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Rabbi's Update 10/20/20271

Dear Friends:

This past Shabbat at Kehilat Shalom was very special.

On Friday night we had a mini-celebration of Kehilat Shalom’s 50th Anniversary. Hazzan Komrad led services with me for the first time in several months. We’re delighted that she was able to do this and look forward to more such occasions as her recovery progresses and her health permits. Sharon and Marvin Beitler spoke briefly during services on the founding and early years of Kehilat Shalom (at the time called Gaithersburg Hebrew Congregation) and the conversation continued after services. It was a very interesting discussion. Thanks go to Marvin and Sharon for their participation and to Laurie Weker Lipton for arranging this presentation and those to come and for conducting the Q & A.

On Shabbat morning we held our first “hybrid” Bat Mitzvah service as Miriam Sternberg, daughter of Seth and Deborah and younger sister of Gabriel, was called to the Torah. She chanted her Maftir and her Haftarah with poise and skill, and she presented a very thoughtful D’var Torah on the theme of free will. We smoothly integrated participation by Miriam’s relatives who could not travel to our area because of the continuing pandemic, and those of us who were present in person were treated to a lovely take home kiddush luncheon lovingly prepared by Linda and Tom Loggie. Mazal tov to Miriam and her family and friends!

I will be restarting my Thursday night Adult Education classes this week, with the first Rashi class tomorrow night and Contemporary Jewish Controversies returning next Thursday, 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. If you are not already on my list for the Rashi class but would like to participate, please drop me an email so that I can send you the materials before class.

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.

I want to thank those of you who have reached out to me during my father’s several recent hospitalizations. My father remains hospitalized and it looks like he will be moved to a rehab center affiliated with North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, LI, some time in the next few days.

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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