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Rabbi’s Update 2/16/2024


Dear Friends:


Please watch your emails later today for a decision on whether services tomorrow will be held in person at the shul with a Zoom option, or on Zoom only due to snow. While at this writing (a little before 9 am on Friday morning) most weather reports are predicting two to four inches of snow in our area and perhaps a little more, it does happen that predictions change based on the behavior of the storm. A firm decision will be made at noon -- and if the majority of weather reports for the area continue to predict snow, services will be held only on Zoom and an email will go out to that effect.


Thinking of snow reminds me of a couple of times when I was in Jerusalem during a snowstorm. While snow in Jerusalem is fairly rare, the high altitude means it does snow on occasion and when it does, it is usually a big news story.


The first time I experienced snow in Jerusalem was Purim in 1980, when I was in my second semester at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. A friend of mine from Georgetown was spending one semester at Tel Aviv University, and he came to Jerusalem to visit me. While he was visiting, Jerusalem got several inches of snow and the highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv was closed (if you have been to Israel you know that that highway is curved and hilly). My classmate was forced to spend an extra couple of days in Jerusalem until the snow was cleared or melted.


In January 2001 I was on an Israel mission with the Jewish Federation of York, PA, where I was then serving as a rabbi. We arrived in Jerusalem early on Friday afternoon and as we get closer to the city, snow was falling. By the time it stopped there were about four inches or so. Our group was staying at the Dan Panorama hotel which is only a couple of blocks from the Conservative Yeshiva and the Conservative synagogue on Agron St. The group members who wanted to attend a Conservative service walked with me on Shabbat morning, trudging through the snow, to the Agron St. synagogue. During the announcements, the President of the shul welcomed our group and apologized that the entrance to the building had not been cleared of snow. He went on to explain that “we don’t own a snow shovel.”


By the time Shabbat was over the snow had mostly melted. On the TV news that night, they interviewed a young Jerusalemite woman who complained that התל אביבים באו וגנבו לנו את כל השלג -- “the Tel Avivim came and stole all our snow.” That was not exactly true, but people did come up to Jerusalem from the rest of the country to experience snow and some did try to fill containers and bring some snow back home.


As a reminder, I am having drop-in hours on Thursday afternoons 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 rabbi@kehilatshalom.org 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. 

Additionally, if you know of a Kehilat Shalom congregant who could use a phone call, please let me know.


L’shalom,




Rabbi Charles L. Arian





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