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Rabbi’s Update 2/23/2024

Dear Friends:

I was gratified that quite a few of our Kehilat Shalom folks participated in my class last night on “Understanding the Siddur.” We looked at a section of the Siddur called “Shema and Its Blessings” which is the two prayers said right before the Shema and the one prayer said right after it, every morning and every evening. We looked at the content of these prayers, why some are said in the morning and others at night, and what the structure of this section says about Judaism’s view of history. If you missed the class but want to catch up on what was said, a video of the class is available here. We will continue to look at the meanings of the prayers we say and the structure of the liturgy for the next several weeks.

You may not realize that today is Purim Katan. What, you may ask, is Purim Katan (Little Purim)? This year is a leap year in both the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars, but in the Hebrew calendar we do not simply add an extra day as we do in the Gregorian. Rather, an entire month is added, with the purpose of keeping Pesach in the Spring and the High Holidays in the Fall. We are now in the month of Adar I, the extra month which was added this year, and today is the 14th of Adar I. If this were not a leap year, today would be Purim, but it is actually a month from now in Adar II. We observe the 14th of Adar by skipping the section of the morning service known as “Tachanun.” That’s the only way this day is noted. So happy Purim Katan to everyone! And congratulate yourself on a full observance if you did not say Tachanun this morning.

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 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.


Rabbi Charles L. Arian

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