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
 
Mon
Oct
  23
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
19800 Belmont Chase Drive , Ashburn VA 20147
Join us at the Whole Foods in Ashburn for a morning of braiding challah and PJ Library stories themed on the holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. RSVP with Jennifer.DeAngelis@jccnv.org.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Tue
Oct
  24
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
 
Bender JCC of Greater Washington (Bender Early Childhood Center)
6125 Montrose Road, Rockville MD 20852
Join our Director Ora Cohen Rosenfeld to learn more about the Bender JCC’s newly renovated Sondra and Howard Bender Early Childhood Center. We invite you to visit the school, hear about our curriculum, tour the classrooms and the JCC. RSVP to: preschool@benderjccgw.org
Listed In:  Boomers, Families, Maryland, Children/Teens/Family, Fair/Expo, History/Education, Parenting
Event Cost:  Free; free

 
 
Tue
Oct
  24
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
 
JSSA (JSSA Specialized Employment)
6400 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda MD 20814
Transition Information for Parents & Students The meeting will include presentations from: • The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) • The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) • A Parent of a young adult in traditional services with DDA JSSA will be there to answer questions about their programs.
Listed In:  College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Special Needs, Maryland, Career/Employment, Counseling/Support, Networking
Event Cost:  

 
 
Wed
Oct
  25
9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
 
Congregation B'nai Tzedek (Congregation B'nai Tzedek Laura & Joel Greenzaid Early Childhood Center)
10621 South Glen Rd. , Potomac MD 20854
Congregation B'nai Tzedek's Laura & Joel Greenzaid Early Childhood Center (GECC) Baby Play Group. Wednesdays, 9:30 am - 11:00 am, beginning September 13. FREE! A fun, clean environment for babies with their loving adults to play in and hang out. Make new friends in our special baby classroom. For toddlers, explore age appropriate toys, informal play time for children and caregivers, meet current GECC families and get to know our amazing community. Please register at GECCDirector@bnaitzedek....
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Families, Interfaith, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Fri
Oct
  27
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
 
Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County
8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda MD 20814
Babies (0-2 years) and caregivers are welcome to our new Tam Shel Shabbat ( a Taste of Shabbat) for singing and dancing with Shabbat flavor led by Kim Lausin, director of Beth El Preschool. Fridays at 9:30am, starting on October 20 and following the Beth El Preschool schedule. Event is Free. Membership is not required and RSVPs are not necessary. For more information contact Geryl Baer, gbaer@bethelmc.org
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Families, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Sat
Oct
  28
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Join Agudas Achim Young Families for a volunteer led service for kids ages 0-5, accompanied by an adult. Congregational kiddush to follow.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Oct
  28
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington VA 22201
Join us at the new weekend Book Buddies at the Clarendon Barnes and Noble! We will hear PJ Library stories for the holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah and we will also do crafts based on these holidays. Meet in the children's area at the stage. RSVP to Rebecca.Greene@jccnv.org.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Oct
  29
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
 
Bender JCC of Greater Washington (Bender JCC: Weinberg Health & Fitness Center)
6125 Montrose Road, Rockville MD 20852
Join us for our Health & Fitness Open House in the Atrium! Meet the wonderful staff who make it all possible: the ones who help keep you (and your H&F Center) in tip-top shape! They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Light refreshments will be provided.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Seniors, Maryland, Fitness & Wellness
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Oct
  29
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
2700 Wilson Blvd., Clarendon VA 22201
Join us for our monthly Challah Tots at the Clarendon Whole Foods. Braid challah and do crafts for the holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. RSVP with Rebecca.Greene@jccnv.org.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Mon
Oct
  30
8:30 PM - 10:30 PM
 
2700 F Street, NW , Washington DC 20566
Now in its 23rd year, ADL In Concert Against Hate honors heroes in the battle against intolerance, injustice and extremism. These extraordinary people have acted with exceptional strength, courage and compassion when confronted by the forces of hate. Please join us for an inspirational evening honoring them and celebrating the values we all share.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Families, Seniors, DC, Advocacy, Arts & Culture
Event Cost:  $10 - $24; from $18 to $100

 
 
Wed
Nov
  1
9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
 
Congregation B'nai Tzedek (Congregation B'nai Tzedek Laura & Joel Greenzaid Early Childhood Center)
10621 South Glen Rd. , Potomac MD 20854
Congregation B'nai Tzedek's Laura & Joel Greenzaid Early Childhood Center (GECC) Baby Play Group. Wednesdays, 9:30 am - 11:00 am, beginning September 13. FREE! A fun, clean environment for babies with their loving adults to play in and hang out. Make new friends in our special baby classroom. For toddlers, explore age appropriate toys, informal play time for children and caregivers, meet current GECC families and get to know our amazing community. Please register at GECCDirector@bnaitzedek....
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Families, Interfaith, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  Free; Free

 
 
Thu
Nov
  2
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCC of Northern Virginia-Community Engagement Department)
4000 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly VA 20151
Join us at the Chantilly Regional Library for Book Buddies! We will hear PJ Library stories and make crafts themed on an upcoming holiday or Jewish value. RSVP to Jennifer.DeAngelis@jccnv.org.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored, Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Thu
Nov
  2
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 
Jewish Foundation for Group Homes
10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda MD 20852
JFGH 34th Annual Gala featuring Emmy Award Winner Rachel Platten! Dietary laws observed.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, College (Late Teens/Early 20s), Couples, Families, GLBT, Interfaith, Seniors, Singles, Special Needs, Women & Girls, Teens, DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, Advocacy, Social Events
Event Cost:  

 
 
Nov 2 - Nov 5
Multiple times available
 
Bender JCC of Greater Washington
6125 Montrose Rd., Rockville MD 20852
The new Lessans Family Literary Series kicks off with an exciting Literary Festival to be held November 2 – 5, and will be followed by monthly author programs throughout the year. Planning is well underway for our exciting, revamped literary series and we are busy assembling an outstanding line up of speakers and programs. The Literary Festival includes events with best-selling authors, Jennifer Weiner and Abigail Pogrebin, as well as the return of the hilarious Story District! Tickets go on s...
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Families, Interfaith, Seniors, Maryland, Arts & Culture
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Nov
  3
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
 
Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County
8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda MD 20814
Babies (0-2 years) and caregivers are welcome to our new Tam Shel Shabbat ( a Taste of Shabbat) for singing and dancing with Shabbat flavor led by Kim Lausin, director of Beth El Preschool. Fridays at 9:30am, starting on October 20 and following the Beth El Preschool schedule. Event is Free. Membership is not required and RSVPs are not necessary. For more information contact Geryl Baer, gbaer@bethelmc.org
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Families, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  Free; Free