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11/10/2020 08:17:12 PM

Nov10

Happy Thanksgiving! 

11/27/2020 01:51:16 PM

Nov27

What an odd Thanksgiving it has been... Like Passover and Rosh Hashanah, Thanksgiving leaves us more leftovers than usual. Our tables were not surrounded with friends and family, as everyone is trying to stay as safe and healthy as possible. We know that this, too, shall pass but it has been so long since we have seen and held one another.

The Torah portion read this Shabbat continues the tragic saga of twin brothers, Jacob...Read more...

Righteousness and Justice

11/06/2020 12:24:31 PM

Nov6

As we have all been awaiting a final result of the US Presidential Election, a prayer from our daily Amida stands out. The eleventh blessing reads as follows:

Restore our judges as before and our counselors as at first. Remove sorrow and sighing from us, and reign over us You, Hashem, alone with kindness and compassion; with righteousness and with justice. Blessed are You, Hashem, King, Lover of righteousness and...Read more...

Man Plans, G-d Laughs

10/23/2020 12:25:55 PM

Oct23

There is a popular Yiddish saying with similar versions in many languages, “Der mench tracht un Got lacht,” which translates to “Man plans and God laughs." I  have never much cared for that adage because it minimizes the burden of responsibility on people to prevail despite unforeseen and sometimes negative or unfair conditions. I don't believe we must always be victims of our circumstances. We do have choices about...Read more...

Shana Tova 5781

09/25/2020 12:27:28 PM

Sep25

Besides Shabbat, Yom Kippur is the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. In fact, Yom Kippur itself is called ַשבת שבתוֹן (Sabbath of complete rest) in the Torah. A common misconception about Yom Kippur, due to the fact that it is a fast day and that our focus is to be on forgiveness and regret for misdeeds of the past, is that it is a sad and solemn festival. This, however, is not supposed to be the case. While it is a...Read more...

We're not Shofar Apart

09/18/2020 12:28:30 PM

Sep18

Delicious aromoas of yom tov meals, familiar melodies, and the sound of the shofar remind us that Rosh Hashanah is upon us. Only one thing is missing - all the people. We miss our family and friends who are always with us for the holidays. We miss the crowds of people in shul, wishing one another a sweet new year. We miss the hugs and kisses of loved ones - as we recall the safety of their embrace. All is different about this...Read more...

To Life!

08/28/2020 12:30:14 PM

Aug28

This month of Elul is spent preparing for the upcoming new year. Unlike the secular new year which is commonly welcomed with lavish parties and overindulgence, the Jewish method of marking the head of the year is much more reflective and personal. It is not about whom we are kissing at the moment the ball drops in Times Square. It is about taking steps to implement changes in our lives, to make next year better than the last. For that,...Read more...

Parashat Eikev

08/07/2020 11:31:29 AM

Aug7

This week’s Torah portion opens as follows:
והיה עקב תשמעון את המשפטים האלה
(Ekev) you hearken to these laws and do them, Adonai your God will keep the Covenant and kindness that he promised to your ancestors.

The word Ekev, at the beginning of the verse literally means “heel” but is understood differently by various commentators.

Targum Onkelos translates Ekev as...Read more...

Tisha B'Av - The Saddest Day of the Year 

07/29/2020 12:32:28 PM

Jul29

The saddest day in Jewish history is the 9th of Av, beginning this evening. The 3-week period of mourning culminates with the commemoration of the destruction of both the 1st and 2nd Temples in Jerusalem. Over the centureies, other catastrophes that befell the Jewish people also came to be associated with this day of mourning.

To commemorate the destructions of the two Temples, the rabbis designated Tisha B'Av as a...Read more...

The Fast of Tammuz

07/09/2020 12:33:48 PM

Jul9

Yesterday, we commemorated the17 of Tamuz, a day of public fasting, in memory of tragedies that occurred on that day, resulting in the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

In the time of the Second Temple the Jews rebelled against the Romans and they recovered control of Jerusalem for a few years, defending the city protected by strong walls. These walls were originally built in the days of King Solomon. The people...Read more...

Thoughts About This Week

06/05/2020 01:24:19 PM

Jun5

This week has left us all feeling breathless and shocked. From the horrible killing of George Floyd at the hands of violent police officers, to the national protests against race discrimination, to built-up tension from the lockdown - this has been an emotionally exhausting week for our country and humanity.

Of course, we need to look no further than the first chapter of the Bible to find the idea of divine equality among human...Read more...

"I Can't Breathe" - In Memory of George Floyd 

06/05/2020 12:35:19 PM

Jun5

This week has left us all feeling breathless and shocked. From the horrible killing of George Floyd at the hands of violent police officers, to the national protests against race discrimination, to built-up tension from the lockdown - this has been an emotionally exhausting week for our country and humanity.
Read more...

Shavuot 

05/28/2020 12:36:29 PM

May28

For the second time this year we are faced with celebrating a major festival without the ability to gather together in shul. Jews always persevere and we are excited to offer many wasys to connect, including live Torah reading of the 10 Commandents, Yizkor, and Study opportunities that can be accessed from home for adults and children. 

Parashat Hashavua with Shamai:   TONIGHT 6:00 pm 
Zoom in as we read THE...Read more...

A Pandemic Simcha!

05/15/2020 01:37:22 PM

May15

I want to share with you about a simcha that was celebrated this week in our congregation. Too many times, in the past two months, have I been called upon to help folks through grief and hard times. Yesterday, I was blessed to participate in a wedding! 

What's better: it took place in the courtyard of HTAA (socially distanced).
What's better: the bride and groom are independently wonderful people and very...Read more...

Summer is for Musical Havdalah

05/08/2020 02:38:20 PM

May8

I hope you and your family are faring well and are managing to help others as much as possible during this difficult time. While we are still unable to gather in shul, we have been holding services twice per day during the week and our menu of Zoom classes has become quite popular. We have found new ways to engage with our youth, adults, and seniors and to help many of our community members in need.

Last...Read more...

Virt-Shul

05/01/2020 03:39:59 PM

May1

Although our synaogue doors our closed, our community is close and active as ever - thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the innovative efforts of our staf and members. Over the past six weeks, we have held more than 72 Zoom minyanim - morning and afternoon, every weekday. The live Passover Seder and Yizkor service were widely "attended." We have...Read more...

Staying Healthy &  Updated

05/01/2020 03:12:25 PM

May1

  Shabbat Shalom!

Although our synagogue doors our closed, our community is close and active as ever - thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the innovative efforts of our staff and members. Over the past six weeks, we have held more than 72 Zoom minyanim - morning and afternoon, every weekday. The live Passover Seder and Yizkor...Read more...

Chag Kasher V'Sameach! You're Invited! 

04/03/2020 01:22:19 PM

Apr3

 

  I hope this message finds you and your family in good health and good spirits. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Hagadol - the Great Shabbat because it precedes the festival of Passover. Unfortunately, this Shabbat does not feel so great. In fact, Passover isn’t looking too hot...Read more...

Shabbat HaGadol

04/03/2020 11:41:18 AM

Apr3

I hope this message finds you and your family in good health and good spirits. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Hagadol - the Great Shabbat because it precedes the festival of Passover. Unfortunately, this Shabbat does not feel so great. In fact, Passover isn’t looking too hot either. 

Folks are preparing for very lonely Seders. Children will be missing their parents, families and neighbors will not be joining together to share...Read more...

Trying  and Tiring Times...

03/13/2020 02:26:41 PM

Mar13

In the last few days many of us have been listening to the news or reading the reports about the growing scope of COVID-19 in our region.  Just yesterday afternoon, Governor Larry Hogan announced several emergency actions in an effort to halt the spread of the virus and secure the greater public’s health.  What we are being told by the Maryland Board of Health as well as the CDC and WHO is simple, if your sick stay home and...Read more...

COVID-19

03/07/2020 11:24:37 AM

Mar7

We have been following the news about Coronavirus (COVID-19), as have you. Please read the message below from our president and know that we are taking precautions at the synagogue to ensure the cleanest and healthiest possible conditions for our congregants. Most important is that if you don’t feel well, please don’t come to shul. So many in our community are in the higher risk category and it is always unsafe to expose them to even...Read more...

Power of Humility: Yitro 5780

02/14/2020 10:44:59 AM

Feb14

Moses has a reputation, according to the Torah, of being the “most humble man of the face of the earth.” But when his father-in-law comes for a visit, the extent of his immense patience and grace speaks for itself. When Yitro arrived in town, he observed his son-in-law, Moses, doing what he did every day:

And Moshe sat down to judge the people; and the people waited [to see] Moshe from morning till night.

Yitro...Read more...

Of Darkness and Light

01/31/2020 11:27:38 AM

Jan31

The first acts of God, as described in the opening verses of the Torah, were to create light and to separate the light from the darkness. Each Saturday night, when darkness falls and Shabbat ebbs away, we light a havdallah candle and praise God for distinguishing between light and dark.

Even in the parlance of our times, when one reveals information or puts a matter into perspective, we say they “shed light” on it, in order that...Read more...

פרשת וארא

01/24/2020 12:29:07 PM

Jan24

On the heels of one unsuccessful negotiation, God commands Moses and Aaron to return to Pharaoh’s palace and demand, “Let my people go!” However, before Moses carries out this command, the Torah interrupts with a puzzling list of ancestries, beginning with Jacob and concluding with the birth of Moses and Aaron. The Exodus story in this week’s reading was just heating up before tangentially relating the genealogical qualifications of the...Read more...

Pro-Israel

01/03/2020 11:30:47 AM

Jan3

With all the partisan political maneuvering going on both in the U.S. and Israel right now, one thing remains clear: our country and the Jewish State are proudly bound together in so many ways—through shared military, security, economic, and technological cooperation that is crucial to both nations’ safety, well-being and prosperity. The funds that our country provides every year to Israel makes possible, among so many other things, the Iron...Read more...

"… If I am only for myself, what am I?"    (Avot 1:14)

12/27/2019 12:47:16 PM

Dec27

I imagine that when Hillel originally posed this rhetorical question, it was around this time of year. I have no proof of this but certainly the lessons of Chanukah encourage generosity. Not in a gift giving  way but because Chanukah celebrates the miracle of light and sharing that warmth with others.

The very act of lighting the Chanukah candles demonstrates this idea. When the Shammash (helper candle) touches...Read more...

AIPAC 2020

12/13/2019 02:32:18 PM

Dec13

I want to share a few things with you, as Shabbat approaches. First, I hope you will come to shul tomorrow to hear inspiring words of Torah from our own member, Ethan Halpern. The service will be entirely lay led, with two of our teens, Niv Leibowitz and Eric Curreri, officiating.

Second, I hope you enjoyed last week's presentation by Jason Pressman from AIPAC. Several congregants have inquired about discounted tickets to the AIPAC...Read more...

וַיִּהְיוּ בְעֵינָיו כְּיָמִים אֲחָדִים בְּאַהֲבָתוֹ אֹתָהּAnd they seemed to him but a few days (Genesis 29:20)

12/06/2019 12:49:22 PM

Dec6

We read that the seven years that Jacob worked for the right to marry Rachel “seemed to him but a few days in his love for her” (29:20). Logic, one might assume, should provoke the exact opposite sentiment. Why, then, did it only seem like a short time? Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel of Apt explained that in reality there are two types of love. The first kind of love cleaves the lover to the beloved in the yearning for the positive feelings...Read more...

In Memory Of...

11/22/2019 08:34:23 PM

Nov22

As I was preparing this email, I received the most unfortunate news. Our dear member, Mark Olkon, has suddenly passed away. Mark was the son of our late Cantor Elijah & Anna Olkon z"l and sister of Naomi Judith Olkon (Robert Cohen), of California.
Mark was a regular and active in our daily minyanim, often leading daily and Shabbat services. He read Torah on the high holidays for many years...Read more...

In Memory of Mark Olkon, z'l & Lillian Goldberg, z'l

11/22/2019 12:47:00 PM

Nov22

As I was preparing this email, I received the most unfortunate news. Our dear member, Mark Olkon, has suddenly passed away. Mark was the son of our late Cantor Elijah & Anna Olkon z"l and sister of Naomi Judith Olkon (Robert Cohen), of California.

Mark was a regular and active in our daily minyanim, often leading daily and Shabbat services. He read Torah on the high holidays for many...Read more...

Parashat Vayera

11/15/2019 08:35:50 PM

Nov15

The most confusing message a child can hear is that of: “Do as I say, not as I do.” Researchers conducted a recent survey of teen drivers who related that while parents often remind them not to text and drive, they regularly see their parents using their own smartphones while driving.

Despite well-intended instruction, some values may only be instilled by proper example. According to the research, young drivers only...Read more...
Wed, December 2 2020 16 Kislev 5781