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Rabbi's Update 5/13/2022

Dear Friends:

For the last few weeks I’ve been publicizing the upcoming JTS Study Day this Sunday, of which we are a co-sponsor. I’d noted that JTS had decided to do the program as an in-person only event with no Zoom option.

As it happens JTS has made a last minute decision to switch the entire program to Zoom only. This is a good opportunity for those of you who may have wanted to participate in the program but had concerns about gathering in person or driving at night.

JTS Evening of Learning – Sunday, May 15, 2022, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. via Zoom

We are excited to be partnering with the Jewish Theological Seminary as well as with several synagogues and organizations in the Greater Washington area for a JTS Evening of Learning.  Please note that the program had originally been scheduled to take place in-person, and has now been moved to Zoom. The program will feature several outstanding JTS scholars for a stimulating and meaningful Jewish learning experience. The focus of the studies will be “Expanding the Canon: Transforming Judaism in the 21st Century” – JTS scholars will explore what it would mean to radically expand our canon, incorporating the voices of women, Jews of Color, people with disabilities, and other historically marginalized groups; and how diversifying our canonical texts can help us create a more inclusive Jewish community. There is an $18 suggested donation for the program. To learn more and to register visit

While on the subject of Zoom, this Shabbat morning we will be using a different type of camera system called a Meeting Owl. If you have been participating on Zoom since we began our hybrid services almost a year ago, while there has been a camera on my podium, because there can only be one live microphone in the room, the sound has been coming through the “Central Bimah” Zoom window. This has been confusing and made it difficult if you wanted to set your Zoom to “speaker view” rather than “gallery.” The Meeting Owl will mean there is only one Zoom window in the sanctuary and it will provide coverage of the central bimah, the rabbi’s and cantor’s podiums, and the Ark -- the camera will focus on wherever someone is speaking or singing. The Meeting Owl is a fairly costly piece of equipment but if it works as advertised it should significantly improve the Zoom experience for those participating remotely during our hybrid service. If you are not going to attend in person tomorrow morning, please tune in to the Zoom and share your feedback after Shabbat.

Last night’s Contemporary Jewish Controversies class discussed the evolution of Conservative Jewish attitudes towards LGBT folks. If you want to watch the class you can do so at this link.

As a reminder, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has established a Ukraine Emergency Fund to meet emergency humanitarian needs. You can find out more and donate here.

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. Although I am working primarily from home, 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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