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Rabbi's Update 2/3/2023

Dear Friends:

I often wonder how many people actually read my morning musings beyond the schedule, but I was pleased to note that a number of people shared with me their thoughts on the Netflix movie “You People” which I discussed on Wednesday morning. Some of those who shared their thoughts were former members who have moved out of the area and it was nice to reconnect with them -- it’s also nice to know that they still feel a connection with our congregation through receiving our emails. Most of you agreed with my assessment that it was amusing albeit not without its problems, but one congregant said they stopped viewing after about half an hour because it was “unwatchable.” As I said the other day, I have never before seen a movie whose reviews were so varied as this one.

Yesterday would have been my father Elliott Arian’s 94th birthday. Like many Jews of his generation my Dad z”l was a dedicated lover of Israel and visited the country 3 times. One of my fondest memories of those trips was going with my Dad to visit our relatives. Our Israeli family immigrated to Israel after surviving the Holocaust and they did not speak English. My Dad grew up speaking Yiddish and was fairly fluent but did not speak Hebrew. I of course am fluent in Hebrew but do not speak Yiddish, so when we were visiting our relatives could converse either with my Dad or with me but not both of us simultaneously.

My Dad did not much discuss the fact that he delayed going to college for two years in 1947-8 to help ship guns and ammunition to the Haganah and subsequently the Israeli Defense Forces in violation of the US arms embargo on the region. He was recruited for this work by his older brother Jules who was in the Young Leadership of the Zionist Organization of America. The people who did the purchasing and the packing of these items which were available as military surplus were mostly Jews, but the loading of the ships was done by New York longshoremen who were mostly Irish, as were most of the police. The Irish longshoremen and cops were willing to cooperate with this operation because as far as they were concerned, the weapons were to be used against the British and there was still a lot of bad blood between the Irish and the British at that time.

We are once again having a sponsored Kiddush after services this Shabbat. If you are planning to attend, it is really helpful for you to register at If you have not registered and decide at the last minute to attend, you will of course still be joyfully welcomed. However, advance registration helps us to determine how much food to prepare for Kiddush without being wasteful. Your assistance is appreciated -- from weekly experience I can tell you that filling out the registration form literally takes less than 30 seconds.

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.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Charles L. Arian

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