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

Around Town for Purim 5773!

Before we get too far along into Pesach, I wanted to take time off from school, work and a sudden flu to quickly present by annual Purim slideshow. This year’s pictures include from Adas Israel’s “Les Meshugenas” Purim Spiel and DCJCC GLOE’s camp-themed Purim masquerade. For a look at some of the video highlights from “Les Meshugenas,” click here! And click here to learn about GLOE’s actual summer camp experience, as well as other programming.

Also, check out GatherTheJews if you are still looking for local Passover plans this holiday. Chag sameach!

Also available on Facebook; click here to see.

Around Town for Chanukah 5773!

Once again belated…as we prepare for the secular new year, take a look back at some Chanukah celebrations around DC. Pictures include from Adas Israel’s Hanukkah Festival and Installation of Cantor Brown, Sixth & I’s Chanukah Shabbat with Rick Recht and my own lit menorah overlooking downtown Silver Spring. Click to view!

Also available on Facebook; click here to see.

DC High Holidays 5773 Round-Up

YP@AI members enjoy bagels, lox and brownies after a 25-hour fast / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Shanah tova—hope everyone had a sweet beginning to the new year and a meaningful fast! Hard to believe that after ten days of Awe, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are right on the horizon, no?

I myself spent Rosh Hashanah day one and Yom Kippur at Adas Israel. Juggling grad school and work has the tendency to infringe on the rest of my schedule, so I tried to make High Holidays as personally meaningful as possible by taking what I could out of the services. Here are some of my highlights:

What are some of your favorite moments? Sound off! And enjoy the start to a prosperous new year.

Passover in the District 5772

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Passover starts tomorrow night, one of Judaism’s most important holidays, which tells of our exodus from slavery in Egypt to freedom as a united people living under Jewish law.

A week in duration, the highlights are largely family affairs, a seder celebrated at home.

But is that an excuse for “Jewish DC” to shut down for awhile? No way! Enjoy this cropping of public Passover outings. And chag sameach (happy holidays!)

First Two Nights
Join up with a DCJCC Satellite Seder!

Friday, April 6

WHC Seder
6 pm

Zra’eem, Seeds, Service in Germantown
7 pm

Am Kolel Pesach Seder and Open Shabbes
7 pm

Jewish Socials Seder
7 pm

Sixth & I Community Seder
7 pm

Sixth & I Learner’s Seder
7 pm

YP@AI Seder
7 pm

Saturday, April 7

Temple Emanuel Seder
6:30 pm

6:30 pm

Adat Reyim Seder
6:30 pm

Beth El Seder
7 pm

Sunday, April 8

Machar Potluck Seder
4:30 pm

Beth Ami Potluck Seder
7 pm

Tuesday, April 10

Jews and Muslims DC-Sponsored Seder
6 pm

Wednesday, April 11

WHC Freedom Seder
6:30 pm

Celebrate Purim in 5772!

Graphic Courtesy of Crystal Cloud Graphics

Graphic Courtesy of Crystal Cloud Graphics

Purim starts on Wednesday, a festive holiday of rejoicing, yet again, in the fact that we (the Jews) have survived an attempt at persecution. Though not as noticeable to the outside world as, say, Chanukah, it is definitely as fun—allowing people of all ages to dress up, eat special sweets, and wave noisemakers called groggers as the Megillah (book of Esther) is read out enthusiastically.

…but you don’t have to wait until the 14th of Adar to dress up as your favorite Biblical character (or maybe you do :P) Enjoy these local offerings of Purim-related festivities to get you in the mood!

Monday, March 5

Hamentaschen Baking
7:00 pm

Wednesday, March 7

B’nai Tzedek: Purim Young Family Service
5:30 am

Purim Wine and Cheesentaschen
6:00 pm

Tifereth Israel: Purim Service, Skits, Costumes
6:45 pm

AishDC Megillah Reading and Costume Party
6:45 pm

Tikkun Leil Shabbat Purim Celebration
6:45 pm

The Megillah Mash-Up
7:00 pm

Bet Mishpachah: Purim Service and Celebration
7:00 pm

Tikvat Israel Purim Celebration
7:00 pm

Beth El: Megillah Madness
7:30 pm

Kol HaOlam National Collegiate Jewish A Capella Competition Returns to Adas Israel

The 140 contestants from the 10 Jewish a capella groups join together at the end of the concert to sing 'Yerushalayim Shel Zachav" / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Once again the seats of the Charles E. Smith Sanctuary were almost completely filled as somewhere between 900 and 1200 people, according to sources, came to show their support for Kol HaOlam, the National Collegiate Jewish A Capella Competition. Ten groups from across the country showed up this year, including Indiana’s Hooshir, Wisconsin’s Jewop, Bimingham’s Kaskeset, Michigan’s Kol HaKovod, Washington state’s Staam, Queens College’s Tizmoret, University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Kolot, and three local groups—Kol Sasson, Rak Shalom and Mezumenet,all from the University of Maryland College Park.

Mike Baxter, who hosts KolCast and started Six13, reprised his role as master of ceremonies. The judges this year included a capella guru and producer Elie Landau, director of DC’s Makela Deborah Sager, Jewish a capella singer, teacher and producer Jordan Gorfinkel and a capella singer and song arranger Brian Brandler.

There was an increased focus on beatboxing this year, with Jordan Savitsky from Rak Shalom winning an award for his vocal percussion skills. While the judges tallied the scores for the 20 songs performed, Jordan Fontheim from the University of Rochester and Josh Leviton, aka “The Orthobox” from the University of Maryland, improved some impressive beats for the audience. The havdalah ceremony, officiated over by Rabbi Gil Steinlauf of Adas Israel, also featured musical accompaniment by recent DC Jewish a capella group Jew Vox.

Tizmoret and Kol Sasson kept their first and second place medals, respectively, with Jewop gaining audience favorite. But since I captured both other Maryland groups on film last year, I of course had to pay special attention to Rak Shalom. Enjoy this Israeli classic.

With a broad and enthusiastic audience and so many spirited singers, I imagine Kol HaOlam will be a DC Jewish tradition for more years to come!