Personal Jewish Reflection on the Way to High Holidays

Spock's "Live Long and Prosper" sign was modeled after a signal that the Kohanim make during Jewish services / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Summer is winding down (though I hear the horrific 90s-plus weather might be back to accost us soon,) and the slow, Jewish schedule from the last couple months is about to speed up dramatically in preparation for High Holidays. It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged here about actually attending any events in the public arena, but that will probably change in the next few weeks! I can’t wait to get back into it with all of you. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’ve been finding other ways to keep Jewishly active. Last week, I attended a friendly ice cream social with the ladies of Yachad Hadassah. This week, I’m prepping to go out of town for a very Jewish event…the massive science fiction convention in Atlanta called DragonCon. 😛

Arching your eyebrow a little bit about the Jewish connection? Well, hear me out! DragonCon covers the gamut of geekery…from television and movies to role-playing games, comics and more.

Jews have had an extreme influence on the American comic book scene from the get-go. In the 1930s, tribesmen Jerry Siegel and Joel Schuster created the first American superhero—Superman. Although not overtly Jewish, Superman’s transformation from the nebbish Clark Kent into the suave caped hero could be seen as an allegory for American Jewish attempts at assimilation. Superman fought for the undertrodden, and even against Hitler. His wild popularity helped to spur the comic book movement—which featured even more Jews. Stan Lee, the head of Marvel Comics (and a Heeb) will be at DragonCon, along with many others in the biz.

Judaism pervaded other parts of science fiction as well. As pictured above, the “live long and prosper” sign, introduced by Jewish Leonard Nimoy for his Star Trek character, Dr. Spock, was a play on a Jewish symbol. Maybe Jews feel like aliens? 😛 Either way, both stars of the influential 1960s tv show, “Star Trek” were Jewish in faith.

Science fiction writing has also been littered with Jews. Check out Isaac Asimov, the biochemist who was known as a sci-fi master in the mid to late 20th century.

Still not convinced? Well, I can’t deny that my main goal for going to DragonCon is not to write a thesis about Jews and sci-fi (though I sure do like reading them. 😛 Check out this fascinating book review about the dearth of Jews in fantasy media.) I’ll see you back here in time for Rosh Hashanah!

Note: This blog is going on hiatus for the next week as I will be out of town. Early Chag Sameach!


Upcoming Events: August 23-29

Shavua Tov! Below, I’ve compiled a list of Jewish events I’ve found to be going on next week. Please feel free to comment with any others, and I will add them. See you around town!

Tuesday, August 24

Movie Screening: “Black over White”

Mayoral Debate Hosted by Jewish Community

Young Leadership Campaign Kickoff 5:00:00 PM&enddate=8/24/2010 5:30:00 PM&id=75&eventid=493584&recurrenceid=0

Wednesday, August 25

6th in the City Running Club 6:30:00 PM

JCC of GW Book Discussion 5:30:00 PM&enddate=8/25/2010 6:45:00 PM&id=75&eventid=460416&recurrenceid=0

Books for Prisons

Jubilee Jobs

Thursday, August 26

Women’s Equality Day Event

Rally to Support Concrete Workers

Bible Study at Kehilat Shalom 8:00:00 PM&enddate=8/26/2010 9:30:00 PM&id=75&eventid=502336&recurrenceid=0

Preschool Welcome Night

Friday, August 27

Downtown Shabbat with Larry Paul and Robyn Helzner 6:45:00 PM

B’nai Tzedek: BBQ and Barchu 6:00:00 PM&enddate=8/27/2010 8:00:00 PM&id=75&eventid=511325&recurrenceid=0

Saturday, August 28

Shaare Torah Tot Shabbat 10:15:00 AM&enddate=8/28/2010 10:45:00 AM&id=75&eventid=432223&recurrenceid=10400

Shabbat Nitzanim Services 10:30:00 AM&enddate=8/28/2010 11:00:00 AM&id=75&eventid=384141&recurrenceid=9375

Sunday, August 29

EntryPointDC Newcomer Brunch

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo 10:30:00 AM

Hebrew in a Flash 11:00:00 AM

Rimmonim Center for Learning: Back to School BBQ 1:00:00 PM&enddate=8/29/2010 3:00:00 PM&id=75&eventid=516196&recurrenceid=0

Gleaning with Food for Others

GLOE Pool Party

WHC 2339 BBQ

High Holiday Classes 5771

Graphic courtesy of

Rosh Hashanah is a mere few weeks away; are you prepared? If not, the Jewish community may be able to help! Check out these classes being offered by local organizations.

Sunday, August 29
Hebrew in a Flash
Sixth & I, 11 am
Re-learn the High Holiday prayers!

Monday, August 30
Learn to Bake Honeycake
DCJCC, 7 pm
In time for Rosh Hashanah!

Wednesday, September 1
Rosh Hashanah—Fresh Starts
DCJCC, 8 pm
Find new meaning and shirk off the negativity in this class taught by MesorahDC’s Rabbi Teitelbaum.

Monday, September 13
The BIG Sorry
Sixth & I, 7:30 pm
Time to purge that guilt and anger in time for Yom Kippur with PJLL’s Dr. Erica Brown.

Tuesday, September 14
Writing Ourselves
Sixth & I, 7 pm
Not Your Bubbe’s Sisterhood looks at how self-expression in journals might tie in with High Holiday reflection.

Wednesday, September 15
Yom Kippur—Letting Go
DCJCC, 9 pm
There can never be enough preparation for The Day of Atonement. Join Rabbi Teitelbaum to explore the ways of healing rifts.

Posts from Last Year:

Shabbat Shalom!

Upcoming Events: August 16-22

Shavua Tov! Below, I’ve compiled a list of Jewish events I’ve found to be going on next week. Please feel free to comment with any others, and I will add them. See you around town!

Monday, August 16

Adat Reyim Preschool and Religious School Open House 5:30:00 PM&enddate=8/16/2010 7:30:00 PM&id=75&eventid=502141&recurrenceid=0

GLOE Volunteering at Food and Friends

Vinyasa Yoga

A Film Unfinished

Tuesday, August 17

A Mother’s Circle 6:30:00 PM

GLOE: Leon Weiseltier Interviews Avi Soffer

Wednesday, August 18

J-Fed Professional/Lay Workshop 7:00:00 PM&enddate=8/18/2010 8:00:00 PM&id=75&eventid=475581&recurrenceid=0

Thursday, August 19

Olam Tikvah ABBA Kickball 7:00:00 PM&enddate=8/19/2010 7:30:00 PM&id=75&eventid=511566&recurrenceid=0

Hunger Action 16th and J

Friday, August 20-Sunday, August 22

Artist and Kabbalist David Friedman 7:00:00 PM&enddate=8/22/2010 11:00:00 AM&id=75&eventid=494026&recurrenceid=0

Friday, August 20

Jewish Singles Weekend at Club Getaway

Beth Emeth Shabbat BBQ 6:00:00 PM&enddate=8/20/2010 9:30:00 PM&id=75&eventid=514540&recurrenceid=0

Temple B’nai Shalom Tot Shabbat/Ice Cream Social 7:00:00 PM&enddate=8/20/2010 8:00:00 PM&id=75&eventid=511109&recurrenceid=0

Saturday, August 21

Bar, Lounge and Nightclub Tour of Dupont

DC High Holiday Tickets 5771

Courtesy of Crystal Cloud Graphics

Courtesy of Crystal Cloud Graphics

August is halfway out, but High Holidays are just around the corner! Do you have plans yet this year?

GesherCity, a group for the 21-35 crowd, offers free and discounted tickets to area shuls for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Click to see synagogues in DC, MD and VA. (Note: Deadline is September 1, and you do have to be a GesherCity member to be eligible. Also coming up on August 29 is a newcomer brunch!)

For those of you over 35, The Jewish Information Referral Service (JIRS) provides a list of area synagogues giving tickets to non-members. You can request that list by emailing

Act fast before the tickets are gone! Have a sweet and healthy new year.

Upcoming Events: August 9-15

Shavua Tov! Below, I’ve compiled a list of Jewish events I’ve found to be going on next week. Please feel free to comment with any others, and I will add them. See you around town!

Tuesday, August 10

Israeli Dancing for Kids 6:30:00 PM&enddate=8/10/2010 10:00:00 PM&id=75&eventid=501989&recurrenceid=0

The Power of Forgiveness

Wednesday, August 11

Roseanne Cash book signing 7:00:00 PM

Hatha Yoga with Shankara

Knit and Nosh

Friday, August 13

Tikkun Leil Shabbat

Adas Israel Musical Shabbat 8:00:00 PM&enddate=8/13/2010 9:30:00 PM&id=75&eventid=505012&recurrenceid=0

Preschool Family Welcome Shabbats

Friday, August 13-Sunday, August 15

Pocono Rafting/Leadership Weekend

Saturday, August 14

Shaare Torah Tot Shabbat 10:15:00 AM&enddate=8/14/2010 10:45:00 AM&id=75&eventid=432239&recurrenceid=10401

Shabbat Nitzanim Services 10:30:00 AM&enddate=8/14/2010 11:00:00 AM&id=75&eventid=384016&recurrenceid=9373

Sunday, August 15

Mix and Mingle on the Mount Vernon Trail


DC’s Historic First Synagogue Moves! Again!

Lilian and Albert Small Jewish Museum during its first move in 1969 / image courtesy of Wikipedia

Hot off the presses of the Washington Postthe building, which housed the first Jewish synagogue in DC is slated to be moved. And this isn’t the first time, either.

In December 1969, The Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum was moved to Third and G Streets to make way for the Metro headquarters. Now, it will be moving slightly over to Third and F Streets to make way for mixed development.

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, which promotes and cares for this piece of Jewish history, has set up a blog so that the public can monitor the progress of this latest move. Check it out for more recent news coverage.

This Synagogue/Museum has been called “The Wandering Building,” a reference to the Medieval figure of The Wandering Jew, but I’d also like to think that it’s continuing existence in the Washington area, plus that expanding flock of Jews, to which this synagogue was a foundation almost 200 years ago, speaks to our endurance as a community.