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Rabbi's Update 10/8/2021

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

Dear Friends:

Next Shabbat morning, 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 will be available next Monday as always.

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

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.

There is a lot more to be said about the question of businesses operating in Israel and the West Bank and I will cover it in my class Oct. 28. Did you know, for example, that McDonald’s also operates in Israel proper but not in the West Bank (and yet there is no movement for Jews to boycott McDonald’s although of course many of us don’t eat there because it is not kosher)? When Starbucks pulled out of Israel some years ago there was a flood of suggestions to boycott Starbucks even though its main owner Howard Schultz is a major supporter of Israel and the company stopped operating there because Israelis found their own local coffeehouses to be superior and Starbucks was losing a lot of money in Israel. While I believe people have the right and responsibility to make their own decisions about what companies they patronize, we ought to do so with a basis of knowledge and logic -- something that doesn’t always happen.

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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