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Rabbi's Update 3/17/2023

Dear Friends:

A few quick notes:

This coming Thursday night our “Contemporary Jewish Controversies” class will feature a guest speaker, Rabbi Danny Schiff, who will be speaking on his new book “Judaism In A Digital Age.” Rabbi Schiff is the Federation Scholar at the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh. He has his rabbinic ordination and an earned doctorate from Hebrew Union College. He is originally from Melbourne, Australia, and splits his time between Pittsburgh and Jerusalem. His new book has made quite a splash and has been reviewed extensively in the Jewish press. Please join us -- you do not have to be a regular participant in the class to attend this session on our regular Zoom channel.

As you know, on Wednesday morning I attended a meeting at the Israeli Embassy with other local rabbis to discuss the crisis now gripping Israel and the concerns of the American Jewish community. While the meeting was originally scheduled to be with the Minister for Public Diplomacy and the Deputy Chief of Mission, we wound up meeting instead with the Ambassador, H.E, Michael Herzog, who happens to be the brother of President Isaac Herzog. The contents of the meeting are supposed to be “off the record” although Ambassador Herzog did not really say anything that is not already known to those who follow events in Israel closely. And of course, events in Israel are moving so rapidly that by the time I got home from the meeting, much of what was said was already obsolete. I can tell you that Ambassador Herzog believes that the Israeli government understands the concerns of the American Jewish community and that he believes a compromise will be reached and that the “judicial reform” legislation which is tearing Israel apart will not be passed in its current form. I hope he is right but as Ambassador Herzog also noted, politicians on both sides of the aisle have climbed so far up a tree that it will be hard for them to climb down.

This coming Shabbat we will bless the new month of Nissan which begins on Wednesday night. Nissan is the month during which Passover occurs. Next week I will share with you information on the siyyum held the morning of the first Seder to exempt firstborns from the fast that day; the form to appoint me as your agent for sale of chametz; our schedule of services for Pesach; and guidelines for keeping kosher for Pesach.

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.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Charles L. Arian

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