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Summer Speaker Series 2023

Saturday mornings, July 1 through August 12

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. All presentations take place during Shabbat services, at approximately 10:45 AM. 

July 1
Fundamental Forces of the Universe with Dr. Fredric Messing
The quest to understand the fundamental forces of the universe spanned four centuries involving a surprising cast of characters and a series of serendipitous coincidences and brilliant insights.

Dr. Fredric Messing is a former Associate Professor of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Messing serves as a congregational gabbai, reads Torah, leads services, and has pursued extensive independent study in Jewish text.

July 8 
American Jewry: Past, Present, and Future with Rabbi Herbert Rosenblum

Examining Jonathan Sarna's two recent authoritative analyses of current trends in American Jewish history, Rabbi Rosenblum will share his reflections on the history of American Jewry, where we are today, and what we might anticipate for the future. 

Herbert Rosenblum is a native of NYC, where he received his early Jewish and general education. He received a PhD in American Jewish history at Brandeis University in 1970, was ordained a Rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1954, and received his undergraduate BA at Yeshiva University in 1950. Over the years he has served congregations and communal organizations in NY, MA, and PA. Rabbi Rosenblum served for many years as Associate Dean and Professor of Jewish history at the Boston Hebrew College. During sabbaticals he was a visiting professor at Tel Aviv University, NYU, and Clark University, teaching courses on Jewish history, Zionism, antisemitism, American Jewish history and aspects of the Holocaust. He has published articles and books on these central subjects of modern Jewish history. Rabbi Rosenblum has served as a chaplain in the US Army and in a veterans' hospital. He has been active in communal and civic activities in areas relating to interfaith programs, adult education, Israel-oriented projects, and governmental liaisons. His beloved wife Sheila passed away last year after 67 years of a wonderful marriage. He now lives in a retirement residence in Rockville, MD, and enjoys periodic visits with their 5 grandchildren in Boston and Silver Spring.

July 15
V’Kol Nativoteicha: Reflections on my Year in Israel with Hana Feig

This past year, I attended the Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel: a gap year program organized by the Conservative movement. Throughout my nine months in Israel, which included taking a semester of classes at Hebrew University and volunteering as an English tutor at an elementary school in Nir Etsyon, I learned things about Israel, Judaism, and myself that I never expected while planning my gap year experience. 

A member of B’nai Israel Congregation for over a decade, Hana graduated from Sandy Spring Friends School in 2022. Using her experience as the music madricha in the B’nai Israel Lessans Talmud Torah, she is currently serving as Song Leader for Ramah Day Camp Greater DC before beginning her studies at Muhlenberg College this fall.

July 22
How A Brass Plaque Kindles Healing with Rabbi Michael Meyerstein

Just weeks ago, Rabbi Michael Meyerstein, father of B’nai Israel member Avi Meyerstein, returned from a transformational journey to Leipzig. It was there that he re-examined conflicting emotions about Germany and Germans, learned a surprising new version of his family’s history, and dared himself to engage “the Other.”  See you there to hear about this powerful experience.
Rabbi Meyerstein retired from two fulfilling careers. The first as pulpit rabbi in TX, PA, and MD. The second in non-profit management and fundraising. He has travelled widely, including countless trips to Israel. His wife, Israela Meyerstein, is a retired family therapist. They live near 3 married children, and 8 grandchildren, in the D.C. area.

July 29
Moco Mitzvah Moms: Care Packages for Children in Need with Avery Sudow, Julie Rachlin, and Laura Cohen

Moco Mitzvah Moms was founded to provide support to local families who are grappling with caring for a child in need of prolonged medical care. In our first year, we have held an event every month—connecting dozens of Moco moms—while creating more than 500 care packages for two children’s hospitals…and we are just getting started. Founded by Laura Cohen, Julie Rachlin and Avery Sudow (B’nai Israel members) serve on the Founding Board.  

August 5
Antisemitism in School: A Student’s Perspective with Rae Weinstein

It is no secret that antisemitic acts are on the rise across the United States, from social media to schools, and even in places like our very own Montgomery County. Rae Weinstein will discuss her experience of antisemitism in school, and how you can do your part to try to address it. 

Rae Weinstein, a recent Wootton High School graduate, grew up at B’nai Israel. She was the editor-in-chief of Wooton Common Sense, the official news source for Thomas S. Wooton High School. She has reported on antisemitism in her school and advocated for Jewish students. Rae will begin her studies at the University of Florida this fall. 

August 12
Interfaith Works: Helping Neighbors in Need with Sam Taylor

Interfaith Works is a nonprofit that provides emergency shelter, supportive housing, essential needs, and employment programs to over 35,000 residents of Montgomery County, MD, every year. IW was founded in 1972 by local faith communities who saw Montgomery County residents in need and felt collaborative action was the best way to help them. Today, Interfaith Works is not a religious organization, but we maintain our original spirit of striving to provide Montgomery County residents in need with the best possible assistance through our various programs.

Sam Taylor serves as the Faith Partnerships Coordinator for Interfaith Works. He has been in this role since March of 2022. Before that, he worked at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, where his fiancé, Courtney, still works. Sam’s work is focused on creating and sustaining the vital partnerships between Interfaith Works and the abundant faith communities in Montgomery County. Sam and his fiancé attend Congregation Or Chadash in Damascus, MD.

Sun, April 14 2024 6 Nisan 5784