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How to Pick a Hebrew Name

Posted on May 1st, 2017
By Anita Diamant for MyJewishLearning.com

One of the joys of being "like a newborn baby" after the conversion is that you get to pick a Hebrew name--which is easier than you may think. 


Converts have always selected Hebrew names that speak to them personally; Ruth has long been a favorite for obvious reasons. [Ruth, the grandmother of King David, is perhaps the Bible’s best-known convert.] Most converts choose a biblical name. There are 2,800 personal names in the Hebrew Bible, and although fewer than 5 percent of those are in current use, all of them are yours to consider.

Many of the names in the Bible are theophoric, meaning that they exalt God. Names with the prefixes or suffixes el, eli, ya, and yahu all refer to the Holy One: Elisha–God is my salvation; Raphael–God has healed; Gamliel–God is my reward.

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Stephanie & Dan’s Interfaith Catholic-Jewish Wedding (Complete With An Officiant!)

Posted on April 24th, 2017
From A Practical Wedding

Last year, Stephanie submitted a post to us about her struggle searching for someone to perform a Catholic-Jewish interfaith wedding, and the challenges that come with planning an interfaith wedding when both partners are practicing in their religion. Today she follows up with a grad post that answers that letter. And it’s a damn good one. In other news, can we take a moment to acknowledge that Stephanie works as a mission controller and her husband is an astronaut trainer? Space! We have the most badass readers. That is all.

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Having a Yahrzeit For My Non-Jewish Dad

Posted on April 17th, 2017

I formally converted to Judaism one month after I lost my father and two weeks before getting married.

I hadn’t been raised with much religion. I was baptized Lutheran, but always joked that my parents did that more out of superstition than dogma. They didn’t do much to disabuse me of this notion—we attended services at the local Lutheran church on Christmas Eve, but beyond that and spending a week or so at an Episcopal church camp for a few summers, I didn’t have much of a religious identity.

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Setting The Passover Table Made Easy

Posted on April 10th, 2017
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

Passover is the Jewish holiday that celebrates our freedom. Along with a ritual meal, we tell each other the dramatic story of our slavery in Egypt and our escape to become the Jewish people.

Did you know that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob weren't the only people to leave Egypt with Moses? Yes, even in ancient times there were others who chose to throw in their lot with the Israelites. Together they witnessed the splitting of the sea and together they walked safely across on dry ground. Today's interfaith families reenact that ancient joining together on Passover when they retell those events.

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Passover is here, check out our Passover Resource Kit.

Eggs and Plagues: How One Interfaith Family Navigates Easter/Passover Issues

Posted on April 3rd, 2017
Written by Behrman House Staff

The following is excerpted from the revised edition of Inside Intermarriage, by Jim Keen, due out later this year:

My wife and I each have fond memories of our holidays. For Bonnie, it’s matzah brei (eggs and unleavened bread fried up in a pan) and getting together with her cousins for Passover. For me, it’s Easter eggs and Disney World for spring break with my family. To this day, just the smell of vinegar (used in the dye) reminds me of the brightly colored eggs that the Easter Bunny hid for us. Like Christmas and Hanukkah, Easter and Passover can also evoke strong emotions in interfaith families.

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For more great Passover ideas, check out our Passover Resource Kit.


Did You Know...?

Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?


With seed money from Cantor Jason Kaufman's concert, the JCCNV was able to start a fund with all proceeds going towards a new playground for the preschool.  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!

Our next communal dinner will be Friday, April 28. RSVP to the Beth El office


Lifelong Learning

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



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


Beth El House

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



Food drive the month of April



for men and women

the month of April


April 30 and May 21


Lifelong Learning


Wednesday, May 17 and 24 at 7:00 PM


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