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Rabbi's Update 10/14/2022

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

Dear Friends:

Next Saturday our congregant Joel Wasserman, son of Robert and Lori White Wasserman, will be joining us to talk about his recent experiences in Ukraine during the ongoing war. Joel spoke to us over Zoom from Lviv several months ago. He and his Ukrainian girlfriend Katya are visiting the US for a while and he will be speaking in person next Shabbat, October 22. He will avoid a repeat of his previous talk and after a brief introduction will respond to your questions. To allow time for Joel’s talk I will not be giving a sermon that morning and Joel will be speaking at around 11:30. You can join us in person or on Zoom.

Services for Shemini Atzeret withYizkor will be in person and on Zoom next Monday morning. Simchat Torah services will be on Zoom only. If you are planning to join us on Zoom and you did not already download the Yizkor book for Yom Kippur, you can do so at this link:

If you would like to view last night’s Adult Education class, “American Orthodoxy Confronts Contemporary Society” it can be accessed here.

Our Talmud class resumes this coming Thursday night. We had one session in June so it is easy for you to catch up to where we are. We are studying a chapter of the Talmud known as "Arvei P'sachim." This is the tenth chapter of Tractate Psachim and deals with the laws of the Passover seder. This is one of the first sections of the Talmud that most people learn in Yeshiva because unlike much of the Talmud it deals with things that we still practice today. In this chapter we see how the practices and liturgy of the Seder developed over the centuries.

The Talmud is not something that one simply sits down and reads. You really have to study it with a teacher or a partner who knows his or her way through the material. I had the good fortune of studying this chapter in depth for two years with Rabbi David Novak when I was the Hillel director at U.Va. and he was a professor there.

I’ve taught various sugyot, passages from the Talmud that deal with a specific issue or question. But I’ve not taught a complete chapter from beginning to end before and this is a good opportunity for you to learn how to read, analyze, and understand the Talmud which is perhaps even more than the Bible the foundational text of the Judaism we practice today.

A good translation with a running commentary is available at:

The video of the first class from last spring is here:

As a reminder, I am having drop-in hours on Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4 at the shul. You do not need to make an appointment -- that would negate the whole point of drop-in hours -- but I’d urge you to check and make sure I am there regardless as sometimes there are unavoidable pastoral or other emergencies which might take me away from the building.

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. I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment. I have been spending more time in the synagogue recently but if you want to speak with me it’s best to make an appointment rather than assuming I will be there when you stop by.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,

Rabbi Charles L. Arian

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