Tikvat Israel counts on the ‘omer’ to stimulate spirituality Rabbi Shull emphasizes the importance of commitment in series of workshops

    Tikvat Israel Congregation in Rockville is marking the omer period between Pesach and Shavuot with a series of spiritual, dance and music workshops. “We are hoping take people on a journey that will touch their mind, body and soul,” says Rabbi Benjamin Shull. “We want to demonstrate that Judaism encourages us to integrate… Read More

Donna Edwards

Edwards missing from pro-Israel letter

More than 90 percent of the House of Representatives signed on to a letter urging President Barack Obama to use American veto power to block any actions by the United Nations deemed as biased against Israel. Among names that don’t appear: Rep. Donna Edwards’ (D-Md.). The bipartisan letter, signed by 394 House Republicans and Democrats,… Read More

New York Times op-ed columnist Roger Cohen, left, The Forward editor-at-large J.J. Goldberg and NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson discuss Israel’s role in the 2016 elections on April 17 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.
Photo by  Josh Marks

Forum assesses Sanders, Israel in 2016 vote

Did Bernie Sanders break new ground during the New York Democratic presidential debate when he doubled down on comments he made that Israel used “disproportionate” force against Hamas in 2014, and that “we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity”? “The fact he said it and was cheered wildly… Read More

First-time voters assess ‘the system’

As this year’s crop of new voters prepares to cast ballots in one of the most vitriolic and social media-driven presidential races ever, the teenagers are looking not only at the candidates but at the political system itself. Many, like Gavrielle Jacobovitz, 17, a senior at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, welcome the opportunity… Read More

Thanking Sanders, voting Clinton

It is a good thing that, at the beginning of this presidential election season, Hillary Clinton was not automatically crowned the Democratic nominee-apparent. The former secretary of state and U.S. senator had no natural right to the nomination. And the unexpectedly serious candidacy of independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has energized the race and… Read More

Grandparents seek support relating to interfaith grandchildren

  Columbia was founded with the intention to host a diverse community, and Howard County as a whole has embraced that. At Temple Isaiah this month, Jewish grandparents came together to talk about their own religiously diverse families in the Grandparents Circle. The program, hosted nationally by Big Tent Judaism, an organization that pushes the… Read More

From left, Marcie Cissell, Barbara Frederick and Jodi Fishman of Bet Yeladim stand beneath some of the donated clothing

Preschool counts the ‘omer’ and clothing

With Passover in full swing, so is the tradition of counting the omer, the 49 days leading to Shavuot. But that’s not the only thing students at the Bet Yeladim preschool in Columbia will be counting this year. “All teachers and staff have each been assigned a day of the omer at which they will… Read More

Photo by Josh Marks

You Should Know… Tali Herskowitz

Tali Herskowitz is passionate about building a better Israel. Thee 36-year-old Beersheva native is the development and program officer at the New Israel Fund in Washington, a nonprofit organization working to advance social justice, democracy, equality and human rights in Israel. But for Herskowitz, music is her No. 1 love. While she doesn’t perform as much these days, she used to play folk music… Read More

Accordionist Merv Conn was immortalized by a walkway near his Silver Spring home.
Photo by Hector Gonzales

There’s ‘My Way’ and there’s Merv Conn Way

Merv Conn was known as the King of the Strolling Accordionists. Before he died in 2011 at 91, Conn was ubiquitous around Washington, turning up to entertain at “official embassy soirees, concerts on cruise ships, ice cream socials and private recitals for presidents Truman, Johnson and Nixon,” as The Washington Post put it in Conn’s… Read More

Looking back on the Maryland General Assembly

Maryland’s Jewish community came out on top in a session that saw criminal justice reforms, debates about paid sick leave and end-of-life options and a number of projects funded, according to officials at the Baltimore Jewish Council and Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. Both the BJC and JCRC had a number of successful… Read More


Dreams of a horrifying reality Review

In the Land of Armadillos by Helen Maryles Shankman. New York: Scribner, 2016, 282 pages, $25 Only rarely do books have the literary wallop to break through my protective psychic defenses. In the Land of Armadillos is one such work, for the day after reading two of its short stories — “The Partizans” and “The… Read More