at Reformation (212 East Capitol Street NE). As we prepare for Shavuot -- our festival of gratitude for Torah -- beginning later that evening, the Chizuk students will share their own torah throughout the service, and we will bless them as a community on their way. In affirming their Judaism as young adults, these young people will lift up our own journeys with the Torah and its mitzvot. In their commitment to a relationship with our mitzvot and our Torah, these young people will lift up the festival of Shavuot in community with all of us!

If you'd like to join us, please register here in advance.

Some Spaces Still Available in Gan Shalom

for 2022-23 Preschool Year

Gan Shalom, Hill Havurah's preschool, is still accepting applications for the 2022-2023 School Year! 

  • Spaces available for FULL DAY and HALF DAY
  • 2, 3 or 5 days per week!
  • Quick turnaround between application and enrollment
  • Small Class Sizes
  • Hands-on, exploratory learning and play
  • Regular Visits with Rabbi Hannah
  • for more details
  • Scheduled a private tour with Sara Carnochan at
Lifecycle Events

Happy 14th birthday,

Ethan Low!

Happy 14th birthday,

Keira Low!

Happy birthday,

Martha Dantzic!

Happy birthday, Aliya Eliot!

Happy birthday, Lisa Daniels!

Happy birthday, Mia Thrash!

Happy 11th birthday,

June Denton!

Happy 4th birthday,

Diana Fishman!

Happy birthday,

David Hoexter!

Happy 11th birthday,

Jacoby Farden!

Upcoming Yahrzeits

The following yahrzeit is coming up this week:

  • Murray Adelson, z"l, father of Mark Adelson

  • Maria Linda Broun, z"l, wife of Laurence Broun

  • Jeff Blustin, z"l, cousin of Julie Gordon

If you've not entered yahrzeit information about your deceased loved ones in your account, you can at any time. If you need any help, 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

Melissa Werbow, Education Director

Sara Carnochan, Interim Gan Shalom Director

Rebecca Freund, B Mitzvah Coordinator

Liz Woelkers, Operations & Program Assistant

Amber Ben-Hanania, Operations & Program Assistant
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