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Hazak logoHochmah: Wisdom
Ziknah: Maturity
Kadima: Looking Ahead


Hazak is the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s organization that supports programming for folks 55+.At Beth Emeth, HAZAK is a congenial group who want to continue to grow their Jewish and world understanding in a friendly and welcoming environment. Adults of any age are encouraged to attend! Be a member, be a guest or bring a guest. Hazak members do not need to be Congregation Beth Emeth members.

Events are online on Zoom, and most will also be in person in the 2022-23 "school year." They are generally the second or third Tuesday of each month, and recently moved to evening times so everyone can participate in Hazak-sponsored events.  

We engage with a wide variety of accomplished speakers and authors, enjoy film discussions and, of course, we nosh and schmooze. See below, and look for schedule updates in the Weekly Announcements. the Shofar, and the online Calendar.

To get on the email list and receive updates, please contact

Join Hazak

Have you renewed your membership? Don't miss out. Dues are only $18.00 for the entire 10 month program. Join in advance or at the door. Checks should be made payable to CBE Hazak. Click here to download and print the membership form.

Questions About Hazak?

Contact Larry at We also welcome ideas for future speakers.

Upcoming 5784/2023-24 Hazak Events

Note: Programs are subject to change if speakers become unavailable. (See also: Calendar)

Tuesday, October 10, 7:30 PM (Zoom only)

Rabbi David Moster:  Was Jonah Afraid of the Whale?

Join us for a discussion of text and art in order to determine whether Jonah's whale was friend or foe. Led by special guest Rabbi Dr. David Moster of the Institute of Biblical Culture and JTS.

From Rabbi Moster's website: "I am the founder and director of the Institute of Biblical Culture, an online community of learners dedicated to studying the Bible and its world from Jewish, Christian, and Academic perspectives. I received my PhD in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament from Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel under the tutelage of Professor Yigal Levin, a world expert in biblical geography, society, and history.

Before attending Bar-Ilan, I spent two years in Israel and a decade in New York City, where I received a B.A., M.A., M.S., and Rabbinical Degree from Yeshiva University, and an M.A. from New York University. I have written dozens of articles for publications such as The Journal of Biblical Literature and The Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception. I live in Yonkers, New York with my wife, a Psychiatrist, and our two children."

November 14, 7:30 PM

Sharon Canner of Reston for a Lifetime 

Sharon Canner is president of Reston for a Lifetime , a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate and inform Reston’s older adults about how to age in place. According to a 2021 AARP survey, 84% of older Americans want care at home if they need long-term help with daily activities and 79% want to stay in their community as long as possible. Living in Fairfax County, we have access to a rich number of resources that can help you age in place. We offer a website, a free monthly newsletter, a webinar series, and in-person educational events that fulfill our mission. Sharon will talk about the organization’s planned future and share written information that may be useful to those who may want to create a plan for aging in place.

December 12, 7:30 PM

Rabbi Bruce Aft: The Modern Message of Chanukah:  Do we Really Have Religious Freedom?

Rabbi Bruce Aft, our former interim rabbi, will be speaking to this in-person event with Zoom available for those who aren't able to come. Topic: "The Modern Message of Chanukah:  Do we Really Have Religious Freedom?" We will discuss what we learn from the Maccabees that can guide us in the world in which we live.

Rabbi Aft was our Interim Rabbi at Beth Emeth in 2021-22, and was Interim Rabbi for Congregation Sha’are Shalom in Leesburg the prior year. Previously, he was the spiritual leader at Adat Reyim in Springfield, VA, 1991-2020.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 7:30 PM (In Person and Zoom)

Peter Levenberg: The Jews of South Africa 
Peter Levenberg is a member of our congregation who has spent most of his life in South Africa. He is a Senior Barrister (trial lawyer) and served frequently as an Acting Judge in the South African High Court. 

Peter was born, raised, and educated in the vibrant Johannesburg Jewish Community. He practiced law there for many decades both in pre and post apartheid South Africa. 

He will talk about the history, religious and cultural practices and outsized influence of the World’s eleventh largest Jewish Community. You will hear about the mostly Lithuanian origins of South Africa’s Ashkenazi Jews as well as South Africa's little known black Lemba people who claim Jewish ancestry. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 7:30 PM (In Person and Zoom)

Aaron Schulman: 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s & Related Information
Aaron, a long time Beth Emeth Congregant, will talk with us about the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s disease and related topics. For the past 6 years he has volunteered as a Community Educator with the Alzheimer’s Association. He has provided presentations in the DC Area and Nationally to thousands of people on topics such as the Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s, Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and related areas. Additionally, Aaron is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association National Volunteer Program Impact Council that assesses Alzheimer’s and dementia education programs nationwide. 

Aaron provides these education programs because when he retired six years ago he wanted to find a way to give back to the community; to make a difference. And the more he talks with people the more he sees a significant need in our community and nationally for information and resources for caregivers, future caregivers, and those afflicted with the disease. At the end of January Aaron attended his third Alzheimer’s Association National Leadership Summit and will highlight some current and emerging treatments and diagnostics discussed at the Summit. 

Aaron also volunteers as a crisis worker on the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. He retired in 2018 after 35 years as a senior government and commercial sector strategy consultant. Aaron received his master’s degree from Harvard University in organizational change, and his bachelor’s degree in psychology from The American University. 

April 16, 2024
7:30 PM

(In person only)

Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh: Warts and All

I am an Israeli but not a Jew. I am an Arab but not a Muslim. I am a minority within a minority. My mother tongue is Arabic, my religion is Druze, and I am an Israeli citizen. Good luck! My name is Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh. I was the first non-Jewish anchorwoman to broadcast the main evening news in Hebrew and Arabic languages in Israel. I was the first Druze woman to become a Member of the Knesset. Today, I am the first non-Jewish Senior Envoy of the Jewish Agency of Israel to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. I symbolize the diversity and complexity of Israeli society. My identity is a mixture of factors full of challenges and potential. My story is full of glass ceilings breaking. Come listen to my unique story and learn about the Druze people, the Arab minority, and Israeli society. 

Kamal-Mreeh, Senior Envoy of The Jewish Agency for Israel to The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, began working for the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation in 2011, where she hosted a program in Arabic focusing on the social and cultural issues concerning Arab youth in Israel. In 2015, Kamal-Mreeh was selected to host the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation’s daily newscast in Arabic, and in 2017 she began anchoring its main
Hebrew Saturday evening newscast, as well as a nightly newscast, becoming the first non-Jewish anchorwoman to broadcast a main evening news in Hebrew- language in Israel. 

In April 2019, Kamal-Mreeh was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Blue and White party, making history as the first Druze woman to become a Member of the Knesset. During her tenure, she chaired the Caucus for Planning, Zoning and Industrial Areas, and the Caucus for the Advancement of Druze Women. She was a member of the Interior and Environment Committee, the Advancement of Women’s Status and Gender Equality Committee, and of the special committee for fighting crime within the Arab sector. Kamal Mreeh co-chaired the Israel-Germany friendship group and chaired the Israel-Switzerland parliamentary friendship group.

Kamal-Mreeh holds a degree with honors from Bar-Ilan University in Medical Imaging and Social Sciences, and a master’s degree with honors in International Relations from Haifa University, specializing in negotiations and making decisions in international relations.

In 2021, Kamal Mreeh became the Jewish Agency’s first Druze emissary to the U.S. Based in Washington D.C.

Gadeer is a “Munich Young Leaders” Alumna and in 2021 was chosen by the “World Economic Forum” as one of the young global leaders. In the same year Gadeer was also awarded the knight of Government Quality by “The Movement for Quality Government in Israel”.

Kamal Mreeh was born and lived in the Druze village, Daliyat al-Carmel. She is married to Shadi and a mother of two children. Gadeer enjoys cooking, art, nature, and quality time with her family which is the key for her pure happiness.

Sunday, May 5
10:00 AM-12:00 PM

(In-person only)

Rabbi Steve Glazer: Issues at the End of Life

Thanks to advances in medicine and technology people are living longer and healthier lives than ever before.  While this is wonderful, there are downsides! One example: We have the ability to keep individuals “alive,” but at what cost?

In this session Rabbi Steve will examine some of the many issues related to end of life including advance directives, palliative care, hospice, and the very definition of “death” itself. 

Rabbi Steve was the spiritual leader at CBE for 18 years. For more about his current endeavors, see our Rabbi Emeritus webpage.

May 14, 2024, 7:30 PM (Zoom only)

3 Poets Will Inspire Us with the Jewish Experience Through Poetry!

Fran Markover: Poems about Family, the Jewish Experience, Loss, and Survival

Author Fran Markover will read some of her poems, mainly from her book, Grandfather's Mandolin, poems about family, the Jewish experience, loss, survival.

Ms Markover lives in Ithaca, NY where she works as a psychotherapist and addictions counselor.  Her poems have been included in many literary journals.

Fran has a chapbook, History's Trail (Finishing Line Press). Her book, Grandfather's Mandolin, (Passager Press) was a finalist for the Henry Morgenthau III First Poetry Book Prize. Recent awards include nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net; an American Book Fest award for Best Poetry Book in the spiritual category; 2 poetry residencies at the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts; award from the Ruth Weiss foundation; finalist for Anna Davidson Rosenberg award; a Miriam Chaikin award; a finalist award from Poet's Billow; an finalist award from the journal Able Muse; honorable mention from the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition; a finalist for the MacGuffin Reader Poet Hunt 28. 

Pamela Wax

Pamela Wax is the author of Walking the Labyrinth (2022), a finalist for the Main Street Rag poetry award, and Starter Mothers (Finishing Line Press, 2023). She has received a Best of the Net nomination and awards from Crosswinds, Paterson Literary Review, Poets’ Billow, Oberon, and the Robinson Jeffers Tor House. Her poems have been published in dozens of literary journals including Barrow Street, Tupelo Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Chautauqua, The MacGuffin, Nimrod, and Slippery Elm, among others. An ordained rabbi, Pam offers spirituality and poetry workshops online and around the country. She lives in the Northern Berkshires of Massachusetts. 

Rabbi Mark Elber

Rabbi Mark Elber was ordained by ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal in 2012. He is the rabbi of Temple Beth El, an independent Conservative synagogue in Fall River, MA where he shares the pulpit with his wife, Cantor Shoshana Brown. A fellow of Rabbis Without Borders and the author of The Everything Kabbalah Book, Mark is a certified teacher of Jewish meditation through Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley, California, a prize winning poet (e.g. Beat Museum Poet of the Year, 2007), translator of Israeli rock songs (one of which appeared on MTV Europe), and a published songwriter having fronted his own bands in the downtown Manhattan music scene in the early 1980’s. Mark did his graduate studies in Kabbalah at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and University of Pennsylvania from which he also holds a B.A. in Philosophy. Mark is very involved in interfaith activities in the greater Fall River area. He is also the author of "The Sacred Now (Cultivating Jewish Spiritual Consciousness)." Mark was the winner of the 2022 Henry Morgenthau III Poetry Prize for his first book of poems, Headstone, which is about family, loss, Jewish past life, and beautiful elegies about his father, in particular.

June 18, 2024, 7:00 PM (In Person only)

Movie Night: Footnote

Join Hazak and the Beth Emeth community for a special film to end the 2023-24 season! 

"Footnote is an utterly charming film that explores the complex (dare I say biblical) rivalry between a father and son.”   – Backstage Review


  • 2011, Israeli, Hebrew with Subtitles, 103 minutes
  • Won Best Screenplay at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival
  • Was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012.

From Generation to Generation
Poem by S. Anne Sostrom z"l

L'dor vador—from generation to generation—
I pass to you
Not the giddy joy of success,
But the lump in the throat the signals
The wisdom to speak softly in a fragile world.
Through these finger tips
Pass sensual gifts—
The feel of sand between the toes,
The eye that captures
The flight of the gull at sunset,
Take them, child of my child—
The ability to grow inside the mind,
To change, to forgive, to love.
Take them,
And when you grow old,
Bequeath them l'dor vador,
For these are the things that remain worthwhile,
That make life worth living.

Tue, June 18 2024 12 Sivan 5784