News & Updates

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Welcome to Federation’s News & Updates! Read on for reflections from our team and members of the Greater Washington Jewish community, news from around the world and opportunities to Make Federation Yours.

  • Between Us: Let’s talk about heroes

    More than 175 years ago, Scottish-born philosopher Thomas Carlyle published “Heroes and Hero Worship,” a set of lectures he gave in 1840, arguing that individuals, not history per se, are the real reasons for human advancement. These specific individuals, whom Carlyle called “Heroes,” played outsized roles in the world’s advancement. Heroism – and hero worship
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  • Between Us: Let’s talk about humility

    “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis This week’s parasha, Tetzaveh, is distinguished not by what it contains, but rather, what it omits. Interestingly, Moses’ name appears in every parasha chronicling his life from birth to death – except for this week’s portion. Commentators reflect on a
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  • Standing strong as a united community: a message from The Jewish Federation

    “When the world is divided, let us do the opposite thing and show that we are united.” – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks In the wake of anti-Semitic acts across the nation – as recently as this week in our community – we must remain alert, aware and vigilant. We will not permit hateful voices to
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  • Between Us: Let’s talk about the stranger among us

    This week’s parasha, Mishpatim, begins with ve’eleh hamishpatim (AND these are the rules). In last week’s Torah portion, the Children of Israel received The Ten Commandments, the first of the laws of the covenant between God and Israel. More of these laws are presented this week and are collectively known as “The Book of the Covenant.”
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  • Between Us: Let’s talk about tomorrow

    This week’s parasha is Yitro, named after Moses’ father-in-law (one of only six Torah portions named after a central character). The portion contains powerful Cecil B. DeMille-like imagery, including thunder, lightning and the Ten Commandments. It also contains a less compelling – though equally important – lesson taught to Moses by Yitro, who helps Moses
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  • How To Build A More Inclusive Jewish Community

    This article was originally published in The Forward. By Lisa Handelman, Federation’s Community Disability Inclusion Specialist Judaism values inclusion. Yet, according to a study conducted in 2013 by RespectAbilityUSA and JerusalemU, most American Jews with disabilities feel excluded from their own gathering places. National Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), created in 2009, was
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  • Strengthening the Collective Us: Celebrating JDAIM

      This article was originally published in eJewish Philanthropy. By Lisa Handelman, Federation’s Community Disability Inclusion Specialist This February marks the 9th annual Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). This global campaign to advance disability inclusion is, at its core, a movement for cultural change. It is a paradigm shift from a focus on
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  • Between Us: Let’s talk about bringing light to the darkness

    When they were younger, my kids asked that I leave a light on in the hallway so they could “sleep better.” Darkness for children – and for many adults – can be unnerving — even scary. This week’s Torah portion – parashat Bo – continues the story of the plagues visited upon the Egyptians as Pharaoh
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  • Between Us: Let’s talk about who’s in charge

    This week’s Torah portion is Va’eira, the second parsha in the Book of Exodus, and contains the famous Ten Plagues. Last week, Pharaoh mocked Moses when he insisted that the Israelites be set free: “Who is the Lord that I should heed Him and let Israel go?” asked Pharaoh. “I do not know the Lord, nor will
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  • Between Us: Let’s talk about accepting our fate

    This week’s parasha is entitled, Va-yechi, “and Jacob lived.” But this last portion of the Book of Genesis is really about how Jacob died. He does so with dignity, preparation, humility and focus. One commentator notes that Jacob’s approach to death is exactly the opposite of Dylan Thomas’: “Do not go gentle into that good night, old
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