Events, News, and Shmooz
Rabbi Hannah's Letter
Dear Friends,

A couple of weeks ago, our community joined Jews around the world in chanting from Parshat Chayei Sarah, in which Avraham Avinu works to find a burial place for his beloved wife Sarah. He knew that it wouldn’t just be a resting place for her; it would also, hopefully, be one for him, one day, and for his children as well.

Many of you have been raising the question of how to plan for death -- both logistically and in a way that reflects your and your families’ values. A few Havurah members have been considering the possibility of purchasing a number of burial plots at the Congressional Cemetery for the use of Havurah members now and, hopefully, for generations. The group is also thinking about other possibilities east of the river. 

If you’re interested in talking through these possibilities specifically, curious about what details might look like in either instance, or just like the thought of exploring what values we’ll be wrestling with as a community as we think about a resting place for our members, I’d love for you to join me over Zoom on Sunday, November 21st, at 4:00 pm. Come to hear what I’m thinking, share your own thoughts, and learn from one another. Please register here by Friday, November 18th, if you plan to attend, and if you can’t make it but have thoughts on the issue, email me here.

In this week’s parsha, Yaakov Avinu realizes that there’s something incredibly sacred about a resting place that he’s found on his journey. The Torah tells us that he became awestruck, and said, “Mah nora hamakom hazeh -- how awe-inspiring is this place.” 

It is truly nora -- awe-inspiring -- to think about a final resting place for Havurah members and what it might look like. Where do we want our loved ones and community members to be when they visit our graves? How do we want it to feel? How do we want to be remembered? I’m awe-struck by the enormity of this conversation, and grateful to be able to begin it together.  

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Hannah
Hill Havurah greatly appreciates the following donors
who made generous contributions in the past month.
Ron Sokolov & Kathleen Grealish | Rabbi's Discretionary Fund
In honor of your support of Aidan's Bar Mitzvah prep. Thank you for everything!
Allison Ackerman | General Hill Havurah Fund
Nate Allen & Sarah Burford | General Hill Havurah Fund
Rachel Breitman & Zach Ratzman| General Hill Havurah Fund
David Sigman & Jayme Stroud | General Hill Havurah Fund
Sheldon Harris | Rabbi's Discretionary Fund
Sheldon Harris | Jon Genderson Memorial Fund
Sheldon Harris | Tot Shabbat & Preschool Activities Fund
Sheldon Harris | Oneg & Kiddush Fund
Sheldon Harris | Ritual Articles Fund
Sheldon Harris | Youth Education & Programming Fund
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.

Saturday, November 13th
Meditation & Torah Study (on Zoom)
at 8:45 am
Tot Shabbat (in-person outdoors)
at 10:00 am
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service (in-person outdoors)
at 1:30 pm
at Reformation (212 E. Capitol St., NE)

Friday, November 19th
Communal Kabbalat Shabbat (in-person outdoors)
at 6:30 pm

Saturday, November 20th
Sages Havdalah & Potluck Dinner (in-person)
at 6:00 pm

Sunday, November 21st
Special Program with Historian Jack Wennersten
About His New Book (in-person indoors)
at 10:30 am
at Reformation (212 E. Capitol St., NE)
Burial Sites Discussion with Rabbi Hannah (on Zoom)
at 4:00 pm

Saturday, December 4th
Tot Shabbat (in-person indoors)
at 9:00 am
Shabbat Morning Service & Torah Discussion (in-person indoors)
at 10:00 am
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 -- including tomorrow's Benefit Concert by Veronneau to Support Afghan Refugee Resettlement -- you can click HERE.
News and Shmooz
Campfire Singing & Havdalah
Last Saturday night's first ever Campfire Singing & Havdalah was enjoyed by a great group of all ages. Havdalah was followed by lots of spirited singing -- and all the s'mores you could eat.

A big thank you to Havurah member Kenyon Weaver and his crack crew of fire-trained approved Webelos from Cub Scout Pack 380, including his son Eli -- as well as to Havurah member and musician Joe Hurowitz, who along with Rabbi Hannah led the singing.

We hope to repeat this program again sometime this winter.
Virtual Thanksgiving Baskets -- Please Donate Today!
Join Hill Havurah in our annual Tikkun Olam Thanksgiving, as we collectively raise funds to help Everyone Home DC (EHDC) distribute gift cards to our neighbors in need to purchase Thanksgiving meals.

For years, we have donated Thanksgiving baskets to our Capitol Hill neighbors, in partnership with EHDC. This year, EHDC will distribute grocery and debit gift cards, empowering the recipients to make their own decisions on how to spend these funds to celebrate the holiday.

For more information and to make a donation, you can go this mightycause webpage. Thank you!

If you have any questions, you can email Tikkun Olam Committee member David Weller at
Lifecycle Events
Happy birthday,
Michael Shenkman!
Happy birthday, Noah Mayerson!
Happy birthday, Jeremy Root!
Happy 9th birthday, Eli Neufeld!
Happy 9th birthday,
Talia Neufeld!
Happy birthday, Robert Shapiro!
Happy birthday,
Katherine Cassling!
Happy birthday, Gerald Tolk!
Happy 9th birthday, Evan Schvey!
Happy anniversary,
David & Marcia Hoexter
Upcoming Yahrzeits
The following yahrzeits are coming up this week:

  • Sara H. Tick, z"l, wife of Irv Tick

  • Daniel Adler Goldsmith, z"l, brother of David Goldsmith

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 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

Melissa Werbow, Education Director

Laura Schiazza, Gan Shalom Director

Vera Abankwa, Operations & Program Assistant