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The Israel Engagement Committee

Affirming our Commitment to Israel and the World

The Israel Engagement Committee (IEC) is working to figure out how to best use the resources of the community to help Israel immediately and in the future. 

One thing we are doing is putting together a list of families who are willing to host Israelis who have been unable to return because of the conflict. To help, contact Marty Blank.

The IEC is also arranging for letters from kids in our community to be sent to kids in Israel’s South and Central regions. If you would like to submit a letter or drawing for Israeli schoolchildren, please send them to:

We continue to encourage you to reach out to family and friends in Israel. Let them know you are thinking about them and sending them love.


Donations for the City of Lod, Israel

The Israel Engagement Committee and Adas Israel is partnering with the City of Lod in Israel to provide basic needs for their recovery and relief efforts. We will have dedicated space in the synagogue for people to drop off goods. The goods will be regularly sent to Israel via-charter flights. Bins for collections will be in the coatroom.

Here's what we are collecting thus far:
Flash Lights, Board Games/Puzzles, Pillows, Folding Tables, Personal hygiene products, Kosher (with hechsher) canned goods


Upcoming Events


Morality & Peoplehood In A Time of War

A Conversation with Donniel Hartman and Rabbis Holtzblatt and Alexander, Moderated by Federation CEO, Gil Preuss

Wednesday, December 6 at 7pm, Charles E. Smith Sanctuary
Click Here To Register | Click Here To Livestream

Join Rabbis Holtzblatt and Alexander for a conversation with Donniel Hartman of the Shalom Hartman Institute, moderated by Federation CEO, Gil Preuss, about the critical questions of this moment, the obligations of Jewish peoplehood, and the moral considerations related to fighting a just war. Donniel Hartman’s newest book, Who Are the Jews—And Who Can We Become? will be available for purchase and signing following the program.



Shabbat Hanukkah Festival

With Micah Hendler and Amer Abu Arqub, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus

Friday Night, December 8 at 6:30pm
Click Here To Register and for Full Festival Schedule 

Join us for Festival Shabbat on the evening of December 8 at 6:30pm for a spirited & soulful service, followed by Shabbat/Hannukah dinner. We will be joined by Amer Abu Arqub, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus (founded by Micah Hendler). Amer is a Palestinian lawyer with an MBA focused on international organizational management, and a member of the Jerusalem Model--a network of young social entrepreneurs from East and West Jerusalem working together to address the city’s diverse challenges. Amer will join Micah in talking about their peace-building work, his life in this moment, and their hopes for the future. We'll also open our hearts and sing together with Amer and Micah.



American Red Cross - Advocate For The Release Of The Hostages From Gaza

This Sunday, December 3 at 1:30pm (And Every Sunday Until The Hostages Are Released), Organized by Bring Them Home DC

Dear Friends,

This coming Sunday will mark the 3rd weekend that we gather in front of the Red Cross HQ on 17th NW between D and E to advocate for the release of hostages from Gaza. Please bring photos of the hostages. #BringThemHomeNow

🇺🇸🇮🇱Israeli and US flags are encouraged.
🔔🔔🔔🔔 Please also bring bells or of any size. We will ring them to call attention to our cause.
Place: American Red Cross, 17th St. NW, between D and E



A Group of Adas Members Gauging Interest in a Volunteer Trip to Israel

Trip not affiliated with or organized by Adas Israel or any other institution.

Submit Your Interest Here

From our members: “Many of us are thinking of ways to help Israel during this difficult time. Adas members Mike & Anna Ravvin would like to gauge interest in putting together a group to go to Israel during winter break to volunteer. Once we get a sense of how much interest there is, we plan to organize a Zoom meeting with Israel Maven, an Israeli tour company, to begin discussing details of how this trip would work. Please note that this trip is not affiliated with or organized by Adas Israel or any other institution.”



Book Club with Rabbi Aaron Alexander (Virtual) 

Deepening Our Connection to Israel: Listening to the Voices and Stories of our Land and Our People | Register Here

Thursday at 12pm -  December 7, February 22, 2024 and April 11
First Book Discussion, December 7: Israel, A History by Anita Shapira

Picking up on the first two years of this book club, we’ll continue our deep, engaging, and respectful conversations. We’ll meet on three occasions (virtually) to discuss fiction, non-fiction, and our own lives. While this series is in some ways geared to those who participated in the book club over the past two years, all are welcome to join. This group will be co-facilitated by Marilyn Cooper.



How do we love Israel?  with Rabbi Shira Stutman

In person on Tuesdays 7-8:30 pm
Dates and Registration Coming Soon

For those Jews who love Israel but choose not to live there, how do we best support Israel from afar? Do we marinate in the dream or face the complexity of statecraft? Where we have critiques, do we voice them aloud or keep them to ourselves? Does it matter if we’re speaking only to Jews or to the general public? How/do we critique other Jews who have different opinions than we do? What is our goal and what is our role? 

Over the course of seven gatherings, a small group will meet to discuss, argue about, reflect, cry, laugh, and build on these questions and many more.

This group will be formed around individuals who have lots of Israel experience, knowledge and passion, but want to engage productively with those who embody deeply different narratives. Group size limited.


Resources & Ways To Help


Israel Crisis Relief Fund

Click Here To Contribute Your Support Today

The link for the Federation’s emergency-relief response, also shared on our Facebook page, is now live. You can use the link now to make a contribution and share out with others. These funds are regularly dispersed, directly to the ground, supporting: United Hatzolah, Magen David Adom, Saroka Medical Center, The Israel Trauma Coalition, Evacuation Efforts, Kibbutz Re’im, and more. 



Support Masorti’s Emergency War Campaign

Click Here To Contribute Your Support Today

The Masorti Movement, NOAM and our kehillot are running various activities to help those affected by the war in Gaza: from spiritual and physical assistance to evacuees, to providing chairs for shiva houses; from preparing meals for soldiers to programming for evacuee children. We have initiated programming based on information available during the first days of the war; we will continually evaluate and update these programs to meet developing needs arising from the war.
Your partnership will help us support those in need during this time of war.



Donate to World Central Kitchen - Help us provide fresh meals to communities in need

Click Here To Contribute Your Support Today

Our friend Chef Jose Andres (World Central Kitchen) is doing critical humanitarian work—feeding civilians in need--in Israel and Gaza. "We are committed to providing nourishing meals and food kits to families who need support, and our teams will continue to seek ways to do that for residents in both Gaza and Israel.”



HIAS - Help Rush Emergency Aid to Israel

Click Here To Contribute Your Support Today

HIAS is rushing critical emergency aid to the people affected, including basic supplies (hygiene kits, blankets, school supplies), cash-based assistance, mental health and psychosocial support, child protection, and support for local partners that are providing shelter, medical services, and legal help.

Your donation today will immediately support humanitarian aid in Israel. Please, make a gift today to help rush emergency aid — all donations will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.



The Israel Engagement Committee at Adas

The Israel Engagement Committee (IEC) is working to figure out how to best use the resources of the community to help Israel immediately and in the future. 

One thing we are doing is putting together a list of families who are willing to host Israelis who have been unable to return because of the conflict. To help, contact Marty Blank.

The IEC is also arranging for letters from kids in our community to be sent to kids in Israel’s South and Central regions. If you would like to submit a letter or drawing for Israeli schoolchildren, please send them to:



Talking To Children About War

Click Here For A Resource from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Information for caregivers on how to talk to children about war. This fact sheet includes the potential impact and considerations when talking to children, how to start the conversation, understanding media coverage, and how to foster resilience. 



Contact The Israeli Consulate In New York For Information On Loved Ones

Resources for those in the U.S. seeking information about relatives/loved ones in Israel. Please contact the Israeli Consulate in New York at 917-756-8387 or 212-499-5321 for information about relatives or loved ones currently in Israel.



JSSA’s J-CARING Hotline for Emotional/Mental Health Support

The horrific events unfolding in Israel are understandably triggering fear, anxiety, anger and more, especially among people with close personal ties to Israelis or with children or other relatives serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Those in need of emotional support and/or mental health services should contact the Federation and JSSA’s J-CARING hotline at 703-J-CARING.


Masorti, Investing In A Homeland for All Jews Campaign

Click Here To Contribute

Dear Adas Israel,

When Israel declared independence 75 years ago, its founders envisioned a homeland for all Jews, wherever they are and however they may practice their Judaism. Today, we know that a strong, vibrant Israel can help facilitate a strong, vibrant Jewish community worldwide. Our collective investment in religious freedom across Israeli society is also an investment in the strength, growth, and perpetuity of the global Jewish people.

Our Greater Washington Jewish community is committed to strengthening Israel’s dual identities as a democratic country for all its citizens and as the homeland for ALL Jewish people. As we celebrate Israel’s milestone 75th year of independence, we must also grapple with the knowledge that these core ideas are under threat in Israel.

At Adas, we are honored to join Greater Washington synagogues of all streams partnering with The Jewish Federation to raise crucial funds to support organizations in Israel working to further religious freedom for all Jews, and to ensure that all Jewish Israelis can practice their faith in ways meaningful to them. Federation will match individual gifts up to $500 from a $150,000 matching funds pool. All gifts including the match will be divided among organizations in Israel working to further religious freedom for all Jews and ensure access to options for religious practice across Israel. These organizations include ItimMasorti, and Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. Individual contributions will be matched and the total money distributed based on the movement affiliation of the donor. 
Together, we can help ensure Israel continues to represent the true diversity of the Jewish people.

Here is Adas Israel’s unique fundraising link for the Investing in a Homeland for All Jews campaign.

Thank you for joining us in this effort. We are so pleased to be partnering with you.

Rabbis Holtzblatt and Alexander, Senior Rabbis
Beth Heifetz, President
Toni Bickart, Adas Past President & Current Masorti Foundation Board Member
Arnie Podgorsky, Adas Past President & Current Masorti Foundation Board Chair
Dennis Yedwab, Chair, Israel Engagement Committee 

Video Archives



Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt — Parashat Toldot 

Certainty, Uncertainty, & Trauma



Jordana Meyer — Adas Israel member, Israeli citizen, current IDF/Reservist — speaks to Congregation




Bring Home Hersh

Hear from the parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, currently held captive in Gaza



Sarah Hurwitz speaks about campus anti-semitism. (Here All Along)

Sarah Hurwitz is the author of Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life – in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There), a book about her experience rediscovering Judaism as an adult. From 2009 to 2017, she served as a White House speechwriter, first as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama.



Israel Relief Concert

In support of relief efforts in Israel, cantors from over 15 congregations across the DMV, including our own Cantor Brown, gather for one special evening of song. Featuring music of Israeli composers and artists.



Parents Of Captive Israelis Speak to Adas Israel

Adi & Yael Alexander (son Edan), Yehudah Beinin (daughter Liat and husband), and Rubi Chen (son Itay)




Rabbi Noa Sattath, Executive Director of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel



Israel update with Adas Rabbis and  Rob Satloff

Click Here For The Zoom Recording



Conversation with Hadar Susskind (Virtual)

Click Here For The Zoom Recording

Join Adas clergy and Hadar Susskind, Adas member and President/CEO of Americans for Peace now. Hadar will talk personally about the current war, and also share his thoughts on where we are now viv-a-vis his life’s work as a Peacebuilder. 

Hadar Susskind is widely acknowledged as one of the Jewish community’s leading progressive advocacy voices and brings more than twenty years of experience working in Washington DC on both foreign and domestic policy. In that role he has built strong relationships with members of Congress, administration officials, and progressive partners and allies from across the spectrum of American political life. Hadar currently serves on the boards of Ameinu and the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center. Hadar is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds the rank of Sergeant First Class in the Israel Defense Forces.



Rabbi Alexander Shabbat Sermon, 10/14

Ayeka? Where Am I? I’m home. 




Friday Night D'var Torah, 10/13

By Adas Members and Israeli Citizens Mike Ravvin and Laura Schreiber



Crossroads and Connections: Collections of the National Library of Israel

Click Here For Video Archive

Home to the intellectual and cultural treasures of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide, the National Library of Israel (NLI) has recently embarked on a visionary journey of renewal, including a wide range of initiatives to expand its collections and make the Library’s resources available to audiences across the globe. As part of this initiative, and in celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary year, Dr. Raquel Ukeles will share highlights from 101 Treasures of the National Library of Israel, a new book published by NLI. Treasures selected from this book are part of a traveling exhibition of high quality images that represent a unique story of cultural and religious creativity in Israel both historically and today. Join Dr. Ukeles as she takes us on a journey through these remarkable treasures. Dr. 

Raquel Ukeles is the Head of Collections at the National Library of Israel. She is responsible for the overall development of all the Library’s collections and for digital, cultural, and educational initiatives based on the collections. Holding a doctorate from Harvard University with a concentration on Islamic and Jewish studies, Raquel has published and taught on a wide array of subjects related to comparative Jewish and Islamic traditions and on historical currents that shape Israeli society.

This program is presented in special partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington - Israel at 75



Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut at Adas:
Stories of '48

Click Here to Watch Part 1Click Here to Watch Part 2 of the Recording

Adas Israel will be hosting a Beit Cafe evening of Israel Tastings, music/singing and personal reflections from our members who will present–in storyform–their diverse memories of 1948 and the critical years that followed. This event will also be livestreamed to our website here

Join Adas Israel for a special evening of remembrance and celebration as we commemorate Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut, two important days in the history of Israel.



Netanyahu Redux: Causes and Implications of Israel’s Election with Rob Satloff and Rabbi Holtzblatt

Click Here to Watch the Full Zoom Recording

Rabbi Holtzblatt engages Rob Satloff, Executive Director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy in a conversation about the Israeli Election (2022). What led to this moment? Why does it matter? What’s next? How might we, as an American Jewish community, process these events? And, what could it mean for our communities?


Gadeer Kamal Mreeh: "The Incredible Potential of Israel’s Rich Mosaic and Complex Society"

Click Here to Watch

Gadeer Kamal Mreeh discusses Israeli society from her own authentic point of view as an Israeli Druze woman, specifically the social resilience, uniqueness, potentials, and challenges. In April 2019, Gadeer Kamal Mreeh made history by being elected into the Knesset as a member of the Blue and White party, as the first Druze woman. In 2021, Kamal Mreeh became the Jewish Agency’s first Druze emissary to the U.S. Based in Washington D.C. Join us on Shavuot as we welcome Kamal-Mreeh to Adas as our keynote speaker.



Can the Trump Peace Plan Lead to Peace?
with Dr. Robert Satloff

On February 5th we welcomed Dr. Robert Satloff, Executive Director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, to the Biran Beit Midrash. 

Click the video on the left for a playback of his talk on the Trump Peace Plan. "Three years in the making, President Trump has unveiled his blueprint for Israeli-Palestinian peace. At its core, the plan envisions Israel retaining all of its existing settlements and controlling about 30 percent of the West Bank, with the Palestinians potentially creating an independent, demilitarized state on the balance of the land."


Israel-related News and Information

American Jews have a wide variety of sources available for news and information regarding Israel. Unfortunately, many of us limit our reading to the media that reflect our own perspectives on controversial subjects. We present the resources listed below (and more to come in the future) in the hope that exposure to a diverse set of respected voices will be conducive to mutual understanding and productive discourse in our community.


Haaretz is Israel’s oldest daily newspaper.  It is know for its liberal stances on domestic and foreign issues.

The Jerusalem Post is an English language publication based in Jerusalem.  Under a variety of editors in recent years, it generally has had a centrist or conservative perspective.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency is an international news agency and wire service serving Jewish community newspapers and media    around the world.  It claims no allegiance to any specific branch of Judaism or political viewpoint.

The Times of Israel is an English-language on-line publication that aspires to an independent editorial position.

Ynetnews is the online English-language Israeli news website of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s most-read newspaper.  Yedioth Ahronoth is considered centrist by many.


Israel Embassy
News feed of the Embassy of Israel in the United States
Background information on Israel from the Embassy

CIA World Fact Book
The World Factbook: Israel provides extensive basic imformation about Israel.

Jewish Agency for Israel
This link is to the educational resources provided by the Jewish Agency.

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
The Israel Committee of the USCJ offers information about the Conservative Movement in Israel and other topics.

United States Institute for Peace
This institute, created by the Congress of the United States, provides information on the peace process in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Wed, November 29 2023 16 Kislev 5784