Experiences Leading Up to the High Holidays

Traditionally Rosh Hashanah is a time of introspection and reflection. We look back at the year that is closing and think about our hopes for the year ahead. Join us for these experiences as we prepare for the new year.

Elul Lunch and Learn with the Clergy

Get into the Elul mindset with Lunch and Learn sessions with each member of the clergy. Each of these sessions will be at a local café. Join us for the following dates:

Wednesday, August 30, at noon with Rabbi Megdal
Wednesday, September 6, at noon with Rabbi Harris
Wednesday, September 13, at noon with Hazzan Fradkin

Selichot with Ohr Kodesh

Saturday, September 9

Please join us at Beth El for our annual Selichot service with Ohr Kodesh. NEW THIS YEAR: A Selichot Kumsitz!

The evening begins with a viewing of the short film Ave Maria, focusing on “What is Religious Behavior?” Rabbis from both congregations will lead a panel discussing the film, which is about a settler family that finds themselves in need of help when they crash their car into a local convent.

Then join Hazzan Fradkin, Cantor Labovitz, and talented musicians from the Beth El and Ohr Kodesh communities as we begin the High Holiday season together with a blend of traditional and Sephardic melodies designed to give us our spiritual preparation for the Yamim Noraim.

  • 8:30 – 9:45 pm: Film and Discussion
  • 9:45 – 10:15 pm: Cookies and Coffee
  • 10:15 – 11:30 pm: Selichot Kumsitz

Click here to register

Shofar Blowing

It’s that time of the year again! Elul shofar blowing begins on Friday, August 18, and we’re looking to your horn-tooting capabilities to help us ring in the Jewish new year at morning minyan. Please click here to sign up. If you have any questions, contact Hazzan Asa Fradkin at afradkin@bethelmc.org.

Senior BBQ with the Clergy

Thursday, August 31, at 12:00 pm

Beth El is inviting all Senior members to join with the clergy for an end of summer BBQ! We will have the opportunity to gather and enjoy some yummy food and great conversation as well as welcome Rabbi Harris back from his sabbatical. The cost is $10 per person for members and $12 for non-members.

Click here to register

Seeking Forgiveness: Meditation in the Park

Saturday, September 2, at 1:00 pm

Join Hazzan Fradkin in Greenwich Park for a pre-High Holiday blend of silent, guided, and walking meditation. Pre-registration is required.

Click here to register

A Screening and Discussion of “The Jewish Jail Lady and the Holy Thief

Wednesday, September 6, at 6:00 pm

Please join us for a special evening during the month of Elul where we will screen “The Jewish Jail Lady and the Holy Thief” followed by a moderated discussion and reception. This documentary follows the dark, troubled, often unbelievable pasts of Rabbi Mark Borovitz and Harriet Rossetto, as their journeys not only lead them to one another, but to the formation of Beit T’Shuvah, a one-of-a-kind recovery and treatment center known around the globe. Please note this event is intended for adults only due to sensitive language and topic.

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Neighborhood Shofar with NuBeens

Thursday, September 7, at 7:30 pm

Be in the Elul mindset with a shofar blowing among close Beth El friends and community! Join together for this fun evening of schmoozing, noshing and hearing the Shofar as we prepare together for the High Holidays at the home of Jeremy and Sharon Zissman. Address will be provided to those who RSVP.

Click here to register

Back to Shul BBQ

Friday, September 8, at 5:30 pm

Beth El’s annual Back to Shul BBQ is back with a twist! Join us on Friday, September 8, at 5:30 pm to welcome Shabbat AND welcome everyone back from the summer! There will be opportunities to reconnect with friends, eat some yummy food, see how you can get involved at Beth El this year, hang out and play, and then stay for services.

Cost is $8 per child (4-11 years old), $15 per person, $45 max per family. This event is free if you are a new member to Beth El who joined on or after June 1, 2023. Questions? Contact Deb Geiger at dgeiger@bethelmc.org.

Please RSVP by Friday, September 1. 

Click here to register

Elul Shabbat Study Session with Women of Beth El

Saturday, September 9, 2:00-4:00 pm

Join Women of Beth El on Saturday, September 9, at 2:00 pm at the home of Judy Liss for a Shabbat/Elul study session with Rabbi Avi Strausberg. Each year brings with it the beginning and end of many worlds in our relationships, professional projects, and personal endeavors. In this session, we’ll examine a midrash that imagines God creating and destroying several hundred worlds before arriving at our world. We’ll reflect on what it means to create out of destruction, what wisdom is there in loss, and how to begin again. Address will be provided to those who register.

Register for the Elul Shabbat Study Session

Pick with PJ: Apple Picking at Waters Orchard

Sunday, September 10, 1:00 pm

Head to the apple orchard to pick fresh, delicious apples for Rosh Hashanah and Grandparents Day! We’ll celebrate together outside as we pick apples, have professional family photos taken, read stories, and do a mitzvah project (making cards for Jewish military service members).

This program is a collaboration of The Jewish Federation, PJ Library, Bender JCC, Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia, and Congregation Beth El.

Each family pays for their own apples at the orchard. If you have questions or need assistance filling, please contact Sarah Rabin Spira at sarah.rabinspira@shalomdc.org.

Click Here to Register

Approaching the High Holidays Through New Fiction

Sunday, September 10, 4:00 pm

In this unique prelude to the Days of Awe, authors Michelle Brafman and Martha Toll will be in conversation about their new novels, Swimming with Ghosts and Three Muses. Characters in these books struggle with issues that often surface during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – loss, past trauma, regret, obsession, and the potential for renewal. How have the authors grappled with these universal concerns in their work and what helpful insights can we take with us as the Jewish season of reflection begins?

Register for Approaching the High Holidays Through New Fiction

Neighborhood Shofar

Tuesday, September 12, at 5:00 pm

Get into the High Holiday mindset with the Beth El community at the home of the Rosenstein/Bloom family. We will be gathering to schmooze, snack and hear the sounds of the shofar. Address will be provided to those who RSVP.

Click here to register

BAMAH Presents: Not Letting It In”

Thursday, September 21, at 7:30 pm

BAMAH and Congregation Beth El invite you to Join Tel Aviv-based artists Jason Morris Danino Holt, Rabbi Rami Schwartzer, Hana Vazana Grunwald, and Nemuna Ceesay for an interactive, cutting-edge experience that combines performance art, spiritual exercise, and immersive learning to take the concept of teshuvah from abstract idea to intentional practice into the High Holidays and beyond. Performers improvise with models of honest conversations and meaningful catharsis, inviting audience members to witness or join them in participating as the process unfolds.

BAMAH is an independent nonprofit arts platform that provides opportunities for artists from Israel to develop and teach their work; promote creative innovation, mutual respect, and understanding; and inspire a more inclusive, respectful, and tolerant society.

Click here to register