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Rabbi's Update 10/15/2021

Dear Friends:

A few notes on upcoming events:

First of all, I am very happy that Hazzan Komrad will be leading services together with me this evening at 6:30 pm. This service is part of our Fiftieth Anniversary celebration and in lieu of my D’var Torah, Marvin and Sharon Beitler will discuss the founding of the Gaithersburg Hebrew Congregation fifty years ago and how it evolved into the Kehilat Shalom of today.

Tomorrow morning during our Shabbat morning services, Miriam Sternberg, daughter of Seth and Deborah and younger sister of Gabriel, will be called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.

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 has been publicized in our recent email announcements.

Please make a note of this link if you are planning to attend tomorrow morning on Zoom.

Another note about our use of Zoom for this Shabbat. As you know, we generally leave our usual Zoom room open after Friday night services through the end of Shabbat and Havdalah. Because we will be using a specially-created Zoom link Shabbat morning for the Bat Mitzvah, we will have to shut down the regular link after Friday night services and reopen it for Havdalah. While the Bat Mitzvah service is a different link, it is still part of Kehilat Shalom’s Zoom account and we can have only one Zoom room operating at a time.

I will be restarting my Thursday night Adult Education classes this coming week, with the first Rashi class on Thursday Oct. 21 and Contemporary Jewish Controversies returning on October 28. I have been teaching the weekly Torah portion with Rashi’s commentary now for about 7 years but with classes being suspended over the summer and not restarting until after the Fall holidays, I have never taught the portions that occur during that time frame. So this year instead of looking at the coming week’s readings we will be looking at Rashi’s commentary on the book of Deuteronomy. The Rashi class will be the first and third Thursdays of the month and Contemporary Jewish Controversies the second and fourth Thursdays. If there is a fifth Thursday in a particular calendar month there will be no class that night.

I will be resuming my class on “Contemporary Jewish Controversies” on Thursday night, October 28 after minyan. During the first class I will be looking at the recent controversy over Ben and Jerry’s decision to cease operations in the West Bank (but not Israel proper) and the response to this move by American Jews and Jewish organizations.

One of my main concerns about the suggestion that American Jews and other supporters of Israel boycott Ben and Jerry’s is the fact that local Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shops are not owned by the company. They are owned by individual local business people, many of them Jewish, including the Rockville shop which is owned by our congregants Marc and Bonnie Sosin. It’s one thing to avoid buying this product at your local supermarket, or for kosher supermarkets to cease carrying it. But regardless, I believe that we should continue to support the local individually-owned shops which are run by your friends and neighbors. Marc Sosin will be joining us that evening and will address the controversy from his perspective as a Jewish owner of a Ben and Jerry’s franchise. I want to thank Marc in advance and invite you to join us for what promises to be a very interesting and enlightening discussion.

Finally, I want to let you know that once again you will not receive a Rabbi’s Update from me this coming Monday morning. My father’s health has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse and I will be traveling to New York on Sunday to visit him in the hospital.

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.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Charles L. Arian

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