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Shabbat Shalom from Aspen Hill!
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Parshat Vaetchanan & Shabbat Nachamu

7:00PM Friday Davening 

7:39PM Candle Lighting

9:00AM Shabbat Shacharit Dvar Torah by Aharon Charnov.


7:30PM Shabbat Mincha

8:38PM Shabbat Ends

8:15AM Sunday Shacharit 

The updated Community Halachik Guidelines have been posted on our shul website here.

Aug 26 @ 6PM

Kids Kabbalat with Carmiya and Rabbi Uri

Aug 27

Aufruf Shabbat for Giddy Herschander.  A community luncheon will follow davening celebrating the upcoming marriage of Giddy to Tamar Berger of Teaneck, NJ.

Sept 10

Birthday Kiddush. 

To sponsor for a September birthday in your family for $36, please contact the office.

Sept 11 

Bat Mitzvah celebration of Ruti Soloveichik

Sept 14

Sheva Berachot at shul for Giddy & Tamar. 

A Taste of an Outsider for Shabbat

Dear Friends,

Rabbi Uri picture

I am honored to be a part of a team of interdenominational clergy that has been submitting Divrei Torah on the subject of "inclusion" for every parsha this year for Matan, an organization empowering Jewish educators to create learning environments supportive for children with special needs. These teachings have been posted on the Matan website here. The following is my humble offering for Parshat Vaetchanan:


Our Rabbis teach that Moses prayed 515 times to enter the Land of Israel. Yet, his wish was denied. The greatest prophet our people have ever known ultimately faces his mortality as an outsider. He will not be included as Israel settles in their land.


The lonely reality at the end of Moses’ life mirrors in many ways, the beginning of his story. Before even his first birthday, Moses becomes an outsider. He grows up disconnected from his Jewish family in the house of Pharaoh. As he matures and grows, Moses then comes to acknowledge his discomfort with his Egyptian family. He is now an outsider in his own home. Perhaps his confusion and frustration contribute to the brazen act that compels him to kill an Egyptian taskmaster, spiraling him even farther away as a refugee on the run.


Moses also identifies as being “kavod peh” – “of difficult speech.” Some of the commentaries view this as a physical impairment, or a disability of some kind. This condition leads to a certain amount of anxiety and self doubt for Moses, and solidifies his status as an outsider.


Despite the stability of the loving family Moses finds in Midian, the naming of his first child reveals his inner feelings – the boy is called Gershom, from the Hebrew word meaning “stranger.” When Moses looks in the mirror, perhaps he sees an assimilated, intermarried, disabled refugee. He must wonder incessantly, “Where do I belong?”


Even when his destiny is announced at the burning bush, and long after he has accomplished his task in freeing the Israelite nation, Moses is still cast as an outsider, to be buried east of the Jordan River. No number of pleas can alter his status.


But each morning, afternoon and night, Jews today are invited to proudly recall the prophet Moses as they recite the Amidah tefillah. At the outset of this pinnacle prayer, we recite a refrain that is first mentioned in the Torah at the burning bush – “Elohei Avraham, Elohei Yitzchak, veLohei Yaakov” – “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The pronouncement of this unique phrase transports the petitioner into the shoes of Moses as he too stood before God that first time in conversation.


One might have thought that the rabbis would have chosen a different moment to introduce the Amidah prayer – a moment that could be purely identified with faith, piety, and a sense of deep belonging. Instead, we are invited to imagine ourselves as Moses, a man who lives as an awkward outsider, and relive THAT conversation with the Lord.


I believe the choice of this unique phrase identifying the God of the patriarchs is intentional, and helps to remind the petitioner that everyone is welcome into a Divine conversation, even one who feels like an outsider. The choice of this phrase serves as a congregational reminder to create an inclusive worship space, so that even the Moses’ among us – the refugees, those with disabilities, those from non-traditional families, or anyone who society tends to put outside the mainstream – that they most of all are invited into prayer, and into its hallowed spaces.


On this Shabbat Nachamu, we are invited to create accessible spiritual homes which are comforting to all people, reminding ourselves to embrace the diversity embodied by a mortal man who became the inspiration for our people. 

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Tu B'Av!

Rabbi Uri


Melton Adult Learning 

Tuesday Nights Nov 15 - April 4 at Tikvat Israel. Co-taught by Rabbis Shull & Topolosky.

Join us for this comprehensive, text-based Jewish studies course developed by Hebrew University. Designed for all ages and religious backgrounds. 

Register online here. Special $100 Early bird discount by Oct 31 with code: Core100.


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Shabbat Children's Programs

9:15AM - 5th and 6th graders - NOT MEETING until Aug 27.
9:30AM - Tot room opens for supervised play 
10:15AM - Groups begin for Tots, K-2nd grade, and 3rd-4th grade.
10:20AM - Gym time for 5th graders and up
11:00AM - Gym time for K-4th grade
All children return to the main sanctuary to help lead tefilot at the end of Musaf.

Questions? Contact Carmiya:

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Beth Joshua Congregation of Aspen Hill
13300 Arctic Ave, Rockville, MD 20853
301.962.9400 x5247

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Beth Joshua Congregation
13300 Arctic Ave
Rockville, Maryland 20853

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