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Rabbi’s Update 5/22/2024

A Note from the Rabbi

Dear Friends:

There will be no Adult Education class tomorrow night. I was honored to receive an invitation to the Israel Embassy’s reception marking the 76th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

Interestingly, the event is designated as an “Evening of Solidarity.” I think this is a wise decision on the part of the Embassy. As I’ve written before, many Israelis as well as Diaspora Jews have expressed ambivalence about “celebrating” Independence Day when the country is at war and more than 100 of our brothers and sisters continue to be held in horrendous conditions by Hamas. But whatever our views may be on the appropriateness of celebration at this time, and whatever our views may be regarding the current Israeli government and the policies that it is pursuing, “Solidarity” is always appropriate in a time when the very existence of the State of Israel is challenged on college campuses and government ministries.

I was also intrigued to note that when I received the invitation it only said the event would be held in “Downtown Washington” -- which meant that it would not be held at the Embassy itself, which is not downtown but rather in the Van Ness neighborhood across the street from UDC. I assume that this is both for reasons of security -- there have been anti-Israel demonstrators outside the Embassy 24/7 -- and to allow more people to attend. I have been to a couple of these events at the Embassy itself and they are generally quite crowded and uncomfortable. It was only yesterday that I received an email letting me know the location of tomorrow night’s even and of course that was accompanied by a request not to divulge it. I’ll let you know where it was and what took place in Friday morning’s email.

As a reminder, I am having drop-in hours on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 4 at the shul. For my drop-in hours, 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; 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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