Commemorate MLK Weekend and Tu B’Shevat 5777 in DC!

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel with Martin Luther King, Jr in 1965 / photo courtesy of wikipedia

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel with Martin Luther King, Jr in 1965 / photo courtesy of wikipedia

Happy 2017! As this is my first post of the year, I thought I’d share a few stats from 2016. According to WordPress, JewishDC got 1,901 views and 1,356 visitors, with the largest numbers coming from the US, Brazil, Russia and India. Wow! My most popular post of the year was Black Jews Documentary and More at the Washington, DC Jewish Film Festival.

Thanks so much for your support, everyone, and I look forward to a fruitful new secular year! Let’s get into some holidays and community service.

As we enter the second half of January and the first half of February, one secular and one religious holiday crop up on the horizon. The long weekend set aside for commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. starts Saturday, Jan. 14, and Tu B’Shevat commences on Feb.10. Check out ways to get involved with the local community! Note: some events may be sold out.

Please feel free to add more events in the comments.

MLK Weekend

  • Sixth & I’s Visions of Freedom and Justice. In conjunction with Turner Memorial AME church and featuring their two choirs. Also focusing on the work of Civil Rights activist Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
  • Washington Hebrew Congregation’s MLK Shabbat Dinner. Hosting partner churches and mosques, with special guest Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. Rev. Dr. Barber was the architect of the North Carolina-based Forward Together Moral Movement and was a keynote speaker at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, amongst other things. Followed by Shabbat service.
  • Adas Israel’s Weekend of Tikkun Olam. Featuring a Friday night Return Again Shabbat service, dinner, and a Saturday morning service with guest speakers. On Sunday, a service at the Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ with guest speaker Charles Cobb, former activist, senior analyst at allAfrica.com, and more.
  • Also check out Monday days of service with WHC and the EDCJCC (links courtesy of GatherTheJews.com).

Tu B’Shevat

Chag Sameach!

DC Chanukah Happenings 5777!

Graphic courtesy of Webweavers

Graphic courtesy of Webweavers

The multi-holiday season is upon us; weather is occasionally fluctuating towards the cold, and people are counting the days, if they’re not there already, until they get a little time off from work or school. It’s time to fry those latkes and kindle the Chanukah lights! Local Jewish groups are rolling out the red carpet for this well-known Jewish holiday, which will take place this year from sundown Dec. 24 to sundown Jan. 1. Check these out! Feel free to add more in the comments, and chag sameach.

Hanukkah Happy Hour on the Hill
Annual young adult shindig sponsored by several Jewish organizations. Bring warm clothing for collection boxes headed to DC homeless community, sponsored by the EDCJCC.
Tuesday, Dec. 20, 6 pm, Capitol Lounge and Hawk N’ Dove

Chanukah at the Ellipse
American Friends of Lubavitch starts off the holiday season with this annual ceremony on the White House lawn.
Sunday, Dec. 25, 4 pm, the Ellipse

Community Chanukah Lighting
Family friendly inclusion & disabilities programming event, featuring lighting the menorah, eating Chanukah foods, spinning the dreidel, and more!
Wednesday, Dec. 28, 6:30 pm, EDCJCC

Hanukkah’s Extra Flame
Adas Israel, the EDJCC and other organizations team up with Sephardic Heritage in DC to provide a holiday concert, featuring internationally recognized Syrian opera singer, Lubana Al Quantar. The event will also center around relief efforts.
Wednesday, Dec. 28, 7 pm, Adas Israel

Adas Israel Hanukkah Events
Featuring info about observance, themed community events and more.

Check out more events for young professionals provided by Gather The Jews here!

DC High Holiday Tickets for 5777 and some closer events!

Yemenite style shofar / photo courtesy of Olve Utne and wikipedia

High Holidays are late this year (October 2-4 for Rosh Hashanah and 11-12 for Yom Kippur) but it’s never too early to square things away with getting your tickets. J-Connect has in depth detail concerning fees, schedules and more for DC and area MD and VA synagogues. Gather The Jews focuses more specifically on young adults, and has links to services and other activities to help this cohort connect.

But the Hebrew calendar this year leaves us with strange gaps in late summer and early fall! The newly minted Edlavitch Jewish Community Center won’t host its annual end-of-year book sale until September 14! 😦 But Zemer Chai has already opened its auditions for the next season! 😀 They’re particularly looking for male singers, fyi.

And the Israeli-American Conference is coming to the Marriot Marquis in Washington September 24-26. Several famous guests, from politicians to journalists, activists and artists, have been confirmed to speak. You can register to attend by clicking here.

The long, humid days of August will recede soon enough, and I’ll be back to highlight some local high holiday classes. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Commemorate MLK Weekend and Tu B’Shevat 5776 in DC!

Traditional Tu B’Shevat bounty / photo courtesy of wikipedia

Happy 2016! As we enter the second half of January, one secular and one religious holiday crop up on the horizon. The long weekend set aside for commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. starts tomorrow, Jan. 16, and Tu B’Shevat commences on Jan. 24. Check out ways to get involved with the local community! Note: some events may be sold out.

Please feel free to add more events in the comments.

MLK Weekend

  • Sixth & I’s MLK Shabbat: Visions of Freedom and Justice. In conjunction with Turner Memorial AME church and featuring their two choirs.
  • Washington Hebrew Congregation’s MLK Shabbat Dinner. Hosting partner churches and mosques, with special guest William Jelani Cobb. Professor Cobb is director of the University of Connecticut’s Africana Studies Institute, amongst other things. Followed by Shabbat service.
  • Adas Israel’s Weekend of Tikkun Olam. This weekend of learning features a such guests as Imam Talib M. Shareef of Masjid Muhammad, the Nation’s Mosque; and Jared Jackson of Jews in All Hues. (I attended one of their programs a few years ago and wrote about it here.) Also a joint service at the Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ, and more!
  • Gather the Jews compiled a list of links to sign up for various days of service this Monday.

Tu B’Shevat

Chag sameach!

Jews Ring in 5776 Amidst DC Excitement!

Traditional high holidays regalia / photo courtesy of middlebury.edu

Shana tova and g’mar chatima tova! These last few days might go down in local history as the first visit by Pope Francis, but the 10th of Tishrei is always the holiest day of the year for us Jews. 😛 Hope you had a meaningful fast, and a good Rosh Hashanah as well.

Here are some of my highlights:

  • I went to Adas Israel as usual, and got to see new clergy member, Rabbi Aaron Alexander, in action. He gave a moving sermon on Rosh Hashanah about ways, concerning Gd and humanity, that we can stop “being serious about taking ourselves seriously” and actually take ourselves seriously.
  • The “Return Again” Kol Nidre service, which attracts thousands of people to pray on the steps of the synagogue, wasn’t rained out or prey to technical difficulties! 😛 We also sang “Adon Olam” to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.”
  • Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke with Judge David Tatel for the Yom Kippur afternoon discussion. I really appreciated her measured, researched answers to the questions he posed; she didn’t seem like she just liked to hear herself talk, and she had a sense of humor, too. Kind of hearkens back to the first point. 😛

Next week, the autumn Jewish holidays-palooza continues on with Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Check out the GatherTheJews calendar for some events!

The DCJCC Jewish Literary Festival is scheduled this year for October 18-28. It features famous worldwide Jewish writers such as Etgar Keret, Alan Dershowitz and Shalom Auslander, to a local writers fair. Personally, I have my eye on two panels–Eastern Europeans and women writing in the 21st century. Hope to see you there!

DC Chanukah Happenings 5775!

Courtesy of mybergen.com

The winter season is upon us- the weather is occasionally colder and icier, and people begin to count the days until they get a little time off from work or school. Why not warm yourself by the kindling Chanukah lights? Local Jewish groups are getting ready to roll out the red carpet for this well-known religious holiday, which will take place this year from sundown Dec. 16 to sundown Dec. 24.
Check these out!

DCJCC Chanukah Party
Drop by the DCJCC for family fun, including a moon bounce, games, crafts and more!
Sunday, December 14, 10 am, $10-$15

Chanukah at the Ellipse
American Friends of Lubavitch starts off the holiday season with this annual ceremony on the White House lawn
Tuesday, December 16, 4 pm, tickets required

Hanukkah Happy Hour on the Hill
Annual young adult shindig sponsored by several Jewish organizations, this year at both Capitol Lounge, and Hawk and Dove. Collection boxes at both sites for donations to local charity.
Tuesday, December 16, 6 pm, free

Festival of the Daughters
Sixth & I brings Rabbi Sarah Tasman to Not Your Bubbe’s Sisterhood to talk about the Book of Judith and the North African tradition, Chag HaBanot, for honoring her, and Jewish women everywhere.
Wednesday, December 17, 7 pm, $10-$12

Chanu-Comedy: A Festival of Laughs
Stop by Sixth & I for an amusing show featuring Rachel Bloom and Danny Jolles.
Saturday, December 20, 8 pm, $20-$23

A new year for JewishDC in 5775!

Traditional Rosh Hashannah items /photo courtesy of wikimedia

Shana Tova! Hope everyone had a festive, fun Rosh Hashanah in the district and elsewhere, followed by a reflective days of awe this week. I spent the holidays, as usual, at Adas Israel, and will be back for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur. Among the various services for children and adults, they are also hosting an afternoon lecture with Ambassador Martin Indyk.

The year kicks off in style after that. Check out the Gather the Jews calendar for some local Sukkot events in early October. And shortly after that, from October 19-29, is the DCJCC Jewish Book Festival! Featuring a variety of writers from Pulitzer Prize winners to graphic artists; ranging from a multimedia concert to a local author meet-and-greet, these ten days should be packed with awesomeness. Personally, I’m zeroing in on Matthew Klickstein’s Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age, which basically sounds like an oral history of my childhood. 😛

Happy autumn, and here’s to a sweet new year!