Updated: Mar 17
While I normally send you these email updates on Wednesdays and Fridays, on Wednesday morning I am participating in a meeting at the Embassy of Israel. Local rabbis will be meeting with the Deputy Head of Mission and the Minister for Public Diplomacy to discuss the Netanyahu government’s legislative initiatives which would reduce the independence of the judiciary and among other things, potentially amend the Law of Return to exclude those who are not Jewish by Orthodox halachic criteria. As you surely know by now, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have gathered every Saturday night for the past 11 weeks waving Israeli flags and demonstrating against these measures which, if passed, will weaken Israeli democracy and rupture the ties between Israel and the Diaspora. I’m deeply concerned about the future of Israel. I believe that the passage of these measures could, without exaggeration, lead to the disintegration of Israeli society. I am glad of the opportunity that I and my colleagues will have to share our thoughts with the Israeli Embassy. If there is a message you would like me to try and convey on your behalf, please let me know today or tomorrow.
Tonight at 9 pm on PBS, “Great Performances” will present Academy Award nominee David Strathairn in “Remember This.” This one-man show dramatizes the life of the late Jan Karski, who risked his life to bring reports of the Warsaw Ghetto and the concentration camps to the leaders of the Allied countries. Karski was my professor at Georgetown and the greatest human being I ever knew personally. I gave a sermon about him on Rosh Hashanah in 2019 and you can read it here. I urge you to watch this show when it is broadcast or on the PBS streaming app,
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian