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Beth El Hebrew Congregation - High Holidays 2021/5782

Rabbi Spinrad's High Holiday Message

Rabbi Spinrad's Kol Nidre Sermon

Rabbi Spinrad's Rosh Hashanah Sermon

Rabbi Romano's Rosh Hashanah Sermon

Message From Rabbi David Spinrad 


WELCOME HOME. The years 5780-5781 were unlike any others in our lifetimes. They called on us to be courageous, resilient, and faithful as we charted an unknown course through the wilder-ness. Together, we developed new ways of worship, learning, and being in community while the pandemic kept us physically apart.

We return again to the sacred physical spaces of our synagogue for 5782, yet we remain in a liminal psycho-logical space somewhere between the pandemic’s dark-est night and the glowing light of sunrise. We are not quite who we were. And it seems too soon to tell how the events of 2020-2021 will shape the people we be-come. It is premature to predict how this long chapter in our Books of Life will shape the chapters that remain unwritten.

As we reorient ourselves on our way back home, I invite you to join me in a commitment to be guided by our congregational mission statement: We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. As we progress, may seven words from our mission statement be stars that light our way:

We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. The “we” means everyone who wishes to be, must be fully included. Without exception. “We” means Jews. It means the people who love them who are of other faiths or who are not religious but who have chosen to call Beth El their community. “We” means people of every race, ethnicity, and ability. Not only does the “we” mean Beth El must strive to be inclusive of all, all who are a part of our community must be willing to assume some responsibility for the mission. We live immersed in a transactional society, but a synagogue cannot thrive if those who be-long to it are consumed by what they receive rather than the many gifts they can share for the greater good of the whole.

We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. In Hebrew, the root of “sacred” is kuf-dalet-shin, as in the familiar Kiddush and Kaddish, meaning “set apart for a special purpose.” We are an Am Kadosh, a people with a special purpose. Whether we experience this purpose through the observance of ritual practices or ethical mitzvot or Jewish learning or in our striving toward tikkun olam or even in that special feeling of being together with other Jews — at our best, our individual and communal actions are infused with special purpose, making the ordinary extraordinary.
We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. We are decidedly and proudly Jewish. Our theologies — how we conceive of and talk about and experience God — are Jewish. Our rituals and traditions are Jewish. Our history and how we view the future is Jewish. Moreover, we are Reform Jews, living in the positive tension between religious fidelity and modern autonomy, maintaining the core of our wisdom tradition while embracing modernity, equality, and logic.

We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. “All” matters at Beth El. Similar to the “we” in “We are Beth El,” the “all” in our mission statement refers directly to our understanding that approximately one-half of our families are composed of interfaith couples. Beth El is the spiritual home for many people who are not Jewish. This is a fact, and because the vast majority of our families practice Judaism alone at home and in the world, perhaps it is time we retire the “interfaith” descriptor altogether, as it implies the practice of multiple religions. Instead, let us consider as a better term “multi-faith,” the feeling of affinity with aspects of more than one religion. It is time we recognize that some of our best and most devoted members of the Beth El family are not Jewish, and that their presence and participation is a key to our mission.
We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. Everything we do at Beth El relates to connection, meaning, and healing. “Connection” can mean many things: It can mean connecting to our people, to Israel, to our history, or to our culture. It can refer to the connections we make with God, each other, or to our best selves.

We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. We are meant to search for and to make meaning in our lives. Thankfully, we are the fortunate inheritors of a meaning-making tradition par excellence. At every age and stage of life, we of every ability have every opportunity — both formal and informal — to search for and even find answers to big questions of meaning like “Why am I here?” and “What am I supposed to do while I am?”

We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. We live in a beautiful world abounding in moments of near perfection. And yet, we and the world often seem broken. Our mission contains a commitment to the healing of both our world — tikkun olam — and the healing of ourselves — tikkun atzmeinu. We can’t necessarily cure our bodies or the ills that surround us, but “healing” and “cure” are different words. In the end, “healing” may mean nothing more than integration and acceptance of the totality of the life experience, the rose and the thorn, and the achievement of wholeness or shleimut.

We are Beth El, a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing.

Together, we are Beth El. Shanah Tovah.

— Rabbi Spinrad

Message From Temple President, Alan Cohn 


Our High Holiday observations are just around the corner, and we are knee deep in preparations and planning for a return home to our building.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, we will abide by national and local guidelines at the time of every event. You can expect that we will have a COVID-compliant reduced capacity for each of the High Holiday services, for example, and we will of course provide full online access via Facebook. Just like each of the new challenges we’ve all faced these last 16 months, hybrid services are just another, and we will succeed.

As we transition back to the building, Religious School will once again meet in person, the Judaica Shop will reopen, we are on track for hosting B’nai Mitzvah and mah jongg, bridge and Brotherhood, all of whom will once again actively meet, gather, and provide much needed community. We have an ever-expanding calendar of in-person programming and hope that each of you will find some way to connect to and with Beth El.

During my High Holiday remarks to the congregation last year, for the first time in a long time, I made a direct High Holidays donation appeal, perhaps a bit unartfully as I made it from the comfort of my living room. But ask I did, and so many of you were so very generous, Beth El was able to raise $40,000. Just like any great movie sequel, let’s do it bigger and better this year!
So, I will once again be making a High Holiday appeal, this time from the bimah on Erev Rosh Hashanah. The funds from the appeal go directly to help offset our annual Beth El operating budget expenses. We count on these funds and hope to exceed our fundraising amount from last year. Every dollar helps as we try to rebuild and to reconnect.

All of these sustained efforts help Beth El fulfill her mission of becoming a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing.

Alan Cohn

High Holiday Bulletin 2021/5782



How to Attend - Tickets and Online Information

Due to COVID-19 and the ongoing need for social distancing, we have limited the attendance at in-person services to 300.

Tickets can be reserved on our website calendar and reminders for ticket purchases will be sent with the appropriate link, as well.

For those of you who are not comfortable coming in person or not able to, all services will be streamed on Facebook Live as we have been doing all year.


When you reserve your tickets, you will receive a confirmation notice that will contain the image of a ticket for the reserved service. Please print that confirmation or save it on your phone as a file or photo, and be prepared to show that paper or image upon arrival at the reserved service. If you forget to bring the “ticket image” on the day of the service, we will have a list of tickets reserved to check you in; however, it will make the entrance process longer.

If you need assistance making ticket reservations, please email the office at or call (703) 370-9400. Please note that tickets are not required for online services.


High Holidays Services Schedule

Tuesday, September 21
Sukkot Services 10:30 am

Simchat Torah/Sh'mini Atzeret
Tuesday, September 28
Simchat Torah/Sh’mini Atzeret and Yizkor Services 10:30 am


As in past years, our parking lot cannot accommodate everyone during the High Holidays. Additional parking has been arranged with the Virginia Theological Seminary, across Seminary Road at 3737 Seminary Road. Let’s be good neighbors and obey neighborhood parking signs and restricted or private parking spaces. Improperly parked cars will be ticketed or towed at the owner’s expense. Additional handicapped parking spaces will be available in our lot. Individuals without a state issued handicap tag, members who cannot walk long distances, and members who do not have a driver to drop them off at the entrance may obtain a handicap parking space by calling the office or requesting one online.

Handicapped Parking and Seating

 If you need handicapped parking or seating, you can contact the office at (703) 370-9400 or make an online request below.

Click Here to Request Handicapped Parking and/or Seating



Order Forms

Below are links to all the forms for this year's High Holidays, and below them is information on picking up prayer books and the schedule for services. The forms for the Book of Remembrance and New Year's greetings (which will be printed in the October issue of the Bulletin) are ONLY online; there are no paper forms. We welcome all of you and your guests to join us as we celebrate the High Holidays in the sanctuary and online.

If you have any questions about services, the schedule, or any of these forms, please contact the Beth El office at or 703-370-9400.

Book of Remembrance: Same Submission as 2020

Book of Remembrance: New Submission

Bulletin Greetings

High Holiday Fundraising Appeal

Volunteer Ushers

If you would prefer to print your forms and mail them in please CLICK HERE for the pdf version of the forms.



Security is paramount during the High Holidays.  A police presence will be visible on Seminary Road and at the entrance to the building. They will monitor cars entering the parking lot. Police will also assist pedestrians and traffic crossing Seminary Road.

Please do not bring backpacks or large bags into the building. We reserve the right to check all bags. As always, if you have questions, or specific needs, please do not hesitate to call the office at (703) 370- 9400, and we will be happy to assist you.

Sat, May 21 2022 20 Iyar 5782