News

  • December 4, 2019 / 6 Kislev 5780

    Parashat Vayetzei

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    This week’s Torah portion, Vayetzei begins with Jacob’s interactions with the Divine. He dreams of a stairway leading to heaven, angels going up and down it, and God blessing him.

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  • November 27, 2019 / 29 Cheshvan 5780

    Parashat Toldot

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    As you are reading this, I am at my parents’ house in New Jersey. It’s good to be home for the holidays. I love Thanksgiving and all that comes with it. Families gathering from all over, the travel plans, the food, total participation in this very American holiday.

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  • November 20, 2019 / 22 Cheshvan 5780

    Parashat Chayei Sarah

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    This week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, opens with Abraham finding a suitable piece of land for burying Sarah. Abraham will eventually be buried in the same location. This poignant vignette exemplifies the mitzvah of kavod ha-met, honoring of the deceased, Abraham burying Sarah in a space that was designated for her and her family members demonstrated his love and respect for her. Like Abraham, we too bury our loved ones with dignity, in respectful and well-maintained spaces.

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  • November 13, 2019 / 15 Cheshvan 5780

    Parashat Vayera

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    One of my most formative experiences in rabbinical school was clinical pastoral education (CPE). In addition to my formal training, after my ordination I completed a year-long residency at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Manhattan. Although I was initially intimidated by this most sensitive and critical of clerical duties, I quickly grew to enjoy being a spiritual care provider: I like the energy of acute care settings, and I love working with people of all religions, challenging myself to deeply explore my own faith in order to help others.

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  • November 6, 2019 / 8 Cheshvan 5780

    Parashat Lech L’cha

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    I received an email reminder Sunday afternoon about a Monday meeting, asking participants what type of meat-based sandwiches from a local restaurant they preferred for lunch. I immediately wrote back, thanking the meeting organizer and requesting a vegetarian option, as I keep kosher and do not eat meat from non-kosher establishments. Our host’s response came within minutes –it was of course not a problem.

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  • November 5, 2019

    You should know…Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    Washington Jewish Week

    Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky is the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington’s director of intergroup relations and rabbi in residence. The 37-year-old Philadelphia native is new to the Washington area (she started her job at JCRC in July). In her position, she works to foster community relationships with members of other religions.

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  • October 30, 2019 / 31 Tishrei 5780

    Parshat Noah

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    A teacher of mine once remarked on the absurdity, in his opinion, of using Noah’s ark as a decorative motif for children’s spaces. Why is a story of destruction, emotional turmoil, and family betrayal portrayed in bright cartoon characters? Why commercialize the few verses about animals and skip over the main reason of the flood – God destroying the world? Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, especially because the unicorns never made it on the ark.

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  • October 23, 2019

    Maryland Jewish Advocacy Organizations and Key Legislators Applaud State Superintendent’s Plan to Boost Holocaust Education Requirements

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Maryland’s leading Jewish community advocacy organizations and key state legislators applauded plans announced by State Superintendent Karen B. Salmon to enhance and expand required Holocaust instruction in public schools.

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  • October 23, 2019 / 24 Tishrei 5780

    Parashat Bereishit

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    Of all the powerful stories contained in this week’s parsha, Bereishit, the dramatic narrative of Cain and Abel, the original Biblical fratricide, stands out as a compelling validation of the power of restorative justice.

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  • October 18, 2019

    Joint Statement on Vandalism of Washington Hebrew Congregation DC building

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) were troubled to learn that the Washington Hebrew Congregation's D.C. building was vandalized with anti-Israel and hate-filled messages.

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  • October 13, 2019 / 15 Tishrei 5780

    Sukkot 5780

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    Jews have constructed sukkot for thousands of years. They were discussed in the Torah and usedthroughout the Temple periods in Jerusalem. Today they  are widely available for purchase online in “pop up” and “E-Z” varieties. A quick search for “sukkah” on Amazon yielded 521 results, ranging from sukkah-building kits to sukkah decorations to a t-shirt that says “I’d rather be sitting in my sukkah. #FeastofTabernacles.” There’s a carry-on sukkah -- including a kosher bamboo mat for the roof – that can be set up in five to ten minutes and sukkotcomplete with plastic windows, reinforced canvas and plastic sides, click together poles, and murals painted on the sides, all available for sale at several online shops, shipped right to your front door.

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  • October 10, 2019

    Statement on Synagogue Attack in Halle, Germany

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Good afternoon friends:

    We were horrified yesterday to hear that on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, a synagogue in Halle, Germany was attacked by a right-wing extremist. Despite being armed with multiple weapons and an explosive device, the assailant was thwarted by a locked security door. A potential massacre was avoided, and no injuries were reported among the synagogue worshipers.  

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  • October 2, 2019 / 3 Tishrei 5780

    Parashat Vayeilech - 5780

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    Leadership transitions are complicated, as we see in this week’s Torah portion, Vayelech. Moses knows his life is ending and he will not lead the Israelites into the Land of Israel. Joshua will take up the mantle of leadership. However, before Joshua can lead, Moses needs to be able to step aside.

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  • September 25, 2019 / 25 Elul 5779

    Parshat Nitzavim

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    The Jewish people are assembled, standing and waiting, anxious, tired, hungry, and unsure of themselves in this setting. Every moment that passes brings them closer to an unknown future in the Promised Land.

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  • September 18, 2019 / 18 Elul 5779

    Parshat Ki Tavo

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    Sound familiar? These verses play a central role in the narrative of the Passover seder, establishing the Israelites as slaves in Egypt and recounting the miracle of their exodus. They also highlight a concept present throughout much of this week’s Torah reading: gratitude.

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  • September 11, 2019 / 11 Elul 5779

    Parshat Ki Teitsei

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    The last verse of this week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitsei, captures the complexity of trauma and memory. One part of the verse tells us to wipe out the memory of Amalek, the tyrannical nation that set out to kill the Israelites in the desert. The second part commands us to not forget. Which one is it? At times, we focus all our energy on wiping out those who have or will hurt us, to the point where our pain turns into hatred. We perhaps give short shrift to the exhortation to remember the human suffering that results from any enmity, and to strive to choose differently in our own lives.

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  • September 4, 2019 / 4 Elul 5779

    Parshat Shoftim

    Two Minutes of Torah with Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky

    The last verse of this week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitsei, captures the complexity of trauma and memory. One part of the verse tells us to wipe out the memory of Amalek, the tyrannical nation that set out to kill the Israelites in the desert. The second part commands us to not forget. Which one is it? At times, we focus all our energy on wiping out those who have or will hurt us, to the point where our pain turns into hatred. We perhaps give short shrift to the exhortation to remember the human suffering that results from any enmity, and to strive to choose differently in our own lives.

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  • June 5, 2019

    Joint Statement Regarding Banning of Jewish and Israeli Symbols at the DC Dyke March

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    By Banning the Jewish Pride Flag and Israeli Symbols, DC Dyke March Undermines Its Intended Purpose

    As a coalition of LGBTQ, Jewish, and feminist organizations, representing dykes, queer women, and allies in Washington and across the country, we come together to strongly condemn the leadership of the DC Dyke March for their decision to ban the Jewish Star of David on a pride flag and Israeli iconography at their upcoming March, this Friday, June 7.

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  • April 27, 2019

    Statement on Shabbat Shooting at Chabad of Poway, CA

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    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 on an American synagogue, this time at the Chabad in Poway, California. One person has been killed and three others, including a child, have been injured. We mourn the loss of life, pray for the quick recovery of the injured, and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Poway and San Diego Jewish communities.

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  • November 8, 2017

    Immigration Policy

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    American Jews founded the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in 1881 to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, and for decades HIAS has assisted in the resettlement of refugees from all over the world, regardless of race, religion, or nationality. Our community’s network of stellar social service agencies has for decades proudly served significant numbers of immigrant families, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and Jewish families themselves continue to immigrate to America from countries as diverse as Russia, Argentina, Iran and England.

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  • September 14, 2017

    Non-Discrimination Policy

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington strongly advocates for policies that oppose discrimination in all its forms as to race, color, religion or creed, sex, age, ancestry or national origin, marital status, physical or mental illnesses or chronic conditions, physical, intellectual and cognitive disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information.

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  • September 13, 2017

    Criminal Justice Reform

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Justice (tzedek), repentance (teshuvah), and the preservation of human life (Exodus 20:13) are core values of the Jewish faith. Accordingly, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington is committed to advocating for a criminal justice system that is just, restorative, and provides equal treatment for all under the law.

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  • March 15, 2017

    Food Security

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    The Hebrew word for justice, tzedakah, is generally understood to mean charity. Attending to the needs of others is an aspect of justice and is a mitzvah, an obligation, incumbent upon us in the Jewish community. Providing meals to those in need and supporting efforts to ensure food security for all is a communal responsibility.

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  • January 14, 2015

    Voter Access Policy

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    Voting rights are the cornerstone of our democracy. The JCRC recognizes the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as one of the most important and most effective pieces of civil rights legislation in our Nation’s history. The act, and its extensions over the past fifty years, have helped to remove many discriminatory barriers that impeded full civic participation for millions of Americans.

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  • November 21, 2013

    Minimum Wage Policy Resolution

    JCRC of Greater Washington

    The Jewish Community Relations Council has previously adopted two policy statements supporting the enactment of minimum wage laws. These are our “Minimum Wage Statement” adopted in 1989, supporting “a federally-mandated minimum wage enabling a full-time employee to earn above the poverty level,” and our “Statement on Low-Income Workers” adopted in 2000, advocating “improved and enhanced government programs designed to enable workers to achieve economic well-being with dignity” by, among other things, “setting a minimum wage”.

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