Weekly-Torah-Portion

Rabbi David Spinrad’s Installation Shabbat Dinner

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Yitro

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 12:00am

Exodus 18:1–20:23 

 

By Rabbi Sarah Bassin for ReformJudaism.org


Encounters That Can Make Us Become Better Jews


Jews are good at nostalgia. We remember with fondness the tenements of the Lower East Side when our community was tight knit and intact. We remember the quaintness of shtetl life untouched by outsiders. We yearn for the sovereignty of Ancient Israel where we controlled our own fate, unmolested by other nations.

But as Rabbi Rachel Adler reminds us, “there never was a time when ancient Israelite religion or the Judaism that succeeded it were not being influenced by the cultures and religions they encountered.”1

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Shabbat Shira - Beshalach

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 12:00am

Exodus 13:17-17:16 
 

By Rabbi Sarah Bassin for ReformJudaism.org
 

How We Win Is Important
 

If we as Jews believed in a hell, Amalek would have a special place in it.

Since we don’t, we take care in every generation to blot out Amalek’s name. It’s a level of disdain we retain for the worst of the worst. Amalek makes it to the top of our list of enemies. So who was Amalek and why is he the focus of all our ire?

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Bo

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:00am

Exodus 10:1−13:16 


By Rabbi Sarah Bassin for ReformJudaism.org


Thinking Big and Failing Fast


Think big. As a society, we value those who step beyond the status quo, who push us beyond what we think is possible. We think of them as heroic — because they possess a talent that we do not.

But what if thinking big were not a talent but a skill to be cultivated — something even God had to practice?


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Vaera

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 12:00am

Exodus 6:2-9:35 
 

By Rabbi Sarah Bassin for ReformJudaism.org
 

Shortness of Breath, Shortness of Spirit
 

High school wasn’t great for me. I functioned at the periphery of social groups, laying low and laughing at jokes made at my expense so as not to be excommunicated into social oblivion. The weekend I left for college, I never once second guessed my decision until the moment my parents said goodbye and drove off. Watching that van pull away, it suddenly hit me that I was fully alone. I was 1,200 miles away from anyone who knew me. Every worst-case scenario flooded my brain in that instant. What if it were worse than high school? What if I didn’t find any friends or a group of friends? What if I failed my classes? What if none of the clubs wanted me? I froze. I wanted nothing more than to return to the familiar — to go back home. I must have stood there looking shell-shocked for a solid five minutes before a kind orientation leader coaxed me out of my stupor to some ice-breakers and what turned out to be the start of a fulfilling college experience.  

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Shemot

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:00am

Exodus 1:1−6:1
 

By Rabbi Sarah Bassin for ReformJudaism.org
 

The Limits of Control
 

We take control. We lose control. Sometimes things are beyond our control.

There is as much value in recognizing what’s within our control as there is in acknowledging what is not. Finding that balance of what to own and what to acknowledge as beyond our reach can be tough. It can be a poignant internal struggle — particularly when you’ve just suffered a trauma or been the victim of a crime.

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Vayechi

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 12:00am

Genesis 47:28–50:26 


By Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D. for ReformJudaism.org


How the Living Serve the Dead


Va-y’chi concludes the narratives of Genesis by foreshadowing enslavement and redemption — central themes of the Book of Exodus. As the Genesis narrative draws to a close, Joseph and his retinue journeyed from Egypt to Canaan to fulfill Jacob’s bidding that Joseph bury his father in the Tomb of Machpelah, the burial cave purchased by Abraham for his family from the Hittites (Genesis 23:1-20). After fulfilling this promise, the progeny of Jacob returned to their adopted land of Egypt and their comfortable homes and lives


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Vayigash

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:00am

Genesis 44:18–47:27


BY RABBI STEPHEN S. PEARCE, PH.D.FOR REFORMJUDAISM.ORG

 

The True Measure of Repentance

 

Vayigash, a Torah portion filled with drama and suspense, offers a profound message about regret, repentance, and forgiveness.


When famine struck the Land of Canaan, Joseph's brothers arrived in Egypt to purchase provisions. Although they had no idea who the thoroughly Egyptianized Joseph who stood before them was, Joseph recognized them immediately. In an instant, Joseph recalled the mockery his brothers had made of the dreams of his youth, and even his father's annoyance at Joseph's imperious demeanor. Joseph understood the irony of his dreams of mastery over the members of his family.

 

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Miketz - Rosh Chodesh Hanukkah

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:00am

Genesis 41:1−44:17 
 

By Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D. for ReformJudaism.org
 

Jewish Self-Definition: One Size No Longer Fits All
 

Jewish assimilation — the loss of followers through attrition, absorption into other faiths, or the practice of no faith — harks back to Joseph, the first Israelite to live in a diaspora. In Mikeitz, we read how Joseph adopted Egyptian customs and clothes, took an Egyptian wife, and was given the Egyptian name Zaphenath-paneah (Genesis 41:45), a sign of acceptance into Egyptian society. Joseph gave his firstborn son the name Manasseh, meaning,“God has made me forget all the troubles I endured in my father’s house” (Genesis 41:51), and his second son the name Ephraim, meaning,“God has made me fruitful … ” (Genesis 41:52). Joseph’s children could informally be called “Amnesia” and “Success.” Their identities highlight the struggle of living at the intersection of two cultures — one uniquely Jewish and one that competes for a Jew’s loyalty and allegiance. 

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Did You Know...?

Early Childhood Learning Center Registration Open!

Information for the 2019-2020 Program Registration is available

 

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Like our page to be the first in the know about upcoming events and specials.

“Through sharing we all find a common ground, inspiration, hope, meaning, and, ultimately, action.”

 

Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?

Beth El is getting a new playground!  If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground."  If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!

 

Lifelong Learning

Wednesdays during the school year
@ 7:00 PM
See calendar for exact dates and subjects

 

ALIVE!

For more information about ALIVE! go to alive-inc.org.

Upcoming Events

 

We have a very special service January 18 at 7:30 p.m. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his heroic work.

We will be joined by our talented 5th grade class and singer-songwriter, LEA.

Trivia Night

Come for a fast and fun night of trivia, food and comaraderie on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 6:00 pm, at Beth El.  Adults and teens (7th grade and up) can play!  The cost is $35 per person (includes: dinner and participation), BYOB.  Bring cash to buy optional extra chits to help your table become the champion!  Separate, supervised Kids Night Out - $10 per child (6th grade and younger; includes casual dinner, movie & games).  RSVP: by Monday, February 18, Advance Ticket Sales Only. Register here  Questions: Contact Anne Levy, [email protected]  Proceeds will go to the Beth El Playground Fund.

Please sign up for Ushering at Beth El for Friday Night Services ​

This is a great opportunity to see and meet fellow congregants.Please use the link to sign up:

 

Support During Shutdown                         

As the frustrating government shutdown drags on, we extend our sympathies during this anxious time for you and your family. While Beth El Hebrew Congregation is not a direct service provider, we can offer temporary dues relief until the shutdown has ended. We hope this resource list can be an asset during this difficult time and pray for an immediate resolution:

 

What Furloughed Workers Need to Know About Filing for Unemployment Benefits: https://tinyurl.com/yd3v7w29

A Furloughed Federal Employee’s Guide to Filing for Unemployment: https://tinyurl.com/y9qltsjt

U.S. Office of Personnel Management Furlough Guidance: tps://tinyurl.com/y8sg3mum

Alexandria Center for Economic Support: https://tinyurl.com/yd66o7mj

Coordinated Services Fairfax County: https://tinyurl.com/y8f9e4vg

Local Restaurants Offering Free or Discounted Meals and More: https://tinyurl.com/ybmozmt3

 

                  


 

There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

the full calendar