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Rabbi's Update 2/8/2023

Dear Friends:

On Monday morning a series of powerful earthquakes hit Turkey and northern Syria which were felt as far as Lebanon, Cyprus, and Israel. As of this morning the death toll has risen to over 11,000 and is certain to rise a lot higher. Attempts to reach those who remain trapped in the rubble of destroyed buildings and to provide for the survivors are made difficult by many factors. These areas of Turkey and Syria are mountainous and have severe, snowy, winters. Turkey has absorbed millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war and most of them are in the earthquake area.

As is usually the case, the most useful way for private individuals to help right now is to donate money. Those who are on the ground are best in place to assess local needs and the ways to meet them.

Here is a non-exhaustive lists of ways to help:

Maryland Turkish-American Inhabitants Fundraiser:

Doctors Without Borders:

Israaid (an Israeli NGO on the ground in Turkey and Syria:

World Central Kitchen (our area local hero Jose Andres):

Jewish Federation of Greater Washington Earthquake Relief Fund:

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.


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