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Rabbi’s Update 10/25/2023

Updated: Oct 27

Dear Friends:

We had a fairly large attendance for Shabbat morning services this past weekend. I am not sure precisely why but I suspect that many of us are feeling the importance of gathering with other Jews who will understand the pain we are all experiencing.

The philosopher Leo Strauss wrote of the loneliness experienced by Jews in the West who participate in general society and at times find themselves not fully accepted. The solution, Strauss wrote, is return to the Jewish community.

I don’t fully agree with those who say that the current situation is precisely that described by Strauss. Many of my non-Jewish friends have reached out to share their love and concern. Political leaders from both major political parties have been very supportive of Israel and the Jewish community. And yet, this can’t fully substitute for the need to be with others who feel in their kishkes, in their guts, precisely what is going on. This Thursday night after minyan we will have an open conversation to share our fears, concerns, and prayers in view of the current situation.

We will also be participating in Solidarity Shabbat with the worldwide Masorti/Conservative community. This Shabbat morning we will have an empty chair on the bimah with a tallit and siddur as a silent prayer and remembrance of the more than 200 Israelis and others who continue to be held hostage by Hamas.

On Thursday night, Nov. 2, my Adult Education class will look at the laws of warfare according to halacha and Jewish teaching. I also want to note that in the current situation there is always a possibility that events may overtake us and necessitate schedule changes.

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.


Rabbi Charles L. Arian

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