Shabbat Dinner with Rabbi Steinlauf

The front of Adas Israel Synagogue on Friday evening before Shabbat.  / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

The front of Adas Israel Synagogue on Friday evening before Shabbat. / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

It’s not every day that a synagogue gets a new senior rabbi, so when Adas Israel chose former New Jersyian, Gil Steinlauf, for the post, they decided to welcome him in style. Seriously, Friday’s event- Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner with the young professionals group- was only the tip of the iceberg; he still has a week of welcome to get through. Quite the working environment if I do say so myself; almost makes me wonder if it’s too late for me to attend rabbinical school. 😉

Like Rabbi Steinlauf, I am also a new member to Adas Israel and when we shook hands this evening, we joked about being in the same boat. But what impressed me most (keep in mind that Adas has easily a thousand or more members, methinks,) is that he remembered me by name, because earlier in the day, he’d left me a message of welcome on my work phone. (:-O) Ok, no questions needed. This guy’s a keeper!

It was standing room only by the end of the Shabbat service in the Miller chapel followed by dinner for 80 downstairs. The scrumptious meal included chicken, its vegetarian counterpart, cucumber salad, green beans, roasted potatoes, rice, and whole wheat challah (first I’ve ever sampled.) We sat at cozy tables of 10, and I got to talking with my neighbor about last week’s trivia contest. All thanks to the hoppin’ life of Jewish D.C.!

After dinner, Rabbi Steinlauf talked a little Torah- he urged us to ponder the meaning of “mitzvot” at our tables followed by a short room discussion. To end the evening, our voices soared as we “bensched” (sang) the grace after meals. All in all, I’m really looking forward to my year as a member.

Rabbi Steinlauf was joined by his family, wife Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, and children Noah and Meirav. And for those of you young professionals interested in joining Adas Israel’s vibrant community- check out the new, reduced “twenty-something” rates! Contact Elie Greenberg at egreenberg@adasisrael.org for more information.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Shabbat Hoppin Picnic

D.C. Birthright Israel alums gather at Rock Creek Park for a Shabbat-themed picnic. / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

D.C. Birthright Israel alums gather at Rock Creek Park for a Shabbat-themed picnic. / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

After a successful season of “hoppin” around to various D.C. synagogues, Shabbat Hoppin, organized by Birthright Israel NEXT, hosted a picnic in the park on Friday to enjoy the D.C. summer atmosphere.

A few dozen young professionals met at Rock Creek Park for food and schmooze. The weather was lovely, not too humid, no overcast skies, the company was great, and I lead the bracha (blessing) over the Shabbat candles!

How nice to relax after a long week at work with fellow Jews. We might not all come to the table with the desire for the religious experience, but most of us brought a dish to share and a friendly, engaging attitude. I know that at my table, we talked a bit about trips abroad to Cuba and Germany and later, an Israeli participant appraised us all with facts about Hamas. The food, needless to say, was delicious- some examples being falafel and hummus, strawberries, pasta, corn, various desserts, and of course, challah. This event was co-sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.

For more information on Shabbat Hoppin, e-mail dc@birthrightisrael.com or join D.C.’s Birthright Israel NEXT Facebook page by clicking here!