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Hesed Committee

Adas Israel invites anyone interested in creating a caring community to become involved in the many activities of the Hesed Committee.  The committee focuses on Acts of Loving Kindness to help meet life challenges among our members.  Hesed is a vital part of building community at Adas.  One day you might be helping someone in our community.  The next day you might need help yourself and the community is there for you.  Hesed provides both the joy of giving and receiving. If you have any questions please contact Hesed Committee Chairperson, Rae Grad (

Hesed Mission

Olam Hesed Yibaneh – Adas Israel Hesed Committee Mission Statement

The Hesed Committee at Adas Israel is committed to fostering a caring, compassionate, and support giving community.  Our sacred obligation is to help identify, understand, reach out to, and lovingly support community members in moments of joy, pain, and/or grief.

In this way, we’ll not only pursue fulfilling the immediate supportive needs of Adas members, but also simultaneously build a sustainable community-web of loving kindness that touches all centers and corners of the community.  

Acts of Loving Kindness

Building on our vision of creating a caring community at Adas Israel, the Hesed Committee is a collaborative effort of our clergy, staff and volunteers to reach out to Adas members who are alone, convalescing and/or infirm or newly arrived.   Our goal is to ensure that all members of our community have an opportunity to have regular, friendly and personal contact with fellow congregants.  The resulting relationships enrich the entire community.

Hesed Learning

Hesed Committee volunteers will meet periodically with Rabbi Holtzblatt and others on our clergy team to learn more about the mitzvah of gemilut hasadim (giving of loving kindness), and Torah lessons to underscore the importance of this work.  The Torah has a lot to say about this topic.  At these learning sessions, volunteers can discuss their experiences connecting with other congregants and to create fellowship among themselves.   From time to time, guest speakers are invited to address the group on different topics. 

Hesed Teams

– Guided by our clergy team, our Hesed volunteers have many ways to become involved in Hesed activities. There is something for everyone. You can help as little or as much as your schedule allows. There is an activity for YOU. Sign up now!

If you share your bread with the hungry, And relieve the afflicted soul – Then shall your light rise in the darkness Ad you shall raise up the foundations of many generations. Isaiah, 58:7.


Hesed in The News!

Delicious Acts of Kindness Build Community
by Susan Barocas
Jewish Food Experience

upcoming HESED events

Conversations About End Of Life Issues

Session 1: Sunday, February 3, 10 AM to noon Register Here
Session 2: Sunday, March 24, 10:00 AM to noon Register Here

Session 3: Sunday, May 19, 10:00 AM to noon Register Here

Conversations About End Of Life Issues: Join members of the Hesed and Bereavement Committees, facilitators and special guests for a series of three intergenerational conversations about end of life issues.

February 3: “Let’s Have Brunch and Talk About Death.” Rabbi Sarah Krinsky will facilitate the Adas version of the successful “Death over Dinner” experience. The session will be an uplifting interactive adventure that transforms this seemingly difficult conversation into one of deep engagement, insight and empowerment. We will gather over text, conversation, and food to delve into Jewish ideas about end of life. We will explore and experience the belief that talking about death prepares us to approach life's most challenging moments, and also helps us articulate and affirm who we are and what we ultimately care about, giving us a great appreciation for life. There is no charge for this session.

March 24: This session will focus on the emotional and spiritual aspects at the end of life and will be led by Wendt Center staff and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt.

May 19: This final session will address your questions about advanced directives, funeral protocols, and other practical death and dying issues. Rabbi Holtzblatt along with experienced practitioners will be our resources and guides.

More detailed explanations about these sessions are forthcoming. You can sign up for all 3 Conversations About End Of Life sessions or for each individual one. No charge. For more information, contact Jamie Butler at Please register below for our first session.


Lev B’Lev Letter-Writing Team joins Interfaith Action for Human Rights (IAHR): Pen Pal Program for Prisoners

In addition to writing letters of solidarity to those who have experienced hate crimes, the Lev B’Lev Letter Writing Team has joined with IAHR, an interfaith organization representing people of different faiths in the Washington, DC, region to write letters to DC residents who are incarcerated in the Bureau of Prisons. IAHR Executive Director Rabbi Charles Feinberg’s new effort addresses the isolation that incarcerated DC residents experience in prisons located far away from home. More than 4,600 DC residents are sent to 122 Bureau of Prisons facilities around the country, making it particularly difficult for them to maintain supportive relationships and reintegrate into their communities upon their release. IAHR’S Pen Pal Program asks volunteers to correspond with one imprisoned DC resident at least once a month for one year. For more information about this rewarding and enlightening experience or to join us, contact Ruth Kleinrock.

HESED teams

To sign up or receive more information, please contact

Hesed Visits Team

The Hesed Visit Team enhances the lives of elderly, homebound or ill members of the Adas community by creating a stronger connection to the community through regular visits.  This simple expression of caring through conversation benefit both those who visit and those who are visited.  The visits can be a one-time activity or on-going depending upon the what is needed. 
Hesed Visit Team Co-Chairs: Betsy Strauss and Ari Strauss. 

Hesed Meals Team

The Hesed Meals Team provides meals to members who may be recuperating from surgery or a short-term illness.  Meals are coordinated through the Meal Train website which outlines meal delivery times and food preferences. Volunteers who prefer not to cook the food but still want to provide a meal can do so by purchasing a catered meal that can be delivered to the member. 
Hesed Meals Team Co-Chairs: Janet Scribner and Edna Povich, and Mary Hammer (Baby Meal Train Coordinator).

Hesed Phone Team

Got a phone and have a few minutes to spare? Want to make a big difference in helping build and sustain community? With a few minutes and your phone, you can make someone alone feel connected.  Here's how…join the Adas Israel Phone Team and help make a weekly erev Shabbat telephone call to a homebound member to let them know, they are remembered.  Individuals who are called are extremely grateful to be contacted. 
Phone Team Co-Team Leaders: Harriet Isack & Laura Ginns.


Hesed Baskets Team

The Hesed Baskets team provides Adas members with a caring and welcoming surprise basket for special life moments.   Join us in delivering gift bags of goodies to families celebrating the birth of new babies and to welcome those who have recently become members of our community. We hope to expand our reach in the future to other types of recipients.  Please share your creativity and generosity with us by joining our team. 
Hesed Basket Team Co-Chairs: Michael Fingerhut, Sharon Polansky, and Laura Ginn.


Bereavement/ Sisterhood Team

Adas Israel mourns the loss of our loved ones…
We encourage our members to consider using the help of our Bereavement Committee for funeral arrangements.
Click Here to Learn More about Bereavement and the comfort you can find in this sacred community. 

When death occurs, please call the synagogue at 202-362-4433, so that we may inform the clergy and assist you.
Bereavement/ Sisterhood Co-Chairs: Pamela Sislen and Anat Bar-Cohen.


Hesed Committee Cooking Team

Join fellow Adas members for a fun evening of baking challah and sweet treats. The food we make will be stored in our community freezer to give to members in need, such as those who are ill or recovering from an accident or surgery, to shivah homes and to people juggling demands of a new baby. 



Lev B'Lev

Lev B'Lev (LBL, English: Heart to Heart) is a Hesed and Social Action initiative that involves the congregation in extending constructive compassion to people of all faiths targeted with hate and in creating cohesion within the Washington, DC interfaith community on approaches to eradicating hate and replacing it with love and kindness. LBL launches at a time in our country when hate and the response to it is dominating the news. To get involved with our Speaker Series, letter writing, interfaith initiatives and more, please contact Bruce Chaendoff, LBL Chair.

Hesed L’Dor V’Dor Project

The Hesed L’Dor V’Dor Project will connect Adas members of all ages in ways that promote and strengthen our community.
Co-team leaders: Debby Joseph and Janice Mostow

Link with Social Action Council

On occasion, as with a prior Bone Marrow Drive, the Hesed Committee and the Social Action Council will work together on a project.   The Adas Social Action Council is involved in a variety of interesting and important community service and social justice activities.  You can find more information about SAC here.

Wed, January 23 2019 17 Shevat 5779