News & Updates

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 more ways to Connect with Purpose.

  • All
  • Camp
  • Inclusion
  • Israel Updates 2021
  • Leadership Updates
  • Message from Gil
  • News & Updates
  • NOVA
  • Security
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Building a Vibrant & Secure Community

I hope that your Rosh Hashanah celebrations were meaningful and joyous. During these semi-quiet moments between High Holidays, I’ve been thinking a lot about what enables our Jewish community to
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Celebrating Those Who Make a Difference

On Sunday evening, we welcome Rosh Hashanah. Upon looking forward to a year filled with promise, I have also been reflecting on the accomplishments spurring us on. As our latest
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Confronting our History

In September 1938, Helmut, 29, arrives in New York alone. He hopes his wife, Steffi, will join him soon – she is still living in Breslau, Germany, and listed as
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Change and Return

I was grateful to celebrate another birthday this past week. While everyone acknowledges theirs in distinct ways, my late August birthday has typically been marked by thought and introspection. I
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

The Future of Jewish Philanthropy in Greater Washington

When I joined Federation nearly five years ago, it was with incredible excitement. I knew Greater Washington was home to incomparable leaders and organizations, and that this community was already
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Building an Unbreakable Hope

A few days ago, as I sat in back-to-back Zoom meetings, a colleague stopped by my office to ask if I needed lunch. The moment has stuck with me ever

Continuing our Support in Ukraine

Months after the war in Ukraine began, the images from its early days and memories of my mission to the Poland border have stayed with me. I will never forget

On Resilience & Summer Camp

It is no understatement to say that the past weeks, months, and years have been challenging. For our community’s children and teens, the world around them has been wrought with

Moving Forward Together

On the heels of Capital Chai: Federation’s 2022 Annual Meeting, I feel deeply connected to, and proud of, the Greater Washington Jewish community. And as we take steps forward in

A Night to Remember

Last night at Capital Chai: Federation’s 2022 Annual Meeting, I was grateful to connect with many of you. It was an honor to be together as we celebrated the unwavering

Reuniting Ethiopian Jewry in Israel: An Interview with Laura Cutler

As antisemitic incidents continue in our community and nationally, the safety and security of our Jewish community remains a top priority for Federation. I encourage you to join the June

An Interview with Laura Cutler on Ethiopian Aliyah

Recently, Laura Cutler, Federation Board Member and Managing Director of the Center for Israel Studies at American University, represented Jewish Greater Washington on an incomparable mission to Ethiopia and Israel

Celebrating our Communal Leaders

Today marks 100 days since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Federation continues to work closely with our partners on the ground in the region and collaborate with

Moving Beyond Thoughts & Prayers

I write to you today from a place of deep pain and frustration. I am shaken, not with surprise, but with the palpable devastation, anger, and heartbreak that have become

Resilience, Challenge, and Change in Israel

Pictured: (l to r) Rabbi Daniel Zemel, Gil Preuss, Rabbi David Spinrad, Rabbi Deborah Megdal, Rabbi Sarah Tasman, Rabbi Aaron Potek, Rabbi Mitch Berkowitz, Rabbi Uri Topolosky, and Rabbi Evan
Meet Rabbi Sarah Tasman, Federation’s Director of Jewish Journeys and Engagement

Meet Rabbi Sarah Tasman, Federation’s Director of Jewish Journeys and Engagement

A long-time engagement professional in the Jewish communal world, Rabbi Sarah Tasman brings a multitude of experiences and perspectives into her work, integrating creativity, healing, and spiritual practice. A native

Creating a Community of Belonging

In today’s social and political landscape, American society and the Jewish community are facing growing divisions on topics that define us – from politics to identity to core values and

Embracing an Evolving Israel

Those dedicated to Israel’s bright future will not be deterred by senseless violence, like the recent attack in Elad on Thursday night, during a Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration. As we mourn

On Memory and Building for the Future

This week, Jewish communities worldwide observed Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. We set aside this sacred time and space to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, honor

Together Again

At our Annual Meeting on June 16th, Federation will honor 18 remarkable Jewish individuals under 40: the Capital Chai (18). We’re looking for the innovators, thought leaders, creators, activists, builders,

Helping Those in Need Around the World…and Around the Corner

I am humbled by the incredible support within our community to care for those in Ukraine. So many of you have already made an enormous impact, helping Federation raise more

Standing with Israel as a Jewish Community

Over the past week, Israel has faced three separate terror attacks in one of the deadliest waves of terror since the second intifada. Heartbroken by the senseless loss of eleven

On the Global Jewish Refugee Crisis

We watch in horror as the war in Ukraine continues. The conflict has created an enormous refugee crisis, with more than 3.3 million people fleeing and another 6.5 million displaced

Reflections from Ukraine’s Border

Early Monday morning, I arrived in Poland to take part in The Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) humanitarian mission to Ukraine’s border. I was honored to represent our community

Federation CEO Gil Preuss Speaks with Local News Stations from Ukraine Border

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its third week, the humanitarian crisis continues to test the might of neighboring countries, including Poland. As more than a million Ukrainians have

A Northern Virginia Update: The Power of Community

Today, across Northern Virginia and throughout the Jewish world we celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim – a favorite of both children and adults. During Purim, we celebrate Jewish survival

Our Impact in Ukraine

This Sunday, I am honored to be traveling to Poland and the border of Ukraine with The Jewish Federations of North America to represent our community and learn more about

Preserving Vibrant Jewish Life in Ukraine

Over ten years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the amazing Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. This is a community that faced devastation during WWII and then continued decline

Supporting Ukrainian Jews

Today, as we continue to watch in horror as war unfolds in Europe, I want to focus on elevating the urgent efforts to support our Jewish family in Ukraine. After
Ukraine Emergency Fund

Federation’s Ukraine Emergency Fund Now Open

Belonging to a global Jewish community means assisting and caring for Jews wherever they are — always, and especially in times of crisis. As we watch the Russian invasion of

Supporting the Global Jewish Community

Year-round, Federation works closely with international agencies to meet the needs of Jewish communities in Israel and more than 70 countries around the globe, including Ukraine. Belonging to a global

Expanding the Discourse on Israel & Zionism

We are living in complex times, where differences of opinion can prove incredibly divisive even within close-knit communities. For our American Jewish community, discourse about Israel, in particular, has become

Liz Weintraub, Leader in Disability Advocacy

Liz Weintraub, a member of Federation’s Disability Inclusion Task Force, has a long history of leadership in disability advocacy. Her career has including multiple state and national board and advisory

Pozez JCC’s Inclusion and Disability Services: Fostering Skills for Individuals with Disabilities

Federation partner Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia offers many opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop physical and social skills. Their programs feature small participant-staff ratios and offerings such as

A Northern Virginia Update: Individual and Communal Safety and Security

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is committed to keeping our entire Greater Washington Jewish community safe and secure. Following the horrendous incident in Colleyville TX, Federation held a community

Towards Inclusivity for All

Across the country and in our region, historically Black colleges and universities have been subjected to bomb threats and hateful harassment as Black History Month began. As a Jewish community, we know

Championing the Inclusion of Children and Adults with Disabilities

  For nearly 50 years, Federation Disability Inclusion Committee member, Sara Portman Milner, has made a difference in our community. A social worker by training, Sara is a nationally and

Capital Camps: Living the Values of Inclusion

  From its inception, Capital Camps has elevated the concept of ‘camp for all’. Capital Camps welcomes campers of all backgrounds, denominational affiliation, gender, race, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status,

Our Collective Security

Two weeks ago, Jewish communities around the world witnessed the strength and resilience that comes with preparation for an emergency. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker has since credited his ability to react

Standing Strong & Secure

In an interview this past Monday, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker recounted the chilling hours when he and three of his congregants were held hostage in their synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel. I’ve

A Force for Good

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to share feedback on my recent reflections. Your comments continue to be thought-provoking and inspiring, and I’m always grateful to

Principles for the Future

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading predictions for 2022—forecasts of new words, foods, colors, global developments, fears, and more. I typically find these predictions enjoyable, though they

A Video Message from Federation CEO Gil Preuss

As 2021 comes to an end, I want to thank you for keeping Jewish Greater Washington vibrant and strong. I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s video reflection—something a little different

Moving Forward Together

As we approach the end of 2021, I am feeling particularly energized by everything that our community accomplished this year. Looking ahead to what’s next and how our decisions today will

Introducing Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh

Earlier this week, I was honored to hold a webinar conversation with Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh, the first-ever Druze Israeli envoy to any North American Jewish community.

Strengthening Jewish Life in NOVA

Community-wide collaborative projects are a lot like icebergs. The results you see are often and rightfully cause for celebration. But it’s the small miracles and the hard work of the

In Awe of Awe

One of the most memorable experiences from my childhood came when I was on a family vacation as a teenager at Yosemite National Park. Going on a hike and turning

On Gratitude and Giving

Last Thanksgiving, we were presented with difficult questions amid the pandemic. A time usually reserved for us to slow down and gather with loved ones instead brought on feelings of

A Northern Virginia Update: Cross-organizational collaboration strengthens our NOVA community

It is amazing to continue meeting more and more community members across NOVA, including recently at the rebrand party for Moishe House Arlington (formerly Moishe House Northern Virginia).

Reducing Risk

As we readjusted to daylight saving time this week, I found myself wondering why we sustain practices even after they no longer make sense. Countless people and organizations continue specific

The Resilient Community

On my nightstand, there is a seemingly endless stack of books. On top of the pile is The Resilient Society, by Princeton’s Professor Markus K. Brunnermeier. I learned of the

Creating a Vibrant Jewish Community, Together

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where we go from here as a community, and I know I’m not alone. We’ve all seen how the pandemic accelerated earlier shifts

Helping Terror Victims in Israel’s South

Helping Terror Victims in Israel’s South

We are deeply proud of our continued partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel. Together, we are meeting the pressing needs of those on the ground in Israel, including those

Condemning Antisemitism in All Forms—and in our Backyard

This is not the reflection I’d planned to share this week. But then the DC chapter of national climate action group Sunrise Movement publicly declined to participate in a Washington voting rights rally, based solely on

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington Expands Investment in Families with Young Children

National PJ Library® grant will further strengthen Federation’s efforts Washington, DC—The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington recently received a grant from PJ Library, the flagship program of the Harold Grinspoon

An Interactive Look at Our Communal Accomplishments

2021 hasn’t been easy, as we all know. Many in our community have faced significant challenges. And yet, 2021 also highlighted our community’s strength, resilience, and compassion. I encourage you

The Power of Listening

I recently watched Worth, the biopic about DC attorney Kenneth Feinberg and his administration of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. I first met Ken through his wife, Dede Feinberg, former president of Federation

Honoring our Community Builders

Last night, I had the pleasure of gathering with many local community and real estate industry leaders for an event more than two years in the making: Cornerstone. I’m still feeling energized by the momentum from the evening, blown away by the $1.25 million

Standing Together in Community

Every year during Kol Nidre services on erev Yom Kippur, I am struck by how we begin with this collective prayer. We stand together as a community, confessing our guilt and asking for

9/11 and the Importance of Memory

This week, as my family and I celebrated Rosh Hashanah, my mind has also been on those we lost on 9/11 twenty years ago. My family, like so many others, is

A Time of Transitions

Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) begins Monday evening, and I imagine I’m not alone in thinking about transitions. This past year has been one of constant changes, pivots, and

Welcoming the Stranger

Many of us are watching the situation in Afghanistan with growing alarm and worry. As I write, it’s been about two weeks since Kabul fell to the Taliban. Nearly 90,000

Federation’s Endowment Fund and Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area Partner to Support Afghan Refugee Resettlement

Washington, DC, August 26, 2021. The DC region is a key hub for Afghan refugees resettling in the United States on Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). With a critical influx of

A Northern Virginia Update: Looking Back and Forward at Jewish Life in NOVA

As The Jewish Federation’s Field Manager for Northern Virginia (NOVA), I am grateful to the nearly 100 of you who met with me during my first few months in the role.

Present in the Garden

Last week, our Federation professional team came together at a local taproom. It was the first in-person gathering we’ve had in a year and a half. There was no agenda,

Living With Ambiguity

Last Sunday, we observed Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. This fast day commemorates five historic calamities, including the destruction of the first and second

Thinking Locally and Acting Globally

Last week, I reflected on my hope that some of the changes brought about by the pandemic are here to stay. I’ve continued to consider the potential implications of these

Pandemic Lessons for a Post-pandemic World

On July 11th, please join Federation and many other organizations for a rally at the U.S. Capitol—No Fear: A Rally In Solidarity with the Jewish People.  On a recent sunny afternoon,

Jewish Life in America: Writing the Roadmap

Two years ago, in a learning session led by Federation and the Shalom Hartman Institute, participants were asked, “do you believe America’s relationship with the Jewish community is unique? Or

Joy, Community, Identity, and S’mores

Our hearts and thoughts are with the Miami community following the devastating building collapse in Surfside, FL. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has established an emergency assistance fund to support those impacted
Incoming Jewish Agency shlicha Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh with outgoing Chairman of The Jewish Agency and Israels President-elect Isaac Herzog 1

Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh to Become The Jewish Agency for Israel’s and The Jewish Federation’s First Druze Emissary

Druze former Knesset member appointed Israeli emissary to Washington, DC and North American Campuses Jerusalem, June 22, 2021 — The Jewish Agency for Israel and The Jewish Federation of Greater

Obligated to See

When I was in Israel a couple of weeks ago, something caught my eye. In the entry way of the Hinam Center for Social Tolerance in Abu Ghosh outside of
Where We Go From Here: A Webinar on Federation’s Rabbinic Mission to Israel (Recording)

Where We Go From Here: A Webinar on Federation’s Rabbinic Mission to Israel (Recording)

Thank you to those who joined us for the webinar on Federation’s Rabbinic Mission to Israel, featuring participants Rabbi Aaron Alexander, Maharat Ruth Friedman, Rabbi Shira Stutman, and Rabbi Stuart

Striding Forward

The 2020 Pew Research Report on American Jews underscores our different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives on Jewish identity. The survey found the next generation of Jews is growing racially and

Jewish and Democratic

I spent the last three days on a Federation Rabbinic Mission trip to Israel with a group of eight rabbis from Greater Washington. As one of the first groups to
Image of Israel with sun in sky and text overlaid reads: Rabbinic Mission to Israel

Sharing the Latest from on the Ground: A Message from Shari Merrill

I am proud to share the latest from our Federation Rabbinic Mission to Israel, which concludes today following a whirlwind 57 hours on the ground.

Rabbi Nissan Antine of Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah

Rabbi Nissan Antine of Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah

Follow Rabbi Nissan Antine’s Updates on Facebook

Rabbi Greg Harris of Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County

Rabbi Greg Harris of Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County

Follow Rabbi Greg Harris’s Updates on Facebook

Photo of Rabbi Hyim Shafner

Rabbi Hyim Shafner of Kesher Israel: The Georgetown Synagogue

This week I am in Israel on a trip with eight rabbis from the Washington area and the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. The purpose of the

Rabbi Michael Safra of B’nai Israel

Rabbi Michael Safra of B’nai Israel

I can’t believe I’m doing this. 6,000 miles each way to spend two-and-a-half days in Israel. I met up with our group—8 rabbis and the CEO of the Jewish Federation

Image of Israel with sun in sky and text overlaid reads: Rabbinic Mission to Israel

Federation’s Rabbinic Mission to Israel: A Message from Zach Briton

I am proud to share with you that last night, our CEO, Gil Preuss, and a cohort of rabbis and spiritual leaders from congregations across Greater Washington embarked on a

Speaking Truth to All

Earlier this spring, the ADL released their 2020 audit of antisemitic incidents in the United States. The report found last year’s numbers to be the third highest on record since
Photo of CEO Gil Preuss at Podium

Responding to Needs in Israel

As the region begins to recover from the most dramatic escalation of violence in more than a decade, The Jewish Federation remains committed to helping those struggling in its wake.

A Vital Pursuit

A couple of weeks ago, Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman spoke at a Federation and Shalom Hartman Institute leadership convening. Among the many points he made, one in particular struck me:

Responding to the Crisis in Israel

As the unprecedented, sustained attacks by Hamas continue on Israeli citizens, Federation unequivocally supports Israel’s right to defend itself. We are working closely with our global partners to ensure that

An Opportunity to Make a Difference

Jews around the world will soon celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. In addition to welcoming the spring harvest, Shavuot commemorates a seminal event in Jewish religious memory. It is said
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Building Blocks of Community

We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of life during last night’s Lag B’Omer celebration in northern Israel. Our thoughts are with the many families who lost loved ones. May
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

The Continuous Pursuit of Justice

Many Jews cite the mandate to pursue justice as one of Judaism’s most inspiring teachings and a value that defines their connection to Jewish life. The idea that we are
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

The Next Chapter in Our Relationship with Israel

As a teenager, I used to wear a shirt that read “Israel Is Real.” This statement operated on a couple of levels (though I may not have appreciated it at
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Good Deeds Year

Throughout the Passover break, I found myself standing in my backyard thinking of all the things I had meant to accomplish during quarantine. I had ambitions of constructing raised flower beds. Of planting vegetables. Of becoming a tried-and-true gardener.
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Agents of Hope

To me, Passover is a ritual with the perfect blend of continuity and innovation. Indeed, many of us find comfort in Passover’s familiar structure. Every year, Jews around the world
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

On Building a Community of Belonging

We just passed the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. These past twelve months have had a profound impact on us all and have highlighted just how much individual experiences
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Reuniting with Israel

In one of her first articles of the year, professor and thought leader Dr. Erica Brown wrote about what it might feel like to revive dormant friendships once COVID-19 finally
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Keep the Evolution Going

As Zoom Happy Hours gave way to Zoom Seders, Zoom break-fasts, and eventually Zoom menorah lightings, it became clear that our year of living digitally would have lasting impacts on

Molly Gravholt Named New Chief Financial & Administrative Officer of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

WASHINGTON, DC (February 25, 2021)—The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to announce that Molly Gravholt will become its first Chief Financial & Administrative Officer. Gravholt will officially begin

Meet Molly Gravholt, Federation’s New Chief Financial & Administrative Officer

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to welcome Molly Gravholt to our professional team as our Chief Financial & Administrative Officer. Learn more about Molly’s background, what excites

A Camp for All Children

A reflection by Lisa Handelman, Director of Capital Camps In late spring 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Capital Camps received several emails from parents who shared that there

Flourishing in Jewish Day School

A reflection from Lianne Heller, Executive Director of Sulam When you meet Elana Orlofsky, you will quickly learn that she is a sweet, bubbly, and friendly teenager who loves art,

MOST™ Program Opens Door to Adulthood Through Virtual Spaces

A reflection from Marcy Bennett, Director of MOST Programs and Northern Virginia Residential Services Jewish Foundation for Group Homes Bridging the gap between the completion of secondary school and joining

Making Sense of “Mindful Masculinity”

By Max Meizlish Few things in America are removed from politics, and gender is definitely not among them. Leading up to the 2020 election, major news outlets provided breathless coverage

Meet Jolie Band, the ”Brownie Queen” of Federation partner Sunflower Bakery

A reflection from Federation partner, Sunflower Bakery “Learning differences made it hard at college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” This was the dilemma facing 23-year-old Jolie Band,

From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Why We Remember

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date was chosen to reflect the day on which the largest Nazi concentration camp,

Introducing Rinat Kisin, Federation Inclusion Specialist

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to welcome Rinat Kisin to our professional team as our Inclusion & Belonging Specialist. Learn more about Rinat’s background, what she sees

From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Thank You for Stepping Up

Over the past few years, I have watched as individuals have gone out of their way to contribute to sustaining Jewish Greater Washington. Federation’s Annual Campaign, for instance, customarily receives donations from thousands of people across multiple zip codes who all want to make a difference, care for our community’s
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

On Pausing to Read

I started writing this reflection two weeks ago. After watching what unfolded on January 6, however, I chose to set this draft aside and focus on the historic and heartbreaking
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The Words I Will Remember

The poet Adrienne Rich described the power of language as the power to define “our ultimate relationship to everything in the universe.” She might agree that when it comes to
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

A New Extraordinary

We did not ask for a portal between an old world and a new one, but the pandemic has given us just that. The crises of 2020 created a fissure

Charity Navigator Recognizes The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington as a Four-Star Charity

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This

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Paying Tribute to Our Lay Leaders

This year, as individuals and as a community, we have faced demands never before seen in our lifetimes. We have been asked to think and act differently and consider ideas
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Building Trust as a Community

Division has been a consistent theme of this year. As a country, we entered 2020 alarmingly fractured and then a contentious election and staggering public health crisis only deepened our
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

A Reason to Give

This year asked a lot of you—and you responded with generosity of spirit and resources. Over the course of the last several months, our community raised $5.2 million for Federation's

VIDEO – State of the Community: A Webinar with Federation CEO Gil Preuss

An engaging and encouraging discussion about the state of our community and Federation's work, with Federation CEO Gil Preuss and Heather Moran, CEO & Executive Director of Sixth & I.
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

A Thanksgiving Message from Our CEO, Gil Preuss

Thanksgiving 2020 is going to feel very different, regardless of what our plans may look like. Even if we can safely see a few family members or friends, others will
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – November 6, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

As I write this, the results of the presidential election are crystallizing but remain unclear. We do not yet have an official call about the path our country will travel.
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – October 27, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Today, we remember the eleven people killed during the October 27, 2018 attack in Pittsburgh. I know the pain and horror of that day still feel very real. As Jews,
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Weekly Reflection – October 23, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Many of us will spend time in the next two weeks voting and volunteering, donating and discussing, all so that we might have an impact on the future of our
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Weekly Reflection – October 16, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

This has been a season of tending to immediate and short-term needs. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have joined with the Greater Washington Jewish community in raising and
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Weekly Reflection – October 9, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

The pandemic may have put some security issues on hold but, unfortunately, it has not decreased the need to remain proactive and vigilant against those who would do us harm.
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – October 2, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

We made it through the first-ever “remote” Yom Kippur. Some, like my daughter in Colorado, joined socially-distanced in-person services, but most of us observed the day at home, online. I
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – September 25, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

The Jewish people are a people of memory. As teacher and thinker Avraham Infeld describes, the Jewish experience is characterized not simply by history—learning about and recounting past events—but by
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – September 17, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Tomorrow, Jews around the world will pause our busy lives to greet the new Jewish year. Rosh Hashanah is a holiday layered with meaning, but at its core, it is
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Weekly Reflection – September 11, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Today, on the nineteenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, I begin this reflection with a remembrance of the thousands of lives lost on that tragic day. May their memories be
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Caring for our Community

There is no doubt this has been a challenging summer in Greater Washington. But I am optimistic about our future because I continue to see community members consistently and compassionately
Security Updates & Resources

Federation & Secure Community Network: Continued Collaboration to Secure our Community

  While many of us have been working remotely and our facilities largely closed these last few months, Federation’s security team, in partnership with Secure Community Network, has been actively

From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Weekly Reflection – July 31, 2020

Yesterday, we observed Tisha B’Av, a day reserved in the Hebrew calendar for solemn reflection. Traditionally, Jews spend this day fasting and mourning the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem
Tisha B’Av teaches us to pause and mourn and appreciate what we no longer have—so long as we don’t stop at self-pity. …Our collective Jewish memory must be more expansive. As the sages of the Talmud (a collection of rabbinic commentaries) stated, “On the day the Temple was destroyed, the Messiah was born.” That is: Out of the flames of tragedy and loss come the sparks of redemption and change.

Lessons from Tisha B’Av: From Tragedy and Loss, Comes Life and New Beginnings

A reflection from Master Teacher Avi West It looks like the year 2020 will be remembered as one of those pivotal points in history when the world changed. Almost every newscast, television

From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – July 24, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve noticed an uptick in photos of freshly baked challah, newly planted gardens, and handmade crafts in my social media feeds. I have watched
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – July 17, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Many of my recent conversations with community members and leaders have focused on concerns about what this coming fall is going to look like. When the COVID-19 pandemic first began,
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Strengthening our Culture of Collaboration

Like many in our community, I recently crossed the threshold of 100 days spent mostly at home. These have not been easy days for our community as many people have
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Weekly Reflection – July 2, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

As we plan for what will certainly be a different kind of Fourth of July celebration than those of years past, I have been considering the work ahead, both for
Call 703-J-CARING, the Jewish community support line.

Introducing 703-J-CARING: The Jewish Community Support Line

  The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, JSSA, and a network of DMV Jewish human service organizations have launched a support line to help Jewish community members access resources. July

From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Finding Meaning in a Summer Without Jewish Camp

This week, my calendar reminded me to drop off my children at Jewish overnight camp. Every year, I look forward to this special ritual of taking one or more of
Little girl is sitting and reading a holy book. Concept for faith, hope and spirituality.

Hillel: A Sage for All Seasons…and for a Pandemic

A reflection from Avi West, Master Teacher, Federation’s Department of Jewish Leadership & Learning  The coronavirus pandemic has upended our very way of life as a community and unleashed a cascade of crises affecting individuals and society

Apple on books in front of classroom chalkboard

A Study in Resilience: Our Jewish Day Schools in a Time of Crisis

How Greater Washington’s Jewish Day Schools Kept Children and their Families Engaged & Connected During COVID-19 The month of June marks the end of a tumultuous school year and the

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Weekly Reflection – June 19, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

During the past three months, I have been reflecting on the ways the Jewish community is responding to these challenging and rapidly changing times. More specifically, I have wondered what
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Creating Communities of Belonging

Like many of you, I have been thinking, reading, and talking about race and racism quite frequently in recent days. Our country and communities continue to grapple with explicit and
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Weekly Reflection – June 5, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

As we wrap up a challenging week in a challenging season, it feels appropriate to pause and reflect on where we go from here as a community. I began this
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Reflecting on Values and Responsibilities

Over the past few months, I have written about the tendency to turn inward, to isolate in our homes and protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors from the threats
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Making Help Easy to Find

Nearly 800,000 people in Greater Washington have sought jobless benefits. Within the Jewish community, we have seen requests for interest-free loans increase by six-fold. People are searching for support when
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Weekly Reflection – May 22, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

There is a line in the Talmud that says in facing judgement, we will be asked to account for all the things we saw and did not eat (Kiddushin 48b).
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Coming Together in Common Purpose and Effective Action

This is the time when the rubber meets the road. For the past several years, those with an eye toward the future of the Jewish community have been underscoring the

From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Strengthening What Sustains Us

A couple of years ago, I started toying with the question, what is the next big American Jewish project? It was clear by then that we had a crucial and

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Weekly Reflection – April 24, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

In many ways, our worlds have shrunk over the last few weeks. We are sticking close to home, keeping tabs on our circle of loved ones, and paying close attention
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Weekly Reflection – April 17, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

Living as we are through a period that will undoubtedly be remembered in the history books, it might feel odd to set aside time to consider our past. But as
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Harnessing Our Social Ties for Good

This Passover will indeed be different than all others. In a few days, we will gather around physical and virtual seder tables to tell the story of the Exodus from
Join the global movement to Do Good—From Home!

Join the global movement to Do Good—From Home!

On Sunday, March 29, people around the world joined together for a different type of global Good Deeds Day. From community cleanups to food deliveries, and from phone calls to

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Weekly Reflection – March 27, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

If there is anything that this pandemic has laid bare, it is how interdependent we are. Patients need healthcare workers. Restaurants need patrons. Students need teachers. People need friends, and
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Creating Community in a Time of Social Distancing

Historically, particularly in times of crisis, Jews turn to their synagogues and other spiritual gathering places to find solace and a sense of community. This is true for Americans of
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Weekly Reflection – March 13, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

In a recent article, Rabbi Reuven Fink of New Rochelle, NY wrote about the effect the coronavirus has had on him and his congregation. He described the many tough disruptions but
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead: Building Emotional Connections with Israel

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. This past week, Israel held its third parliamentary election
Purim and Zionism: Hearing the Call to Take Personal Responsibility

Purim and Zionism: Hearing the Call to Take Personal Responsibility

A reflection from Avi West, Master Teacher of Federation’s Jewish Leadership & Learning Department As Purim approaches, many of us look forward to the costumes, the carnivals, those triangular pastries

This Purim, Be a Force for Good in the World

This Purim, Be a Force for Good in the World

  By Avi West, Federation’s Senior Education Officer and Master Teacher As Purim approaches, many of us look forward to the costumes, the carnivals, and “scrolling” through the Book of

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Weekly Reflection – February 28, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

If we took a comprehensive look at the landscape of Jewish Greater Washington, we would recognize a plethora of stellar organizations—large, small, established, and burgeoning. In fact, many of us
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead to the Main Event

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. No conversation about the Jewish future would be complete
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Weekly Reflection – February 14, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is committed to building a vibrant, connected, and flourishing Jewish community. To achieve this vision, we are working closely with long-time partners and new
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead: The Essential Role of Jewish Education

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. A couple months ago, I read a paper that
The State of Disability Inclusion in Greater Washington

The State of Disability Inclusion in Greater Washington

A reflection from Lisa Handelman, Federation’s Disability Inclusion Specialist. “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” (Pirkei Avot 2:21). This
From our CEO, Gil Preuss on blue background with Gil's headshot

Weekly Reflection – January 31, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

For many people (though certainly not all), growing up Jewish meant being a passive consumer of something that felt beyond our grasp. Knowledge of Jewish texts, history, and tradition remained
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead: The Next Chapter in Inclusion

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. At The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, we are
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Engaging Community Builders in Learning Through a Jewish Lens

When we began our partnership with the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America last year, our series dove into issues relating to Jewish identity and the American Jewish relationship with
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

Looking Ahead: Shining a Spotlight on Seniors

This is part of a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond.   To describe Jewish Greater Washington’s seniors is to describe a cohort
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Weekly Reflection – January 3, 2020: A Message from Gil Preuss

It feels odd to start the new year speaking of anger and frustration, but I know that is what many of us are feeling in light of the recent anti-Semitic
Looking Ahead: Engaging Millennials at a New Life Stage

Looking Ahead: Engaging Millennials at a New Life Stage

This is the first in a series of messages about the way we are thinking about our work in 2020 and beyond. It was the poet Mark Strand who said,

Persian Jewish Congregation Victimized by Vandalism

This weekend, another American Jewish community was victimized by vandalism. This time, it was the Nessah Synagogue, a Persian Jewish congregation in Beverly Hills, California. While police are still investigating this hate

A message from our CEO

Our Added Value

I often meet with potential donors as part of my capacity as CEO. During both informal and formal meetings, I do my best to communicate the unique role Federation plays

CEO, Gil Preuss, Speaks with Fox 5 DC Following Deadly Shooting in Jersey City

Events like this remind us that we must maintain heightened awareness and vigilance. In partnership with the Secure Community Network (SCN), Federation remains committed to the safety and security of
Security Updates & Resources

Safety and Security Awareness Update

Over the past week, there have been several unrelated incidents of concern in our community – a noncredible threat at a JCC, anti-Semitic graffiti at a synagogue, and a suspicious

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Weekly Reflection – December 6, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Jewish tradition is known for its multitude of opinions and its complex, consequential, and utterly fascinating debates. For thousands of years, our ability to disagree with each other has been
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Weekly Reflection – December 20, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

We continue to see a frightening pattern of anti-Semitic violence nationally and globally. From Williamsburg to Berlin, campus quads to synagogues to halls of power, we have watched with grief
Group of young friends having traditional dinner on Thanksgiving Day

Broadening Our Thanksgiving Horizon

A reflection from Avi West, Master Teacher of Federation’s Jewish Education Department The Jewish Fall Festivals took us on a journey, turning us “inside out.” Yom Kippur, The Day of

Carrying the Torch of Jewish Community

Carrying the Torch of Jewish Community

As my family prepares for Thanksgiving and my kids prepare to journey home from their various posts, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to pass on
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Weekly Reflection – November 22, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the many ways you have helped guide our community and our organization this year.

Get to Know Robert Graves, Our Regional Director of Security for Greater Washington

Federation is pleased to introduce Robert Graves, our community’s Regional Director of Security with Secure Community Network (SCN), the official security and safety organization of the American Jewish community. We
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Weekly Reflection – November 8, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

I believe that whatever the Jewish future may look like, it is going to be shaped by those with a passion for Jewish community. It is no coincidence that some
Strengthening a Global Jewish Community in a Changing World

Strengthening a Global Jewish Community in a Changing World

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Board of Governors meeting. During our time together, we discussed the many ways the organization is evolving

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Secure Community Network Announce New Regional Security Advisor

With U.S. Military and FBI background, Robert Graves brings more than 35 years of experience to the position; will support Federation’s Security Task Force  WASHINGTON, DC –The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, in
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Weekly Reflection – October 25, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Nearly one year ago, 11 innocent people were murdered at the Tree of Life building in Pittsburgh. As we approach this solemn day, The Jewish Federation and the JCRC remain
Community and Collective Memory

Community and Collective Memory

On October 27, we will mark one year since the horrifying attack on the congregations at the Tree of Life building in Pittsburgh. It is a moment that will live
Flash Philanthropy: Dinner, Drinks, and Doing Good!

Flash Philanthropy: Dinner, Drinks, and Doing Good!

On Thursday, November 7, a passionate group of Jewish 20s & 30s from across the DMV will gather for Federation's Flash Philanthropy: a one-night-only giving circle experience. Presented by Federation’s
Aspiring to Perfection and Embracing Brokenness

Aspiring to Perfection and Embracing Brokenness

A Reflection from Avi West, Master Teacher of Federation’s Jewish Education Department Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is marked with penitential prayers and fasting, all focused on repairing our

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Weekly Reflection – October 4, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

I want to take this opportunity to say G'mar Chatima Tova (may you be inscribed in the book of life) and share with you what I wrote in this week’s Federation 5: Including

The Power of Cabinet: A Reflection by Matthew Berger

From the moment I walked into the hotel lobby in Toronto, I felt engulfed in community. Hugs from friends old and new. Excitement about the time we were about to

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Weekly Reflection – September 27, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Our community can be pretty self-critical. We like to talk about all the things we could be doing better or differently and hash out all the ways we could be
Welcome Ariel Kurland, Federation’s New Director of Young Leadership

Welcome Ariel Kurland, Federation’s New Director of Young Leadership

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to welcome Ariel Kurland to our professional team as the new director of Young Leadership. We sat down with Ariel to learn

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Weekly Reflection – September 13, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

In a few days, Israelis will go to the polls to vote in the country’s second general election in just six months. Many of us—across all generations—care deeply about the
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Weekly Reflection – August 16, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Earlier this month, I published an article in eJewish Philanthropy responding to two thoughtful pieces about the evolution of power and influence in the Jewish community. My focus is less about where influence lies and

Where We Go from Here: A Statement from Gil Preuss on the Recent Mass Shootings

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington joins the entire Jewish community in mourning the victims of recent mass shooting attacks in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio. In
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Weekly Reflection – August 2, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

We are approaching the saddest day of the year on the Jewish calendar. Tisha B’Av comes at the end of a three-week period of mourning and marks the date of several disasters
Federation 2.0 and the New Power of the Collective:  A Response to Yehuda Kurtzer and Andrés Spokoiny

Federation 2.0 and the New Power of the Collective: A Response to Yehuda Kurtzer and Andrés Spokoiny

By Gil Preuss Recently, two articles addressed changes in the American Jewish landscape. In “’The Establishment’ Has No Clothes: The New Jewish ‘Influence Economy’,” Yehuda Kurtzer argues that power within

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Weekly Reflection – July 26, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

This week, my daughter returned home from overnight, Jewish summer camp. For those with pre-teens and teenagers in the house, you know what a whirlwind of energy and excitement (and
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Weekly Reflection – July 19, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Decentralization is a central theme of this century. Within the Jewish community, as well as on stages local, national, and global, we are seeing the breakdown of institutions and the
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Weekly Reflection – July 12, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

I have written to you recently about Federation’s strategic plan, our core priorities, and some of the ways that we are bringing our strategy to life. A key component of
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Weekly Reflection – June 14, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

I must admit that I am troubled by the nature of discourse about Israel these days. An issue that used to unite us is now seen as one that divides
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Weekly Reflection – May 31, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

It is interesting to think about how we celebrate different Jewish holidays over time. Frequently, the nature of our celebration reflects an evolving Jewish history and changes in the Jewish

Federation Allocates Over $1 Million Dollars to Innovative and Impactful Jewish Communal Initiatives

Latest phase of Federation’s Strategic Planning Process funds work focused on Engaging the Next Generation and Strengthening Jewish Life in Northern VA. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington announced the

A message from our CEO

A Country and a Homeland

“Well-meaning people used to say that a Jewish state would be an answer to all Jewish questions. In truth, however, the State of Israel is a challenge to many of
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Weekly Reflection – May 3, 2019: A Message from Gil Preuss

Six months ago, after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, I wrote to you about the heartache we felt and the questions we faced as a community. In

Statement on Shabbat Shooting at Chabad of Poway, CA

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and our Greater Washington Jewish community are angry and horrified by yet another senseless, violent, antisemitic attack

IEF 2019 Graduates Group Photo

Mazel Tov to the 2019 Israel Engagement Fellowship Graduates

A Reflection from Samantha Vinokor-Meinrath, Senior Program Officer, Federation’s Jewish Education Department On Sunday, April 10, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) hosted

A message from our CEO

From Family to Fellow Believers: A Message from Gil Preuss

Two weeks ago, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Congregational Shlichim Program was honored by The Jewish Agency for Israel. The program, which places Israeli young adults in schools, synagogues,
A message from our CEO

Marking the Occasion: A Message from Gil Preuss

“I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.” - William Shakespeare I want to say thank you. Thank you for being an integral
A message from our CEO

Investing in a Brighter Communal Future: A Message from Gil Preuss

Chanukah is a holiday of many lessons. It reminds us to persevere despite the odds and to stand up for what we believe in. It also reminds us that when
Broadcasting the Light of the Chanukah Miracle

Broadcasting the Light of the Chanukah Miracle

Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, when we celebrate the miracle of the Jewish people overcoming tyranny in the Land of Israel. One of the central ideas of Chanukah is

Meet Shari Merrill, Federation’s New Chief Impact Officer

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to welcome Shari Merrill to our professional team as our new Chief Impact Officer. We sat down with Shari to learn more

A message from our CEO

I Am Thankful for You: A Message from Gil Preuss

“How strange we are in the world, and how presumptuous our doings! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right

A Message from Our CEO Gil Preuss: United in the Face of Hatred

On Monday, October 29, The Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council hosted a communal service at Adas Israel Congregation to honor the victims of the attack in Pittsburgh.

Statement on Shabbat Mass Shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (JFGW) and The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) are horrified and heartbroken by the despicable murderous attack at the Tree of

Federation Welcomes Shari Merrill as New Chief Impact Officer

WASHINGTON, DC (October 15, 2018)—The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is proud to announce that Shari Merrill will become its first Chief Impact Officer. Merrill will officially begin her new

A message from our CEO

Who We Want to Be: A Message from Gil Preuss

In a few days, we will have the opportunity to celebrate the start of a new year and once again reflect on the many ways we can narrow the gap between our actions and our
Federation grants $100,000 to first-time campers

Federation grants $100,000 to first-time campers

For the past eight years, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has partnered with The Foundation for Jewish Camp’s One Happy Camper, a program that facilitates 100% Federation-funded grant distribution

Welcome Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, Federation’s New Scholar-in-Residence!

Welcome Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, Federation’s New Scholar-in-Residence!

When I was a little kid, I used to make my parents crazy because I liked to break my toys open. Sure, I played with my toys. But I inevitably became

A message from our CEO

Building Community & Civic Life: A July 4th Message from Gil Preuss

The topics of community and responsibility come up often in my conversations and have been at the forefront of our work in defining the role Federation can and should play
Drag Queen Story Time and Havdalah Celebrates Message of Inclusion and Self-Acceptance

Drag Queen Story Time and Havdalah Celebrates Message of Inclusion and Self-Acceptance

By Sarah Rabin Spira, Manager, PJ Library Glitter and drag queens and family Havdalah service—oh my!  The recent Drag Queen Story Time and Havdalah embodies The Jewish Federation of Greater

A message from our CEO

What Brings Us Together: A Message from Gil Preuss

Since last August, when I began as CEO of The Jewish Federation, I have enjoyed getting to know hundreds and hundreds of people across DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. The

A message from our CEO

Making our Voices Heard: A Message from our CEO

It’s no secret that Greater Washington is home to thousands of committed, generous and passionate people – those who lead by example, who stand strong in their convictions and who
A message from our CEO

[email protected]: A Personal Reflection from Our CEO

When I was a child growing up in Jerusalem in the early 1970s, Israel was a very different place than the one we know today. It was, in many ways,
Houston, we’ve got your back!

Houston, we’ve got your back!

By Jeff Rum Six months after Hurricane Harvey, the post-traumatic stress in this community runs rampant. Parents are trying to hold it together as they decide whether to rebuild or

A message from our CEO

The Gift of the Passover Seder: A Message from Our CEO

As we prepare to begin our Passover celebrations this evening, I am reminded of a quote by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov that feels especially pertinent today. "The Exodus from Egypt,”

The Conversations We Need to Be Having: A Message from Our CEO

This is conference season in the Jewish community. Many organizations will be holding major events and meetings, and important business will get done. I’ve attended hundreds of these gatherings and

Celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day 2018

By Sarah Rabin Spira Theodor Geisel chose the pen name “Dr. Seuss” because his father wanted him to be a doctor. (Seuss is his mother’s birth name.) How lucky for

A message from our CEO

Announcing the 2017 Greater Washington Jewish Community Demographic Study

“The mission of Jewish leaders in the 21st century should be how to ensure the continued, significant renaissance of the Jewish people, ensuring a sense of belonging by every Jew
From our CEO, Gil Preuss.

This JDAIM, Learning from Those Who Lead by Example

By Gil Preuss Did you know that January 26 is Dental Drill Appreciation Day? By chance, I had a dentist appointment that day, where I was surprised to learn that

Keeping Our Hearts Open: A Message from Our CEO

By Gil Preuss “Action is the only remedy to indifference: the most insidious danger of all.” – Elie Wiesel My wife and I joined our son, Yoni, for a visit

A message from our CEO

A Stone of Hope: A Message from Our CEO Gil Preuss

  “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ”To be a Jew is to help heal a broken world.” – Rabbi Lord Jonathan

A message from our CEO

A New Year’s Message from Gil Preuss

As we approach the end of December, I am writing to thank you for all that you have done this past year. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help

The New Tax Law and Charitable Giving

The New Tax Law and Charitable Giving

  Chances are, you’re wondering about the effects of the new tax law or how the stock market will do next year. One thing is for sure: Things are going

Investing in our Future: A Message from Federation CEO Gil Preuss

As CEO of The Jewish Federation, I have the unique opportunity to connect with many of the talented and committed people who lead and sustain Jewish Greater Washington through their

A message from the CEO: Personal reflections on Jerusalem

Living in Jerusalem as a young child after the six-day war, I was able to wander the streets, walk through the old city, visit the Kotel (Western Wall) and go

Civic Discourse, Not Civil War: A Message from Federation CEO Gil Preuss

With Chanukah’s approach, I’ve been giving some thought to the true origins of the holiday, and how they mirror some of the challenges we face as a society today. The

Thanksgiving’s Jewish Roots and Wings: A Message from Federation CEO Gil Preuss

As Thanksgiving draws near, you may be planning for the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie …. but have you considered preparing four questions for table talk?  The idea

An Ethiopian Jew Makes Aliyah A Second Time

An Ethiopian Jew Makes Aliyah A Second Time

Federation’s former Senior Shlicha (emissary), Pnina Agenyahu shares a personal recount of her return to Israel after four years with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. “In November 1984 my

Celebrate Our Local Teacher-Treasures at ROUTES

By Avi West In a commentary on the Song of Songs, tradition maintains that “Teachers and students are society’s most beautiful ornaments!”  On November 5th, a sample of sacred Jewish

A Message from Federation’s CEO: Israel YOUR Way 2017

I have just returned from Federation’s Israel YOUR Way Mission to Israel, alongside nearly one hundred of our passionate and dedicated Greater Washington community members. Throughout our journey, we saw

Whose Children Are We?

This year’s High Holiday season arrived during a particularly tumultuous time. It is difficult to know how to cope when faced with what has felt like an endless series of

Federation Stands with Las Vegas

Federation Stands with Las Vegas

We awoke this morning to the horrifying news of another mass shooting – this time in Las Vegas at a country music concert – that left at least 58 dead

Don’t Judge a Sukkah by its Cover:  A Sukkot Message from Federation’s CEO

Don’t Judge a Sukkah by its Cover: A Sukkot Message from Federation’s CEO

There is a wonderfully comforting prayer that is a part of the daily evening service in Jewish tradition. As the night falls with all its related anxieties, we ask the

On the Ground in Houston

On the Ground in Houston

By Avital Ingber I arrived in Houston on Wednesday afternoon. As the plane was landing, I glared out the window trying to see the devastation and destruction. I was shocked to

An Update on Hurricane Harvey Relief

Avital Ingber, who will become the CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston this November, shared a personal reflection following a visit to Houston this week in support of

A message from the CEO

It is my honor to address you in this first edition of our Federation 5 newsletter. As the new CEO of The Jewish Federation, I am excited to be joining

CJP exec Gil Preuss to lead Washington’s Jewish federation

This story originally appeared in Washington Jewish Week. It may not be the quickest turnaround time in history, but given the little more than two weeks between his appointment Wednesday

Meet Federation’s New CEO, Gil Preuss

Gil Preuss has worked at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston for the past 13 years most recently as the Executive Vice President. As the Executive Vice President, Gil oversaw

Viewing the Solar Eclipse through a Jewish lens

Today, we will have the opportunity to experience a natural phenomenon that in ancient times was thought to portend disaster, but is now considered very inspiring. The difference is knowledge

Gil Preuss named CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Gil Preuss named CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Gil Preuss Named New Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington WASHINGTON, DC (Thursday, August 17, 2017) – The Jewish

Notes from the FRD Leadership Mission

Avital Ingber, Zach Briton, Jeff Distenfeld, Norm Pozez and Jeff Rum recently returned from the FRD Leadership Mission to Kiev, Ukraine and Israel. below are notes from Zach and Avital

Between Us: Let’s talk about kvetching

In this week’s parasha, Beha’alotecha, the Israelites—after being in the wilderness for what seems like an eternity—are hungry, thirsty and uncertain about whether they will ever reach the Promised Land.

Between Us: Let’s talk about humility

This week’s portion, the first in the Book of Numbers, is called Bamidbar. The English title of this book comes from the census taken of the Israelites as commanded to Moses

Between Us: Let’s talk about being ready

This week’s double parasha, Behar-Bechukotai, finishes up the Book of Leviticus. We are told repeatedly of the choice between following God’s commandments and disobeying. With the former, we will live well;

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

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,

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

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

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,

How To Build A More Inclusive Jewish Community

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

Strengthening the Collective Us: Celebrating JDAIM

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).

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

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

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

Between Us: Let’s talk about being open to change

Oh, the drama!  In this week’s parasha – Vayigash – Joseph is reunited with his brothers after many years apart.  He reveals himself after initially tricking them into believing that

Between Us: Let’s talk about…what’s in a name

This week’s parasha, Miketz, contains Pharaoh’s famous dream of seven fat cows and seven lean cows, which Joseph interprets before he is subsequently appointed Egypt’s Prime Minister. Later in the parasha,

Imagine Israel Podcast #2: In Israel, religious pluralism is like a pizza

Chaya Gilboa, visionary activist on the issue of Israeli religious reform, shares her desire for social change in Israel. In a country where politics are religious and religion is political, Chaya

Between Us: Let’s talk about….lighting the darkness

This week’s Torah portion – Vayeshev – begins with a brief sentence: “Jacob dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings, the land of Canaan.” Commentators note the intimation that Jacob

Between Us: Let’s talk about dealing with it

In this week’s parasha, Vayishlach, the famous wrestling match between Jacob and the mysterious stranger is among the more curious portions of the Torah. As Jacob prepared to meet his estranged

Young Leadership Spotlight: Marisa Ezrine – our new YL Director

What are you most excited about in your new role as the Young Leadership Director? I am most excited about getting to know all of the wonderful members of the

The Biblical Roots of Ethiopian Blessed Bread

The Biblical Roots of Ethiopian Blessed Bread

Israeli women from the Ethiopian Jewish community pray during the Sigd holiday. The Ethiopian-Jewish community marks Sigd, a holiday of self-examination with prayers and fasting, broken with a ceremonial challah-style

Federation Speaks Out Against Hate

A message from Steven A. Rakitt and Robert Zahler It has been a month since Election Day. While we recognize that intense discussions are part of our country’s democratic process, we

Maryland Hillel and Ethiopian Jewish community Imagine Israel

Maryland Hillel and Ethiopian Jewish community Imagine Israel

Funded by an Imagine Israel grant, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington joined the University of Maryland (UMD) Hillel to commemorate the Ethiopian Jewish holiday, Sigd. On December 1, Maryland

man and woman studying in the library

Expert Tips For Making Your Workplace Less Stressful

Creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcomed and can be their authentic selves is important for the well-being of workers. According to the American Institute of Stress, “job stress

Federation’s Teen Philanthropy Fuels Next Generation of Givers

Federation’s Teen Philanthropy Fuels Next Generation of Givers

Federation’s Jteen Philanthropy program is featured in online publication, Sentinel. Jewish teen Philanthropy (Jteen) is a leadership program where a group of 38 teenagers from the Greater Washington area collaborate,

Between Us: Let’s talk about the power of words

Parashat Toldot contains the famous story of the twins Jacob and Esau, and how Jacob, with his mother’s help, tricks their father Isaac into giving him the blessing reserved for

Between Us: Let’s talk about a Happy Thanksgiving!

Although it is called Chayei Sarah (“the life of Sarah”), this week’s parasha is actually about her death, the acquisition of a burial site for her by Abraham and his

Between Us: Let’s talk about the sound of silence

This week’s parasha, Vayeira, is filled with action, dialogue, suspense and, most intriguing of all, silence. One of the most famous scenes of the Torah – the Akedah, or the Binding

Popular DC Magazine features our debut Change Maker

Metro Weekly, the popular LGBT publication in DC covers Federation’s inaugural Meet the Change Makers, a program of Imagine Israel. “That newly launched speaking series, “Meet the Change Makers,” is part

Between Us: Let’s talk about holding on to hope

This week’s parasha, Lech Lecha, begins, “And God said to Abram: Lech lecha, Go forth from your native land and your father’s house to the land that I will show

Meet Sarah, an Israel Engagement Fellow

Meet Sarah, an Israel Engagement Fellow

The Margo & Yoram Cohen Family Israel Engagement Fellowship teaches teen leaders to explore their relationships with Israel in a meaningful way. Fellows learn about the importance of the State

Imagine Israel Podcast #1: LGBTQ families in Israel

Imagine Israel Podcast #1: LGBTQ families in Israel

Host Robbie Gringras interviews co-writer and director of the LGBTQ family drama “Ima v’ Abbas” (Mothers and Fathers) about the intersection of his personal family dynamic in Israel (raising a

A Personal Recount of Shimon Peres

A Personal Recount of Shimon Peres

“Where may a person like that yet be found” by Natan Yonatan איפה ישנם עוד אנשים כמו האיש ההוא I was four-years-old when Shimon Peres and Yitzchak Shamir came to

Remembering Shimon Peres

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington joins in mourning the passing of Shimon Peres, z”l, the last of a generation of Israel’s founders. Peres was universally recognized as one of

Reflections from Paris

by Steven A. Rakitt CEO, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington  Je suis.  “I am.” After the January, 2015 terrorist attacks against the Charlie Hebdo Magazine and the Hypercacher kosher

“Not Jewish Enough?”

by SARAH RABIN SPIRA PJ Library in Greater Washington D.C. My sister and I used to rattle off all the things we are, like some kind of personal chant: “English,

Israel mission unites identities for LGBTQ Jews

By STUART S. KURLANDER Sun, 22 May 2016, 01:27 PM Jerusalem Post LGBTQ Jews who are feeling increasingly welcomed and included as part of their local community and in the broader organized Jewish world. The

What do you think the most important events in Jewish history are?

There are countless right answers to this question. You could say anything: The destruction of the Second Temple The Spanish Inquisition The writing of the Talmud The invention of matzah

Adults with disabilities obtain work experience through MOST program

Adults with disabilities obtain work experience through MOST program

Three days a week, KC Foster makes sure every coffee station at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is fully stocked and clean.

During JDAIM, it’s personal

During JDAIM, it’s personal

I have a disability. That doesn’t make me unusual, because 1 in 5 Americans have a disability. It doesn’t make me unusual, because as many of us age, our hearing,

Children participating in creative project

Pop-up Shabbat draws mixed families, unaffiliated – Washington Jewish Week

Pop-ups are popping up across Washington — pop-up homes, a pop-up movie theater, pop-up eateries. So why not pop-up Shabbat? On Friday night, 60 people came to the Wonder Bread

#SnapforInclusion

Celebrate Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month Join Federation this February as we use social media to show the world how inclusive Greater Washington can be.

Let’s talk about Chanukah

Parashat Vayeshev begins with a brief sentence: “Jacob dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings, the land of Canaan.”

Matthew F.

Young Leadership Spotlight: Matthew F.

How did you get involved with DC’s Jewish community? About six years ago, I was asked by my roommate to open up our apartment to an Israeli coming to DC

Let’s Talk About Passion

This week’s Torah reading is parashat Toldot: “Two nations are in your womb…One people shall be mightier than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.”  When her time to give

Let’s talk about life after death

Although it is called Chayei Sarah (“the life of Sarah”), this week’s parasha is actually about her death. While grieving for his lifelong partner, Abraham purchases a burial site from the Hittites in a cave named Machpelah (located

Nicole A.

Young Leadership Spotlight: Nicole A.

Tell us about your new role as Young Leadership Associate and Social Innovation Coordinator. What will you be working on? My role is to engage young adults and help them

Today in the News: Shooting Attacks in Israel and in Oregon

THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER WASHINGTON AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL OF GREATER WASHINGTON ARE OUTRAGED BY THE DEADLY SHOOTING ATTACKS IN ISRAEL AND IN OREGON

Let’s talk about Spiritual Journeys

The Torah readings on Simchat Torah, which begins at sundown on Monday, begin with the final portion in the Torah – V’Zot Haberacha (“and this is the blessing”) – in which

Today in the News: ATTACK AT JERUSALEM’S GAY PRIDE PARADE

THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER WASHINGTON AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL OF GREATER WASHINGTON ARE APPALLED BY TODAY’S HATE CRIME AT JERUSALEM’S GAY PRIDE PARADE

Today in the News: IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

The Greater Washington Jewish Community thanks President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for their important efforts to safeguard America’s national security interests and those of its allies in

In the News Graphic

Condolences to the Family of Dr. Warren Weinstein

THE JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL OF GREATER WASHINGTON & THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER WASHINGTON OFFER CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF DR. WARREN WEINSTEIN

Students learn there’s no one way to be pro-Israel

Changing the Way we Teach

Changing the way we teach Students learn there’s no one way to be pro-Israel Published in Washington Jewish Week April 1, 2015 By David Holzel Senior Writer You would be

FEAST on fruit, VOTE in the Zionist polls, REFLECT on overcoming darkness

Good morning, When they were younger, our kids would ask that we leave a light on in the hallway so they could “sleep better.” Darkness for them – and for

News Alert Graphic

Appalled by Terrorist Attack in Tel Aviv

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington are Appalled by Today’s Terrorist Attack in Tel Aviv Washington, DC – The Jewish Federation of Greater

FREE trip to Israel, FREE coffee, VOLUNTEER opps around town!!

    In one year, The Jewish Federation provides 200 Holocaust survivors living below the poverty line with critical services to help them live their remaining years with dignity. Do

Letter to Mr. Roger Cukierman

Saturday, January 10, 2015 Mr. Roger Cukierman President Conseil Representatif des Institutions juives de France Dear Mr. Cukierman, As Shabbat comes to a close here in Washington, DC, our hearts are

Wishing you a happy shabbat shalom

Refresh this Sabbath, Say Thanks, Explore Israeli Culture

Good morning, This week’s parasha is the first of the Book of Exodus, and begins, “These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob…” By listing the names,

Welcome Home, Alan Gross!

For Immediate Release Contact: Ron Halber, JCRC December 17, 2014 301-770-0881   The following statement is issued upon hearing the confirmation from the White House of Alan Gross’s release The

Whip up Jelly Doughnuts, Light the Menorah, Explore Jewish Learning

Good morning, This week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev (“and he settled”) begins, “Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had resided, the land of Canaan.” Note the difference between being “settled” and

Fry Latkes, Support #GivingTuesday and Experience an Israel Journey

This week’s parasha is Vayeitze. In the first ten verses, we read the word, makom – “place” – seven times as Jacob moves from place to place, finding a way

News Alert Graphic

Expressions of Outrage Over Massacre in Jerusalem

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington are Shocked and Outraged by the Massacre in Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue in Jerusalem Washington,

Knead Challah, Advocate for Israel, Experience Jewish DC

I was speaking with my Mom the other day. She lives in Florida, and at 98 years old, lives in an independent living facility and does a crossword puzzle every

The Federation and Da'at Travel Lead Israel First Mission

The Federation and Da’at Travel Lead Israel First Mission: October 18 – October 27, 2014

Israel First Mission: October 18 – October 27, 2014 Check out blog posts and photos from The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Israel First Mission in partnership with Da’at Travel. This

Reverse Mifgash Program Named One of DC’s Most Innovative Jewish Organizations

NORTH BETHESDA, MD – The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s NEXT DC program, Reverse Mifgash, has been named one of 18 leading Jewish organizations in the Greater Washington, DC area

Israel Scenery

New Paradigm of Engagement with Israel

ROCKVILLE, MD – This evening the board of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington voted to introduce a new paradigm of engagement with Israel. Under this new model, The Federation

Gefilte Fish

A Sweet and Tasty New Year with Jewish Food Experience

The Jewish Food Experience (JFE) brings people together through the universal language of Jewish food. During this High Holiday season of hosting and entertaining, we looked to JFE for some