Israel Highlights

Join the Greater Washington Jewish community as we celebrate
Israel’s 69th year of independence!
Our community has many great Israel-events throughout the month.  Please scroll down to view the list. On May 21, we will celebrate at 2 community-wide festivals. More information to the right.

Federation’s Congregational Shlichim Program

Expanding on our community’s successful Israeli emissary program through a program of The Jewish Agency for Israel, nine additional shlichim (emissaries) join local synagogues and schools, partnering with the congregants and students to develop social issue-focused projects designed to enhance our community’s connection to Israel and Israelis.

These 9 cultural ambassadors share their lives in Israel, what motivates their mission to educate around the world and how they inspire others. To learn more about cultural and social change issues in Israel, visit Federation’s Imagine Israel blog.

Ella Tesler, shlicha for Shaare Torah Congregation has shared her list of what makes Israel special to her. Many of the items on the list are positive atributes of our unique homeland, but some are problems that continue to afflict the young state. The fact that we recognize and acknowledge these problems as well as our blessings makes Isael so special.

70 reasons why I think Israel is so special

By Ella Tesler

1. Because it is the only democracy in the world surrounded by so many undemocratic countries
2. Because there is no country in the world with so much self-criticism. Sometimes good criticism and sometimes not so good
3. Because of the difficult situation of war, the most moral army in the world was born, that turned me and many other Israelis into better people
4. Because at the age of 22 I was the commander of a company of 140 soldiers

5. Because these soldiers were youth at risk, the state gives them another chance to be part of the country's system
6. Because my grandmother, like many other survivors, immigrated to Israel after the Holocaust and there she built her home
7. Because my other grandmother was born in Israel and for her, for my mother and for me it is our homeland
8. Because of the kibbutz where I live. A fascinating form of settlement that is unique only to Israel
9. Because so much is shared (even personal space)
10. Because everyone calls everyone “ACHI” (my brother) because everyone is actually one family
11. Because everyone complains but Israel is still one of the countries where people say they're the happiest in the world.
12. Because no other country would have survived the criticism the State of Israel has experienced on a daily basis.
13. Because the Jewish religion and Jewish culture are mixed together and sometimes it's hard, but it sparks important discussions.
14. Because of the TV series “Fauda” (Watch it and you will never regret it)
15. Because we are the startup nation
16. Because we gave the world Waze, Mobileye and the sweetest cherry tomatoes
17. Because on Yom Kippur those who do not to go to synagogue ride their bicycles in all the streets, even the highways. It's a spectacular sight, almost like a synagogue. Almost
18. Because there are so many cultures from so many countries and when we're not afraid, we learn from it
19. Because you can eat kosher for Passover “bread" and it is delicious
20. Because there are really pretty girls and really cute guys
21. Because it is a welfare state. And sometimes it annoys us, and sometimes it does not work as well as it should but the state tries to care for everyone
22. Because a Jewish / Muslim / Christian religious person, as well as a Jewish / Muslim / Christian secular person can live with freedom of religion and believe what he believes
23. Because when there is a terrorist attack, the Israeli instinct is to run toward the danger, not away from it
24. Because in 24 years Israel gave me everything I need and more
25. Because Shabbat in Israel
26. Because Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
27. Because the Negev and the Galil
28. Because of the excellent beaches
29. Because of the Dead Sea and the Kinneret
30. Because I could cross Israel on foot in two and a half months on the Israel National Trail. I do not know how many people in the world crossed their country on foot
31. Because in one day you can see snow and desert in the same country
32. Because of the food!!!
33. Because of the Israeli breakfast
34. Because of the sushi and shawarma
35. Because of the Israeli chocolate and the Krembo
36. Because Israel is a country with 60% desert and almost no fresh water, yet it develops the Negev and desalinates water in the largest quantities in the world
37. Because of Jewish and Israeli history. More than once we were not supposed to be here
38. Because of the weather. Many complain but now when I'm in the United States I realize that it could be worse…
39. Because of the excellent sense of humor
40. And because we laugh at everything. There is no taboo.
41. Because Israel is in a very complex political situation in which it must decide on questions of human life and human dignity and all solutions would have a painful cost
42. Because in times of war there is no difference between each other and we all unite
43. Because when there is no war we need to be better…
44. Because Israelis are not rude, they are direct
45. Because of the music
46. Because of Arik Einstein and Idan Raichel
47. Because of Yehudit Ravitz and Omer Adam
48. Because of Elai Botner and Eden Ben Zaken
49. Because of Kaveret and Jane Bordeaux
50. Because of the leaders who were and will be
51. Because of David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres
52. Because of Gal Gadot (Wonder woman!)
53. Because there is no constitution (and I have not decided whether it is good or bad)
54. Because so many Israelis are traveling in the world so in some places in India, you think there are more Israelis than Indians
55. Because the fruits and vegetables are affordable and fantastic
56. Because the houses and apartments are expensive (SO expensive)
57. Because Israel is the only country where the number of trees is rising
58. Because Israel cares
59. Because of the flag, because of the Emblem, because of Hatikvah, the anthem.
60. Because the Hebrew language is one of the oldest, most sophisticated and beautiful in the world
61. Because it's hard to explain but sh’kedei marak (soup nuts) is just a wonderful addition to soup
62. Because we made peace with Egypt and Jordan
63. Because we tried so many times to make peace agreements with the Palestinians and even though they rejected any proposal, it is still our responsibility
64. Because I am a Shliha (emissary) in a synagogue in the United States and I learn that it is important for my country to have contact with Jews all over the world
65. Because every day, all day in my role I explain how special Israel is
66. Because there is one minute between the saddest day in Israel - Memorial Day, to the happiest day in Israel - Independence Day
67. Because this is home for all Jew around the world
68. Because this is home for me
69. Because we celebrate this month 69 years of all the above.
70. Because next year is 70 years of so much more.


Upcoming Events
View All Events
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (Young Leadership of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington)
1513 17th St NW, Washington DC 20036
Ever wanted to mix some tasty cocktails? Join Federation’s Young Leadership, 11 Israeli guests from Reverse Mifgash and members of the Greater Washington community for a craft cocktail experience at Duke's Grocery. Learn to make a few classics, and then enjoy them with friends from Israel and D.C.!
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, DC, Culinary, Israel, Social Events
Event Cost:  

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Israel Forever Foundation
10621 S. Glen Road, Potomac MD 20854
On Tuesday, May 23rd, the Greater Washington area will join together to celebrate 50 years of a united Jerusalem with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Israel at Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, MD. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY 16th District) is confirmed to speak at the event. This event is sponsored by Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C., B'nai Tzedek Potomac, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), AJC Washington Regional Office, American Zionist Movem...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Seniors, Maryland, Arts & Culture, Community-Wide/Festivals, History/Education, Israel
Event Cost:  

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (Young Leadership of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington)
1500 S Capitol St SE, Washington DC 20003
Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for a day at the ballpark! This night is sure to be a homerun as we cheer for the Washington Nationals as they take on the Seattle Mariners.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, DC, Israel, Social Events
Event Cost:  

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
American Jewish Committee
1150 Falls Road, Potomac MD 20854
Celebrating 25 Years of India-Israel Relations Speakers: Maryland Delegate Aruna Miller | AJC Project Interchange Alumna Minister Gourangalal Das | Embassy of India Minister Yaron Gamburg | Embassy of Israel Moderators: AJC Washington Director Alan Ronkin & Asia Pacific Institute Assistant Director Nissim Reuben
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Interfaith, Maryland, History/Education, Israel
Event Cost:  

7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
New Israel Fund
3100 Military Road, Washington DC 20015
Join us at Temple Sinai in Washington, DC for a special book reading and discussion with Authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. Over the past two years, Chabon, Waldman, and other renowned authors have joined forces with Breaking the Silence to tell the stories of the people on the ground. The result of this partnership is the book Kingdom of Olives and Ash, which includes contributions from leading contemporary writers. Moderated by Ted Koppel and featuring Avner Gvaryahu of Breaking the ...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), DC, Arts & Culture, Israel, Politics
Event Cost:  

9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
B'nai Israel Congregation (B'nai Israel Congregation Adult Education)
6301 Montrose Rd, Rockville MD 20852
Registration: No charge for the first session on March 19. Additional sessions are $12 each or $40 for the entire series. Explore one of the most divisive issues affecting theJewish people today. Participants will explore narratives about Israel and unpack complex visions of peace in the Jewish tradition in order to better understand their own attitudes toward the conflict. Though a shared political platform may not be attainable, this course strives to achieve a shared respect for our differen...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Seniors, Maryland, Conservative, Adult Education, History/Education, Israel
Event Cost:  $25 - $50; $40 for the series or $12 each

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Mid Atlantic Chapter)
1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington DC 20004
Spend the evening, in solidarity, for the brave, young men and women of the IDF. We join together, for our 6th Annual MidAtlantic-Washington Area Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building. After our largest gathering, in our FIDF Regional History - May of 2016 - this year will surely be a sell out. Invitations will be arriving in mailboxes and by email, March 2017. Kosher Dietary Laws Observed
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, DC, Fundraising/Philanthropy, Israel, Social Events
Event Cost:  more than $50; $250

6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Available upon registration, Chevy Chase MD 20815
To RSVP, please visit Space is Limited • Dietary Laws Observed This briefing is open to AIPAC Club members who generously invest a minimum of $1,800 or more towards AIPAC's 2017 Campaign. To become an AIPAC Club member in the Greater Washington Real Estate Division or for other questions, please contact Deborah Adler, Area Director at (443) 690-0473 or at
Listed In:  Israel, Politics
Event Cost:  

7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb Street NW, Washington DC 20016
Washington Hebrew Congregation is proud to host the D.C. premiere of the docudrama, "In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem". Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, "In Our Hands" tells the story of Israel’s 55th Paratrooper Brigade and their role in liberating the Old City of Jerusalem in 1967. With firsthand interviews and historical reenactments, this film focuses on the soldiers who reunified Jerusalem and announced to the world, “The Temple Mount is in our hands.” The even...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Seniors, DC, Arts & Culture, History/Education, Israel
Event Cost:  Free; Free

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Endowment for Middle East Truth
1000 H Street, NW, Washington DC 20001
EMET is the first organization of its kind to celebrate those who bravely speak out in favor of freedom and democracy, and spread the emet (Hebrew for truth) about Israel, the Middle East, and Islamic terrorism at its annual Rays of Light in the Darkness Dinner. These Speakers of Truth speak out in the face of discrimination and violence to share the belief in a strong United States, a self-sufficient Israel, and continued support of our allies in the Middle East. They believe in religious and ...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, DC, Advocacy, Israel
Event Cost:  

7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
AMIT (Amit)
Silver Spring, Silver Spring MD 20902
Dr. Aviad Haramati, Professor of Physiology and Director of the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education at the Georgetown School of Medicine will speak on "Mindfulness As An Antidote To Chronic Stress: Fad or Fact?" at our Annual Family-In-Israel Event. Cost includes a light kosher buffet supper and a Mother-In-Israel pin.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Maryland, Adult Education, Fundraising/Philanthropy, History/Education, Israel, Social Events
Event Cost:  more than $50; $70

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Jewish National Fund
8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax VA 22031
Jewish National Fund Invites You to the Northern Virginia Annual Community Breakfast RSVP by Friday, September 1, 2017 Event Co-chairs: Susan Dilles, Howard Hogan More Information: Stuart Diamant-Cohen, 301.589.8565 x841 Featuring Guest Speaker: Best-selling author, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has written more than 15 books, several of which are about Jewish ethics and literacy, including Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Northern Virginia, Fundraising/Philanthropy, Israel
Event Cost:  Free; Free

6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
7400 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda  MD 20814
This networking event is for the Greater Washington AIPAC Real Estate Division. The primary purpose of AIPAC’s Real Estate Division is to provide a platform to grow the AIPAC Real Estate community, to increase AIPAC’s influence in our nation’s capital, encourage Club investment in AIPAC, engagement in pro-Israel politics and the development of relationships with Members of Congress: achieved through focused educational briefings, business round-table discussions, meetings with members of Congr...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, DC, Maryland, Adult Education, Advocacy, History/Education, Israel, Networking, Politics
Event Cost:  

Oct 22 - Oct 29
Multiple times available
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
6101 Executive Blvd., Rockville MD 20852
This event is intended for participants to attend the entire scheduled time/series.
Join The Jewish Federation for a one-of-a-kind, multi-generational journey through Israel. Choose from 4 customized excursions, each with a unique, hands-on and dynamic itinerary. Enhance your experience with one of three optional trip add-ons, including a pre-trip to Berlin, or pre- and post-trip missions to Israel with a first timers or interfaith focus.
This event is intended for par...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Israel, Travel
Event Cost:  

5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Israel American Council - Washington DC
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington DC  DC 20001
Join thousands of community members at the IAC National Conference in Washington DC to experience influential thought leaders, industry experts, senior political figures, diplomatic figures, community leaders, prominent journalists and more. This inspiring three-day journey will explore Israeli-American and Jewish identity, unite the Israeli-American and Jewish communities, and understand how we can effectively strengthen Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People. The IAC National Conference...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, DC, Advocacy, Arts & Culture, Community-Wide/Festivals, Fair/Expo, Israel, Networking, Politics
Event Cost:  more than $50; $310 until April 26