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Hesed Committee

Hesed: Caring For Our Community

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 in the News!

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

Upcoming Hesed Events



Start the New Year with recipes from our Hesed Cookbook!
Click Here to Download the Cookbook

Start your new year deliciously with ten favorite recipes plus an easy, one-rise challah from the Hesed Cooking Team at Adas Israel Congregation.

These recipes include classic Jewish favorites like honey cake and mushroom barley soup along with year-round, go-to dishes. Over the past six years, more than 300 volunteers have lived acts of hesed (loving kindness) by coming together to cook and fill the synagogue’s freezers with savory and sweet dishes. The frozen food is always available to anyone to take for people who are sick, recovering from illness or surgery, welcoming a new baby, in mourning or for any other situation where good, nutritious food will help. In addition, adapting to the pandemic provided an opportunity to expand our in-person program to volunteers cooking at home and delivering the frozen food to the synagogue for distribution to several community organizations feeding the formerly homeless, new immigrants and other people in need. Some recipes, like the baked ziti, have been modified slightly here from the narrower Hesed guidelines to provide more variety and ease for cooking at home. We hope you enjoy making and eating these dishes as much as all of us Hesed cooks have! ~ Susan Barocas, Chair, Hesed Cooking Team




Hesed Cooks For the Month of June

Cook @ Adas
Wednesday, June 21, 2023 @ 6:30pm
Register to cook @ Adas here!

Cook @ Home For Our Partners 
Drop-off Sunday, June 25 between 9am - 10:30am

Register to cook @ home here!

Recipes and Cooking Information

Our cooking program has grown significantly over the past year. Each month our Hesed cooks provide food for our social action partner organizations. People depend on our food, and we are so happy to provide it! If you're not able to drop your food off on Sunday, June 25, you can drop your frozen food off during the week between 9am - 5pm (3pm on Fridays) before Friday, June 23.  


Hesed in the Time of Pandemic - Summer Ideas

Click Here to View a List of Ideas on How To Do Hesed

Dear Friends – someone asked since we cannot gather in person and we need to continue to keep social distancing, how can we do Hesed, especially during the hot summer months? Rest assured, Hesed never sleeps! There are many creative activities you and your family can do to continue our mission of creating a loving, connected community – even when we can’t be physically together.

The Adas Israel Hesed Committee brings you this list of creative ideas of how you can ‘do Hesed’ over the summer. It’s really easy. You think of someone you want to share some love and connection with and then do something. Here are some ideas of what you can do. If you think of other ideas, please let us know. We want the list to grow. And please share your Hesed stories with us so we can send out an inspirational summary. 


Hesed Grief Counseling Workshops 

More Dates Coming Soon

You are invited to participate in the new series of Hesed Grief Counseling Workshops starting in February. Whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one, or perhaps an unexpected life event, or just feeling like you would like to talk about challenges you are facing, please join us for these sessions. You can join one or both sessions. There is no cost.


Hesed Cooking Event

If you would like to cook with kavanah (the Hebrew word for direction/intention/purpose), please join us! Keep in mind that these events fill up quickly. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please email

Because of the planning and food purchase involved, we ask that you sign up only if you are as sure as possible that you can participate. It is also helpful when you let us know in advance if you signed up, but are unable to attend because of unforeseen circumstances. Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older.


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

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. To sign up or receive more information, please contact

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

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 Chair: Betsy 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, Mary Hammer and Andrew Ackerman.

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 Leader: Oz Papa.

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 and Gilbert Holland.


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. Hesed Cooking Chair: Susan Barocas.


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 Charendoff, 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.
Team leader: Laura Ginns

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.

Tue, June 6 2023 17 Sivan 5783