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2020-21 Executive Committee

President: Jill Jacob
Co-VP for Communications: Debby Joseph
Co-VP for Communications: Ronnie Kweller
Treasurer: Ellen Snyder
VP for Education/Programming: Rona Walters
VP for Membership: June Kress
Parliamentarian: Marian Fox
Corresponding Secretary: Leah Hadad
Recording Secretary: Helen Kramer
Gift Shop Co-Managers: Jean Bernard, Marian Fox, Susan Winberg
Torah Fund Chair: Rona Walters
Torah Fund Co-Chair: Cheryl Wasserman

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A Community of Sisterhood, the Bonds of Friendship:

The Adas Israel Congregation is a 2020 recipient of the Women's League for Conservative Judaism's Jewels in the Crown Award, presented to sisterhoods that have demonstrated excellence in education, cultural programming, and social action and exhibit a strong Women’s League identity.

Sisterhood operates the Ruth & Simon Albert Sisterhood Gift Shop.  As part of the Women's League for Conservative Judaism, Sisterhood raises dollars for Torah Fund, which supports five Conservative/Masorti seminaries across the globe. Sisterhood gifts each Adas b'nai mitzvah celebrant with a kiddush cup to use in their Shabbat observance. Your Sisterhood is here to help when you are in need, comfort you in a time of loss, celebrate simchas, or just be a listening ear.


Sisterhood is continuing to offer quality events and programming focused on arts and culture, Jewish traditions and rituals, and social action.  Ongoing programs include Weekday Torah with Sisterhood, "Get Happy" Hours, Coffee Klatches, Sewing, Knitting and Craft group, and Book Discussions. In addition, special events during the past year have focused on the historical role of Jewish women, the diverse and inspiring careers of Sisterhood members, domestic violence and mental health issues during the pandemic, and women’s pathways to the pulpit. 

We are a Community of Sisterhood, joined by the bonds of friendship. Please join us!

For more information email VP of Membership, June Kress.


Upcoming Special Events: Spring Line-up!

Note times for the following events:

Sunday Salon with Sheryl Stolberg: 1pm

Author Laura Kumin Discusses Her Book “All Stirred Up”: 1pm

Closing Event with Aviva Kempner: 1pm

Upcoming Special Events: Details!

Meet Historical Cookbook Author Laura Kumin

Sunday, May 2, at 1:00pm
Click here to register.

Please join us when historical cookbook author Laura Kumin discusses her new book, “All Stirred Up: Suffrage Cookbooks, Food and the Battle for Women’s Right to Vote”. Laura had a long career as a lawyer before she became an author, teacher and cooking coach. Her specialty is combining history/culture and cooking, with an eye toward illuminating the little-known corners of a historical period or movement. In addition to “All Stirred Up”, Laura is the author of “The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating & Entertaining in Hamilton’s World”.

Laura’s blog, Mother Would Know, encourages readers to become confident and creative home cooks. Her articles have appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, and the Huffington Post. Laura has presented podcasts and programs for a variety of audiences and groups, including the National Press Club, the Woodrow Wilson House, and Tudor Place, a National Historic Landmark.

Laura, who lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, is active in the city’s Jewish community and in her synagogue, Temple Sinai. She has taught a course called Dishing the Diaspora to teens in a DC-area religious school and adult education programs for several synagogues, and she writes for the Jewish Food Experience, a project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.


Seaboard Region Virtual Spring Conference

Sunday, May 23, 10am - 2pm
Click here to register.


Ongoing Programs

Weekday Torah with Sisterhood

Monthly, Tuesdays at 10am, on Zoom
Next up: May 11 and June 15

Weekday Torah with Sisterhood is an engaging approach to traditional text study that offers participants the opportunity to study and discuss challenging texts and ideas. Students of all levels and backgrounds are welcome. Please contact Marilyn Cooper ( with questions, or if you would like a link to the Zoom Torah study class.


Members-only Sunday Salons

Join New York Times Reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Sunday, April 25, at 1-3pm
Click here to register.

Join us at the next Sisterhood Sunday Salon for an intimate look at the career trajectory of Sisterhood member and award-winning reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg*

For nearly three decades, Sheryl has covered health policy at both the Los Angeles Times, where she shared in two Pulitzer Prices won by that newspaper’s metro staff, and The New York Times. During her tenure at the LA Times, she covered the 1992 riots following the beating of Rodney King by the LA Police Department, as well as the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake. At the NY Times since 1997, Sheryl has written extensively on bioethics issues, became a congressional correspondent in 2002, and covered the White House during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as the 2012 presidential campaign.

As mid-Atlantic bureau chief from 2015 to 2017, she has focused on America’s cities, notably Baltimore, covering issues of race and policing surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. She returned to covering Congress in 2017 but switched to health coverage in 2020, amid the coronavirus crisis.

Learn about Sheryl’s remarkable career and what’s different about the press during this administration compared to the last, and spend an informative and inspiring hour with Adas Israel Sisterhood.

*Sisterhood Salons are members-only events.



Knit, Sew and Craft Group

Monthly, 1st Wednesday at 7:30 pm, on Zoom
Next Up: May 5 and June 2

Please email Lesley Frost at if you would like to receive meeting notices and the Zoom link.

In addition to the monthly Zoom meetings, members are continuing to work at home on Comfort Shawls and caps for members of the Adas Israel family who are dealing with cancer and other health issues. Members also provide baby hats to welcome the newest members of the Adas community.

In November, knitting co-chair Rita Segerman packed up 118 beautiful, handmade hats and scarves for distribution by the Edlavitch DCJCC to those in need. Rita also manages a large supply of donated wool. Please contact Rita (; 301-654-2304) regarding wool or suggested yarns, patterns, and needle sizes for your group projects. 

For any other information, please contact Lesley (; 201-787-7941).

In photo: Anat Bar-Cohen, Arlette Jassel, and Lesley Frost working on the new High Holiday Torah mantles.


Sisterhood Cares

To mark simchas and milestones and for condolences, contact Leah Hadad (


Adas Israel Book Club

Rose Ruth Freudberg Memorial Sisterhood Library

Led by Adas Israel Librarian Robin Jacobson, the Adas Israel Book Club meets periodically to discuss a book of Jewish interest. For further information, please contact Robin Jacobson (

If you would like to mark your calendar with this year’s full schedule of online book programs, please check the Rose Ruth Freudberg Memorial Sisterhood Library page.

Book Chat: Meet Author Geraldine Brooks
Sunday, June 6, 11 am | Register Here 
Click here for Robin's review of Geraldine Brooks' novels

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks, creator of the best-selling historical novels "The Year of Wonders," "March," and "Caleb’s Crossing," as well as the acclaimed Jewish-themed novels, "People of the Book" and "The Secret Chord," will discuss her literary work and answer participants’ questions.

Book Chat: Meet Astronomer-Author Avi Loeb
Sunday, June 13, 11 am | Register Here 
Click here for Robin's review of "Extraterrestrial"

Are we alone in the universe? Dr. Avi Loeb, a longtime Chair of Harvard’s Astronomy Department, is the author of one of the most talked about books of 2021, "Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth." Dr. Loeb will take us on a mind-bending journey from Israel to the far reaches of space to show the latest evidence for extraterrestrial intelligent life. Following his talk, Professor Loeb looks forward to a lively Q&A with participants


Torah Fund


TORAH FUND 2020-21 Campaign Well on Its Way!

As part of the Women's League for Conservative Judaism, we raise dollars for Torah Fund which supports five Conservative seminaries across the globe, educating clergy and lay leaders. Your donation helps provide housing, tuition scholarships, and university infrastructure for the next generation of Jewish leaders.

Torah Fund strengthens Jewish education by supporting scholarships and programming at five Conservative/Masorti institutes of higher Jewish learning:

  • Jewish Theological Seminary (New York)
  • Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (Los Angeles)
  • Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem)
  • Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires)
  • Zacharias Frankel College (Potsdam, Germany)

Women’s League and Torah Fund are proud to support the education of the future rabbis, cantors, educators, and scholars who will serve as the gifted leaders and innovators of the Conservative Movement. Torah Fund has raised more than $105 million since its inception as a grassroots fund-raising campaign.

Individual donors to Torah Fund at the Benefactor level or higher receive the distinctive Torah Fund pin in recognition of their gift. The new pin for the 2020-21 program year says “B’Yachad,” the Hebrew word for “together.”

You may make donations online at the button below, or send a check payable to:

"Torah Fund"
c/o Rona Walters, Torah Fund Chair
5117 Linnean Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008

Donations may not be charged to your Adas Israel account.


Past Special Events and Recordings

Quieting the Silence: Understanding and Responding to Mental Illness in the Jewish Community, March 21, 2021

Click here to watch
By Elissa Barpal

Sisterhood presented a very timely opportunity to discuss mental illness and our response to this within the Jewish community. Our discussion included Lisa Ziv, Chief Strategy Officer of The Blue Dove Foundation, and Lori Kolle, LCSW-C, Director of Outpatient Mental Health Services at The Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA). Rabbi Sarah Krinsky set the tone for this conversation by framing the importance of mental health as it is seen in our rabbinical teachings.

Lisa Ziv was drawn into the issue of mental health when her then-10th grader underwent a mental health crisis, affecting the entire family. That experience inspired her to become involved with the Blue Dove Foundation (a reference to the dove released from Noah’s Ark), which provides resources for families navigating their children’s mental health challenges by building supportive school and synagogue communities. The foundation’s mantra is to “Educate, Equip and Ignite” the global Jewish community and its response to mental illness and substance abuse. Lisa discussed the importance of personally reaching out to members of our community who are dealing with mental health issues and provided helpful suggestions for accomplishing this often-awkward task. 

Lori Kolle has worked with the Jewish Social Service Agency for over 30 years and currently focuses on working with couples who have special-needs children. Lori provided us with an overview of how to cope in a healthful way with stresses we all experience. Some of her important suggestions included sufficient hydration, nutrition, sleep, and exercise.

The discussion brought to our attention the myriad of free services available for dealing with mental health, especially within the Jewish community. Please click here for a link to available services and more information on The Blue Dove Foundation and The Jewish Social Service Agency.


Sisterhood Shabbat, February 27, 2021

Sisterhood Shabbat 2021 was a great success, thanks to the creativity and dedication of the planning committee, led by June Kress, and the more than two dozen Sisterhood members who participated in the Shabbat morning service.

Our gratitude to Donald Saltz for his generous sponsorship of this year’s Mozele Saltz Sisterhood Scholar, Dr. Lila Corwin Berman. A professor of history at Temple University, Dr. Berman delivered an inspiring d’var Torah on our theme, Tetzaveh, A Vision of Responsible Leadership, and an edifying post-service lecture, No Politics Allowed: The Myth of American Jewish Life.

Continuing what is now a three-year tradition, Sisterhood members participated in a weekday morning minyan prior to Sisterhood Shabbat, where Sabrina Sojourner gave a d’var Torah. And we had our first virtual Challah Bake & Share, with members encouraged to give a challah to a friend or, via the Adas Israel Hesed Committee’s Adas Cooks @ Home, to an organization that feeds the hungry.

Special thanks to the Sisterhood Shabbat Committee (Chair June Kress, Marilyn Cooper, Marcia Feuerstein, Jill Jacob (President), Ronnie Kweller, Hoonjoo Lee, Ozana Papados, and Joyce Stern; our speaker, Dr. Lila Corwin Berman; the Adas clergy; Team Adas; Sisterhood “minyan-makers” in the Smith Sanctuary, and members who helped lead the Zoom service from home.

The printed program for the Sisterhood Shabbat morning service can be downloaded here.


“America’s Jewish Women” With AU Professor Pamela Nadell

By Wendy Kates

On Sunday, December 6, we were treated to a very interesting presentation by Pamela Nadell, Professor and Director of Jewish Studies at American University. Dr. Nadell, whose most recent book is America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, introduced us to several Jewish women throughout American history who used the freedoms inherent in America to become activists and, ultimately, to shape beliefs about what it meant to be Jewish.

Dr. Nadell described the remarkable diversity of American Jewish women, including 18th-century Abigail Levy Franks (who, in letters to her son, foresaw the growth of the Reform movement in Judaism), 19th-century Rose Sonneschein (who started the first English-language magazine focused on Jewish women and organized the first Jewish book group in America), and 20th-century activists and scholars Betty Friedan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Dr. Nadell shared her insights into the social and economic forces that enabled such vibrant Jewish women to emerge, including the shift toward smaller families, the increase in life expectancy, and the ever-present anti-Semitism they faced. Sisterhood thanks Dr. Nadell for her stimulating talk.


Sisterhood – and the World – Give Thanks to Judy Heumann!

“Presentation and Chat with Judy Heumann” Program Recording: Click here to watch.

By June Kress

On November 22, just days before Thanksgiving, Sisterhood members were treated to a superb hour with Judith Heumann, internationally recognized disability rights activist, policy advisor, and author, for an intimate and inspiring look at her personal and professional trajectory. Joining Judy was John Wodatch, a disability rights attorney with more than 50 years specializing in and recognized for the Americans with Disability Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Judy began by talking about the importance of telling all of our stories, exemplified in the 2020 film “Crip Camp” that chronicles the disability rights movement here and around the world starting at Camp Jened in the early 1970’s. “Crip Camp” won the 2020 Sundance Audience Award and was nominated for a 2021 Academy Award for best Documentary, Feature. Mazel tov to Judy and to directors/producers Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht, and Sara Bolder!

The documentary, can be found on Netflix; here’s the trailer: The comments in the virtual “chat” said it all: from “Thank you, Judy, for always encouraging us to do more” and “Thank you for your inspiring leadership” to “I learn something new each time I hear Judy talk about her life and her work.” Sisterhood adds our thanks to Judy Heumann and John Wodatch for another exhilarating Sisterhood Sunday Salon program.


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Click Here to Watch Passcode: *HaiLx43 

By Elissa Barpal

Sisterhood members recently had the pleasure of hearing about the impressive and important work of the 70-year-old Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, presented by Gabrielle Sherb, Vice President of Development, and Vanessa Gonzalez, Executive Vice President of Field and Member services. Some of the more than two dozen attendees asked thoughtful questions after the formal presentation, which included a number of the organization’s videos. We are proud to note that Gabrielle is a Sisterhood member and a new member of our Board of Directors.

With a mission to “build an America as good as its ideals,” the Leadership Conference is a coalition working to promote and protect the civil and human rights of everyone in the United States. Some of its very timely and relevant work, especially this year, has focused on the 2020 census and voting and immigration rights.

Among the coalition’s more than 200 national member organizations are prominent Jewish groups, including Bend the Arc, The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and The National Council of Jewish Women.

As the Leadership Conference looks to the future, it is focusing on bringing more organizations together as it seeks to grow a coalition in power to “promote and protect civil and human rights” of all Americans.


October 18 Virtual Sisterhood Opening Event

Click Here to Watch

Women's Paths to the Pulpit

Sisterhood’s Opening Event for the 2020-21 program year was a great success, drawing more than 80 viewers to the October 18 webinar. Titled” Women’s Paths to the Pulpit,” it featured three of Adas Israel’s accomplished and gifted women clergy, who engaged in a stimulating conversation moderated by Adas Israel member Rabbi Gilah Langner, who is rabbi at congregations Shirat HeNefesh and Kol Ami.

Cantor Arianne Brown, Hazzan and Ritual Director Rachel Goldsmith, and Rabbi Sarah Krinsky – all of whom were ordained at the Conservative Movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary in New York – shared the formative experiences that shaped their career choices against the background of the changing status of women in the Conservative Movement and shared what it’s like to be part of the Adas Israel’s robust clergy team.


June 3 Chat with Author Esther Safran Foer

Click Here to Watch (Password: 2a.Tp26?)

On Wednesday, June 3, longtime Sisterhood and Adas Israel member and Holocaust survivor Esther Safran Foer shared excerpts from her new memoir, I Want You to Know We’re Still Here. At least 55 participants joined the lively and engaging program. For those who missed the live event, here is a link to the recording.

For 10 years, Esther was Executive Director and CEO of the Sixth & I historic synagogue, where she led the creation of what the national media called “a new paradigm for Jewish life.” In 2008, Esther was recognized as one of the country’s “Forward’s 50” Jewish leaders. Esther spent most of her professional life in public relations, running her own firm representing Fortune 500 companies. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and one herself, the wife of Bert Foer (an attorney and public interest advocate), the mother of three sons (bestselling authors Frank, Jonathan, and Joshua Foer), and the grandmother of six.

For book clubs interested in reading and discussing Esther’s book, here is a link to the reader’s guide.


Sisterhood Calendar


The Ruth & Simon Albert Sisterhood Gift Shop

Despite the pandemic, the Ruth & Simon Albert Adas Israel Gift Shop is ready to meet your Judaica and gift needs.  Just email us at, and we will be happy to set up an appointment for you.  Please do not call, because there may be no one there to answer our phone.  We are looking forward to seeing you.

Please note that we’ve also added a new collection of Sea Ranch Jewelry by Karen Anderson, including these examples:

Additional jewelry can be found on the Gift Shop webpage: Treat yourself to USA-handcrafted jewelry, celebrate a special day, or gift a piece of jewelry for a holiday. 

Jean Bernard, Susan Winberg, and Marian Fox

Fri, April 23 2021 11 Iyyar 5781