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Summer Speaker Series

During the summer months, we invite members of our community to speak on Shabbat mornings and address the congregation about the interesting ways that they connect special experiences to their Jewish identities.

Zoom link:

June 27

Sacred Untethering with Rabbi Rami Schwartzer
An exploration into what happens when our norm unravels, or the holiness we might find in doing so ourselves.

Rabbi Rami Schwartzer is a spiritual leader and social entrepreneur, and was the founding director of both Ramah Day Camp of Greater Washington, DC, and the Den Collective. He loves jazz music and long-distance biking, and currently resides in Arlington, VA.

Click here for the recording.

July 4

The Thirteen Attributes of My Gap Year in Israel with Lily Pollack
Nativ is the Conservative movement’s gap year program, based in Jerusalem. The experience provides a unique opportunity for newly minted high school graduates to explore their connection to Judaism through educational, travel, and volunteer activities. Although my year abroad was cut short, I look forward to sharing my cultural and Jewish journey with the community. 

Lily graduated from Richard Montgomery High School in 2019. She has been an engaged member of the B’nai Israel community, assisting with library services, volunteering with children’s activities, and serving as both a madricha and a teacher in Talmud Torah. Lily was active in B’nai Israel’s USY chapter and was the recipient of Seaboard USY’s Claire Sodden Award for outstanding service to the region.

Click here for the recording.

July 11 

A Voice for the Voiceless with Sara Tennen
Sara Tennen will share what inspired her legal career, first as a prosecutor of sex crimes against children and more recently as the Executive Director of the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, a non-profit organization that provides free legal and support services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, and at risk children. With a focus on the power and privilege each of us has within, Sara will encourage us to use our voice for the voiceless among us. 

Sara B. Tennen is the Executive Director for DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, a non-profit organization that provides free legal and support services to victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and to at-risk children. Sara has served as a court appointed guardian ad litem on behalf of numerous children and has represented hundreds of victims in DC Superior Court. She has extensive litigation experience questioning experts, and interviewing children, both inside and outside the courtroom. Sara is a trained mediator and forensic interviewer. She earned a law degree and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Rochester.

Click here for the recording.

July 18 

TikTok Trendy Judaism: Jewish Life is getting social and wait's a good thing! with Marion Haberman
What if the Kardashians were Jewish? What if the people who fascinate and inspire us on social media also happened to have a little lox with their weekly bagel? Imagine an Instagram feed full of Pottery Barn styled Hanukkah decor and toddler lunches shaped like Shabbat candles. A lot of Jewish life online has been a victim of copy/paste—take what we're already doing in synagogues and JCCs and make it virtual. As caretakers and invested parties in the future of Judaism, if we want to truly appeal and interest Jewish people today, then we need to be where they already are, online.

Marion is a writer and content creator for her @MyJewishMommyLife YouTube channel and Instagram page. She shares her experiences as a mother to her preschooler and toddler, focused on living a meaning-FULL Jewish family life. Her first book, Expecting Jewish! A Millennial Mom's Practical Guide to How Judaism Can be a Blessing to New Moms and Moms-to-be is set for release later this year.

Click here for the recording.

August 1

Can a Magazine of Jewish Ideas Replenish the Moral Confidence of American Jewry?  with Jonathan Silver
Even when not facing threats to our physical existence, the Jewish people confront severe challenges to our identity, our staying power, and our very reason for being. Can a magazine of Jewish thought inspire the confidence we need to flourish as a people? In addressing these challenges head-on, and in depth, Mosaic publishes analysis and judgment on issues of politics, society, culture, religion, and the arts. 
Jonathan Silver is the editor of Mosaic, host of the Tikvah Podcast, and senior director at the Tikvah Fund. He previously served as the executive director of the Jewish Leadership Conference. Along with Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, he is the coeditor of Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land, a book of primary sources that demonstrates the influence of Hebraic texts in early American political history.

Click here for the recording.

August 8

Bronfman Fellowship, A Virtual Summer Experience
with Oren Minsk

Oren Minsk is participating in the 2020 Bronfman Fellowship, a program founded by the late Edgar Bronfman in 1987.  Bronfman Fellows typically spend a summer in Israel exploring existential questions and Jewish ideas, with ongoing programing over the course of their high school senior year. This summer the program was moved online where Fellows have explored questions of Jewish identity, pluralism, and other topics in the Jewish community. Oren looks forward sharing his experiences and insight from the past month.

Oren is a senior at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.  He attended Camp Ramah in New England for eight years, is interested in engineering and politics, runs, debates, and is co-editor of the CESJDS student newspaper.

Click here for the recording.

August 22

What it Means for Me to be a Shlicha
with Netta Asner-Minster, Congregational Shlicha

Shlichut literally means “mission.” For many, the term refers to Israeli emissaries who spend a year or two in various communities or on college campuses. Shlichut in and of itself is a challenge: you must adapt to and learn about different communities and cultures. This past year, however, presented unprecedented challenges for us all, which compelled us to quickly adapt to new circumstances and find ways of being together while physically apart. In honor of the beginning of our shlicha's second year, Netta Asner-Minster will share her personal experiences of this past year, including the challenges and the successes in adapting to the circumstances by creating new and unique online opportunities.

Netta Asner-Minster is beginning her second year as our shlicha (Israeli Emissary). Netta was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and moved to Israel in 2004. She completed her BA prior to her Shlichut from Hebrew University in International Relations and Jewish History and Contemporary Judaism. Netta's passion is to engage with Israeli and American Jews, strengthening the ties between the communities, and has worked with various organizations such as Onward Israel, the Israeli Parliament, and of course the Jewish Agency to further promote this goal. She recently got married to John in December 2019.

Click here for the recording.

Fri, September 25 2020 7 Tishrei 5781