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Rabbi's Update 10/11/2021

Dear Friends:

This coming Shabbat morning, October 16, Miriam Sternberg, daughter of Seth and Deborah and younger sister of Gabriel, will be called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.

It’s come to my attention that many of you are under the impression that the service next Shabbat morning will be on Zoom only (and this was erroneously printed at least once in our Weekly Announcements).

In fact the service will be hybrid, similar to what we have had on the High Holidays and most Shabbatot for the last few months. Many of Miriam’s relatives and friends will be attending and participating on Zoom because at the time invitations were sent out, and it was necessary for out-of-town guests to make travel plans, it was not clear that we would be able to be in the synagogue. But the Sternberg family and some of their guests will be at shul and you are invited to be so as well -- signup is available above as usual.

However, the service will not be on our regular Zoom link. We have created a special Zoom link for that morning which we will publish this link in this week’s various emails.

My Google calendar for today tells me it is both “Columbus Day” and “Indigenous Peoples Day” but I continue to think of today as יום קולומבוס. From 1986 to 1988 I lived at Kibbutz Yahel, on the Jordanian border 65 kilometers north of Eilat and about 300 kilometers south of Tel Aviv. It’s a pretty remote place and about a five hour bus ride to either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

It was this time of year and the secretary (which means the elected administrative head) of the kibbutz, Ami, had to go to the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to apply for a visa so he could go to Chicago on kibbutz business. It was a Saturday night and he told me that he was going to take the bus to Tel Aviv the next day so he could file his application at the Embassy (this was, of course, pre-Internet.) Remember that in Israel Sunday is a regular work day so it made sense to Ami that he could go to the Embassy on Sunday. But I told him that I thought that the Embassy Consular Section, which handles visa applications, would almost certainly be closed on Monday since US Embassies work according to the US calendar, not the local calendar, and he decided to go on Monday instead.

When he got back to the kibbutz Monday night after a ten hour round trip bus trip he was visibly agitated and asked “mah zeh Yom Kolumbus?”, what is Columbus Day? If you are an American living overseas Thanksgiving might still be on your radar screen but Columbus Day almost certainly is not, but Ami had traveled ten hours by bus only to find the Embassy closed for Columbus Day, a holiday he had never heard of. Since then I always think of this day as ום קולומבוס.

As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at or 301-977-0768 rather than through the synagogue office. Although I am working primarily from home, I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment.


Rabbi Charles L. Arian

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