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Rabbi’s Update 3/29/2024

Dear Friends:

Every year leading up to Pesach we read four special maftir readings after we read the assigned Torah portion for that week. Tomorrow is Shabbat Parah, the Shabbat of the (Red) Heifer, when we read about the ashes of the Red Heifer which were used to purify someone who had come into contact with a corpse. The reason we read this as Passover approaches is that someone who had contracted “corpse impurity” could not participate in the paschal sacrifice. This special Torah reading served to remind such a person that they needed to make sure to participate in the ceremony of the Red Heifer in order to remove that impurity before Pesach.

The special readings before Pesach also serve to remind us that it is time to start getting ready, even if not specifically through the Red Heifer ceremony. One of the ways we do that is, of course, through preparing our kitchen for Pesach and ridding ourselves of chametz. The form by which you can appoint me as your agent to sell your chametz can be found here. The form will be done entirely online this year although if for some reason you can’t manage to fill it out online, you can contact me for assistance. Please note that the form must be completed by 8 pm on Sunday, April 21 -- the day before the first Seder. In the next few days I will be providing you with other information for Pesach -- guidelines for keeping kosher for Passover, our schedule of services, and information about the siyyum to exempt firstborns from fasting on Monday, April 22.

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 or another member of our Jewish community who could use a phone call, please let me know.


Rabbi Charles L. Arian

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