Upcoming Events: June 27-July 3

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, June 27

Open to Interpretation: Defining Modern Orthodoxy

Living Wages, Healthy Communities Campaign Meeting

Ohr Kodesh: The Arab Spring Town Hall Forum

JProDC: June 2011 Colleague Connections

Tuesday, June 28

Interfaith Climate Change Discussion Circle

Israeli Culture Through Hebrew Conversation

Wednesday, June 29

Social Media=Social Change

Sixth & I Running Club

Strathmore: Rafi Malkiel in Concert

JSC: Islam and Politics in Arab Countries

Handmade for the Homeless June 2011

Thursday, June 30

Theatre J New Subscriber Insider Deal

Friday, June 1

Club Getaway Fourth of July Vacation

Tikkun Leil Shabbat

Sixth Street Minyan


Israeli Documentary Focusing on Musicians Features at the DCJCC Jewish Music Festival

When one usually thinks of the annual Washington Jewish Music Festival—or any festival for that matter—one pictures concerts; guitars, pianos, vocals, etc. But to spruce things up a bit (and partially due to scheduling complications) I decided to attend the airing of two episodes of Culture Heroes. A really intriguing series!

Zubin Mehta / image courtesy of Wikipedia

The first episode centered around Zubin Mehta,the Bombay-born, Vienna-trained Zorastrian who came to the Israeli Philharmonic when a spot opened up in the ’60s. The documentary was very off-the-cuff; director Ori Sivan was obviously recording with a handheld, frequently segued into sports and things of more interest to him, and was as much a subject of the film himself as Mehta was—particularly regarding his grandmother, who was the Philharmonic’s first harpist from the ’30s to the ’60s. He had a cute sense of humor, though, and sent the audience chuckling.

Chava Alberstein / image courtesy of Wikipedia

The second documentary, featuring folk singer Chava Alberstein,was what drew me to this event. Back in late high school, when I was grasping for a connection to Israel and my Jewish heritage, I happened upon a CD of hers in the world music section at Borders. Not only is she reviving Yiddish (:D) but her melodies are soothing and her lyrics are mellow and Earthy. In the documentary, she disdained the Israeli bent towards over-sentimalization, which I took to mean the country’s stereotype about being a place where emotions—among other things—run on high. Although these songs were definitely moving, they ran more on the chill side of things. Director Sivan Arbel largely stayed out of this film—Alberstein gave her little choice, since as other audience members quipped, the singer rarely shut up. 😛 But I was also drawn to the fact that in every moment of Alberstein’s recorded life, she seemed two steps away from a song…effortlessly sitting down to strum a tune or hum a melody to grandkids.

The Jewish Music Festival concludes this Sunday with a family concert at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, but there are still plenty more concerts on the horizon! The “Culture Heroes” viewing was co-sponsored with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Find my coverage of the last two years here and here.

Upcoming Events: June 13-19

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!

Ongoing Until June 16

Washington, DC Jewish Community Center Jewish Music Festival

Monday, June 13

Interfaith Meditation

Agnes Obel Concert

JCCGW Golf and Tennis Tournament

AishDC Women’s Supper under the Stars

Yeshiva of Greater Washington Boys School Graduation

Community Service Camp: Early Session

Vinyasa Yoga Summer 2011

Tuesday, June 14

DC Statehood Rally

JCRC Annual Meeting

American Friends of Lubavitch Benefit

Authors Out Loud: Liliane Willens

Interfaith Couples Workshop June 2011

Wednesday, June 15

Putting Race on the Table

AIPAC’s Washington Club Briefing Series

Gesher Jewish Day School Graduation Ceremony

JSC: Jews of Nashville

Interfaith Couples: Building Community, Creating Conversation

Introduction to Judaism Summer 2011

Thursday, June 16

Jewish Cooking 101: Farmers’ Market Meals

Sixth & I/BBI Trivia Under the Stars

Chabad Gala Dinner and Auction

Hunger Action at 16 and J

WHC 2339 Nats vs Cardinals Game

Friday, June 17-Sunday, June 19

Am Kolel Mussar Weekend with Rabbi Ira Stone

Friday, June 17

Mussar & Spiritual Activism Shabbaton

Saturday, June 18

Troop Beverly Hills: The Experience

Sunday, June 19

Ohev Sholom Gala

Sixth & I’s “The Ten” offered literature, song and religious study to herald in Shavuot

Nathan Englander discusses his work with "New York Times" writer David Segal. /photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Sixth & Iopened its doors to the local Jewish community Tuesday in order to celebrate Shavuot, which chronicles when Moses received the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Fiction writer Nathan Englander was interviewed for a live audience by David Segal of the New York Times. Much of the talk centered around a recent translation he did of the Passover Haggadah, his religious upbringing, and his novel, “The Ministry of Special Cases,” though his commentary on each question was intense and far-reaching.

Indie rock band DeLeon performs Sephardic-inspired music. /photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Later, participants had the chance to either study the idea of Jewish “chosenness” with Rabbi Shira Stutman, or listen to a set of music by indie rock band DeLeon.The group cranked out a few hours’ worth of Sephardic-inspired tunes.

Also downstairs in the social hall where the band played there were several snacks, including cookies, ice cream sodas and other dairy delectables that are traditional on Shavuot, plus chips, New York pickles and freshly brewed beer. In the corner, people gathered to watch a muted showing of Cecil B. DeMille’s famous “The Ten Commandments,” inspired by the Passover story, which led ancient Israelites to wander the desert and receive the Torah.

The evening concluded with a minyan service, then traditional Torah study from 10 until midnight. All in all, it was an incredible experience, and a chance for people to connect to Judaism on several different levels. The event was free to all, thanks in part to donations from various foundations and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Upcoming Events: June 6-12

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, June 6

Walmart Campaign Meeting

Tifereth Israel and JSC: Music and Healing

Tuesday, June 7

National Forum on the Human Right for Housing

Busboys and Poets Organizing Mixer

PJLL: God, An Ongoing Conversation

Wednesday, June 8: Shavuot

Check out DC-area events here!

Thursday, June 9-Sunday, June 26

Washington DCJCC Jewish Music Festival

Friday, June 10

Washington Worker’s Walking Tour

Pride Shabbat

6th in the City Shabbat

Saturday, June 11

DC Scavenge at Sundown

Michael Shermer Reading

Beth El: Shabbat Nitzanim Services

March with GLOE at the Capital Pride Parade

Sunday, June 12

Mitzvah Hoppin: Lucky Dog Animal Rescue

Sixth & I Running Club

Har Shalom Huge Yard Sale

Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation: Hebrew Classes for Adults

Beth Ami: Interactive Expo-Empowering Those Over 50

Gesher Jewish Day School: NOVA Bar and Bat Mitzvah Expo 2011

AVODAH: Top Chef Makes Your Bubby’s Recipes

Art and Remembrance Fundraiser

JNF Honorary Dinner

JCCGW: Hy Wolfe Concert

Emery Shelter Visit June 2011

Jews, Jazz and Booze BBQ

Celebrate Shavuot 5771 in DC!

Graphic courtesy of Phillip Martin Bible Clip Art

Graphic courtesy of Phillip Martin Bible Clip Art

Prepare to get your Torah on! Wednesday is Shavuot, the celebration of when Moses brought Gd’s laws down from Mount Sinai after 50 days of wandering through the dessert. You may recall that Passover celebrates our exodus from Egyptian slavery, and Counting the Omer is symbolic of the Israelites’ journey to the Mount.

Check out some ways to get involved with local Jewish learning in preparation this special holiday.

Tuesday, June 7

The Ten: An Alternate Shavuot Experience
6:45 pm
Birthright Israel and Sixth & I team up to bring you The Ten, featuring a night of alternative ways to connect to the Jewish faith. Hear from Nathan Englander, The New Yorker’s-acclaimed writer, listen to the indie rock sounds of DeLeon, discuss texts ‘til midnight and more!

Tikkun Leil Shavuot
8 pm
Jews United for Justice host their usual Shabbat service, followed by all-night text study. The evening will focus on Torah, food and sustainable communities.