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Rabbi’s Update 4/19/2024

Dear Friends:

MiSheberach List “reset”:

The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of Conservative Judaism (CJLS)  recently passed a responsum dealing with communal MiSheberach lists.

The list we read on Shabbat mornings has become extremely long to the point where it comes close to violating the halachic prohibition of tircha d'tzibura, over burdening the community. This problem is common in many synagogues because people call or email to add names to the list but often do not ask for names to be taken off the list when the person recovers or, God forbid, passes away.

The CJLS suggests "resetting" the list twice a year, at Pesach and Rosh Hashanah. If you have put a name on the list, please email or call Joan in the office ( or 301-869-7699 before the end of April to renew the name.

Thank you to the many people who have already contacted the office to keep the names of loved one on the list. Any names not renewed will be taken off the list as of Shabbat morning, May 4.

Preparing for Pesach:

Mechirat Chametz: The Torah is explicit in decreeing that during Pesach, we are forbidden not only to consume chametz but even to own it. That is why our Sages developed the practice of mechirat chametz whereby you appoint a rabbi as your agent to sell your chametz to a non-Jew. The rabbi then reacquires the chametz for you after Pesach is over. This year I will be selling the chametz to Bishop Christopher Mathews, the local Bishop of the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). We will be meeting Monday morning to transact the sale. If you wish to fulfill this mitzvah and have not yet done so, you must fill out this form by Sunday evening:

Siyyum Bechorim: If you are not a first-born, you may be unfamiliar with this practice. In commemoration of the death of the first-born Egyptians, a custom has developed for first-borns to fast on the day leading to the first Seder. Subsequently, the custom developed for first-borns to attend a siyyum, a celebration of the completion of studying a Talmudic tractate, which overrides the fast. Our siyyum will be on Zoom at 7:30 Monday morning and will take 30 minutes or less. You do not have to be a first-born to participate. By the way, both male and female first-borns are included in this custom.

Pesach Resources:

Exploring Judaism is a new website under the auspices of the Conservative Movement. Their Not A Haggadah supplement contains articles and readings that will help you prepare for Passover with new understandings:

The Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem has prepared a Haggadah supplement specifically for this year as we explore themes of brokenness, hunger, and the loss of people who should be at our Seder table:

Rabbi Jan Urbach of the Jewish Theological Seminary has prepared a guide to tough conversations across generational and political divides:

A very short but useful supplement from Israel educators Joel Chasnoff and Benji Lovitt:

Here is a link to the form you will need to fill out for me to sell your chametz:

And a link to our Pesach schedule:

And finally my guide to keeping Kosher for Passover:

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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