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Rabbi's Update 3/3/2023

Dear Friends:

The Shabbat before Purim is known as Shabbat Zachor because, in addition to the regular Torah reading we have a special reading from a second scroll which reminds us how the Amalekites attacked the vulnerable among our people as we left Egypt. We are commended to remember (Zachor) this forever and to blot out the name and memory of Amalek. Haman is believed to have been a descendant of the Amalekite king Agag (he is referred to in the Book of Esther as Haman Ha-Agagi, Haman the Agagite) and thus this section is read on the Shabbat before Purim.

We will be observing Purim Monday night March 6, at 7 pm on Zoom.

As has been our practice for the last several years, the Megillah (Book of Esther) will be chanted partly in Hebrew and partly in English. Our Hazzan Kim Komrad is an expert in chanting the Megillah in English using the traditional trope (cantillation) and if you have not heard her do so, you should take advantage of this opportunity.

We will be using a new translation and printing of the Megillah. It will be screen-shared during the service but you can also download it in advance here. The service itself is a regular weekday evening service but if for some reason you do not already have a prayer book that contains the weekday evening service you can download the evening service here.

We will be having our costume contest as we do every year. In addition, we will have a contest for best Purim-inspired Zoom background. There will be prizes of $18 Amazon Gift Cards in the following categories:

* best kid’s costume (high school and younger)

* best adult’s costume

* best Zoom background

As you know, it is traditional to “blot out” Haman’s name by making noise when it is mentioned during the Megillah reading. Because food insecurity continues in our community as well as the fact that providing food to the poor is one of the mitzvot of Purim, you are encouraged to use a box of pasta or of mac and cheese as a “gragger” and then bring it to the synagogue and deposit it in the Manna Food Bank collection box in the synagogue lobby.

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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