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What Blessing Should I Read at My Daughter’s Interfaith, God-Free Wedding?

Posted on June 18th, 2018
By Unorthodox, Tablet Magazine 

Unorthodox, Tablet’s weekly podcast, takes questions from its listeners about all aspects of Jewish life, from the religiously profound to the utterly inconsequential. Every week, we discuss one of these questions online in “Ask Unorthodox.” If you have a question, please send it to [email protected].

This week, we got a question from a listener who’s preparing for her daughter’s wedding next month. She raised her daughter as a secular Jew, just as she was raised. Her daughter’s fiance is the son of Episcopal priests, and though he was raised in a religious household, he now lives a completely secular life. Their wedding ceremony will be a non-religious one, performed by a friend, with no mention of God. In a concession to his family, his father will be giving a blessing—to be vetted in advance—and our listener’s daughter has asked her to give a blessing as well, “to kind of represent the Jewish side.”

Read and Listen. 

Wit, Exile, Jew, Convert, Genius

Posted on June 11th, 2018
JOSEPH EPSTEIN for Commentary

The life and art of Heinrich Heine

Friendship, Love, the Philosopher’s Stone,
These three things are ranked alone;
These I sought from sun to sun,
And I found—not even one.

— Heinrich Heine

Heinrich Heine was one of those writers, rare at any time, welcome always, who found it impossible to be dull. In everything he wrote, he captivated, sometimes infuriated, often dazzled. Heine, who was born in 1797 and died in 1856, wrote poetry, plays, criticism, essays, fiction, travel books, and journalism. All of it was marked by passion and wit, not a standard combination. “I hate ambiguous words,” he noted, “hypocritical flowers, cowardly fig-leaves, from the depth of my soul.”

Continue reading.

Death is All Religions

Posted on June 4th, 2018

This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

by Anna Keller

A year ago on Mother’s Day I watched my sister-in-law, Julie, hug her mother in the kitchen. I walked in by accident. They were embracing and tears stained their cheeks. “I love you Ma,” Julie said almost shaking. Her mother, Fran, had just been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Julie has twin boys with my brother. My nephews were just under 2 years old at the time. Julie kept saying she felt like she was starring in a horror movie, she had so much to ask her mother, so much she wanted to say.

Continue reading.

The Catholic Priest Who Became an Orthodox Jew

Posted on May 28th, 2018
By Shalom Goldman for Tablet Magazine 



Before modern conversion was widespread, Abraham Carmel, a former Anglican turned Catholic, dove into Judaism with a desire to teach its tenets, a disdain for liberalism, and a willingness to criticize the leadership that resisted his entry into the faith

In March of 1979 People magazine featured an unusual celebrity in one of its brief, punchy articles. While the story, titled “Onetime Catholic Priest Abraham Carmel Celebrates His 25th Year as an Orthodox Jew,” opened and closed with celebrity-style quotes (“Some people are born musicians … I was a born believer”), the substance of the account was remarkably sober. Before he converted to Judaism, Carmel had served as a Catholic priest for 10 years. And the Catholic Church was not his first spiritual home. He had grown up in London in an Anglican family and turned to Catholicism in his 20s. During his quarter century as an Orthodox Jew Carmel had been an influential educator, and in 1979, in his late 60s, he embarked on an American lecture tour to “convert Jews to Judaism.”

Continue reading.

Honoring Jerusalem and its Diverse People (Book)

Posted on May 21st, 2018
Hadassah Magazine

My Jerusalem: The Eternal City. Edited by Ilan Greenfield. Photography by Ziv Koren (Gefen Publishing, 160 pp. $50)

This book’s display of 80 iconic images by award-winning photographer Ziv Koren dramatically honors Jerusalem and its diverse people—Jews, Muslims and Christians—whether they are serving in the army, celebrating holidays in the streets or praying in historical houses of worship (at right, schoolchildren pass the Kotel). The accompanying essays are love songs to the ancient yet modern city by politicians, philanthropists, community leaders (including Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin) and even a New York Times journalist.

Continue reading.


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@ 7:00 PM
See calendar for exact dates and subjects



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For more information go to https://www.bethelhebrew.org/community/beth-el-house

Beth El House enables formerly homeless families to work toward self-sufficiency and confidence.


Upcoming Events

 A Message from

cantor kaufman:




American Conference of Cantors
Beth El Hebrew Congregation
Cantor Jason Kaufman



Important shabbat updates

         *On June 15th, there will be a special Shabbat Service in honor of Rabbi Brett Isserow's retirement.

              * On June 22nd, Linda Waller will be receiving the 2018 Mintz Award & we will be installing Officers and Board Memebers.

            * Beginning on June 29th, Shabbat services will start at 6:30 PM and will continue to do so for the remainder of the summer.







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