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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+. Adults, of any age, are welcome to attend! 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. Be a member, be a guest or bring a guest. Hazak members do not need to be CBE members.

We meet in the CBE Social Hall from 1:00 to 3:00 on the third Tuesday of each month.  We engage with a wide variety of accomplished speakers and authors, enjoy film discussions and, of course, we nosh and schmooze. Look for our schedule in the Weekly Announcements and The Shofar.

Need a Ride? 

Do you need a ride to come to CBE services and events (including Hazak)? Can you help provide rides? As a congregation, we want to make sure that all congregants wishing to participate in any CBE event can do so even if they cannot drive themselves. So, as of July 1 we started a new Mitzvah Brigade Ride Board to match members who need a ride with those who can help. We are primarily using an online signup at You can also request a ride by phoning the office at 703-860-4515 ext 101.

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.

The name Hazak means "Strong," and is also made up of the first Hebrew letters of the words:

Hazak logoHochmah: Wisdom
Ziknah: Maturity
Kadima: Looking Ahead


Questions About Hazak?

Contact Carol Silberstein and Ellyn Greenspan at We also welcome ideas for future speakers.

5780/2019-20 Hazak Events

This year we have lined up an impressive roster of experts on timely topics, most with some Jewish connection. Many of our speakers share their knowledge along with their own unique and fascinating personal stories. Note: All of these programs are subject to change if speakers become unavailable. (See also: Calendar)

Date Guest Speaker and Topic

September 17, 2019

Adrienne Usher of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation: Mining Genealogical Gold in Civil War Pension Records for Jewish Soldiers

The Shapell Roster, scheduled to launch as a free-to-the-public website (date TBD), is the first-ever comprehensive data archive documenting the Jewish soldiers who served in the American Civil War.

Meet Adrienne Usher, Director of Research for the Shapell Roster Project, as she shares some of the beautiful, unique and exciting genealogical treasures her team has discovered within the Civil War Union Pension Records, including dates and locations for births, marriages, and deaths; addresses, occupations, photographs, maps, drawings, letters, certificates and physical descriptions. 

Learn how to access these rich resources, find out more about the Foundation behind this exciting endeavor, and discover how you can participate in the project.

November 19

Rabbi Michelle "Mina" Goldsmith: Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul by Rabbi Naomi Levy

Our own Rabbi Mina will discuss the book Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul by Rabbi Naomi Levy. Einstein and the Rabbi is on one level a mystery about a letter that Albert Einstein wrote to a grieving Rabbi and it is on another level about the mysteries of the soul (Amazon Review). Whether you read the book, or not, it promises to be an interesting discussion!

December 17

Harry Butowsky: Pearl Harbor and the First use of Radar-The Opana Radar Site

Join us as we observe the 78th National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day by learning about a little-known topic related to Pearl Harbor.

Dr. Harry A. Butowsky retired in 2012 from the National Park Service in Washington D.C. where he worked as an historian and manager for the National Park Service History e-Library web site.  He is the author of World War II in the Pacific National Historic Landmark Study, six other Landmark Studies as well as sixty articles on military, labor, science and constitutional history. Dr. Butowsky has also taught History of World War I and World War II at George Mason University. His Ph.D. is from University of Illinois. Dr. Butowsky visits the US Holocaust Museum once a month to sign his book I Survived, My Name is Yitzhak.

January 21, 2020

John Rybicki, Thoughts on the Afterlife in Judaism

Understanding both early and contemporary Judaic beliefs about death and afterlife is a challenge because there is no universally agreed-upon “Jewish” position on the topic. One reason for the vagueness of Jewish positions on immortality and its partner … life after death … is that these matters are not dealt with extensively in theTaNaKh. What matters most is this life, the life currently being lived. Over time, however, there has been a discernible development of thought within Judaism based on concepts of Divine justice and mercy, compassion and punishment. In this session, we will review this development to better understand concomitant life-after-death ... afterlife beliefs.

John Rybicki has diplomas in Theological Studies from both the Virginia Theological Seminary and the Antiochian Orthodox Church.  He studied at St. George’s College in Jerusalem and received a Master of Theology degree from the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology, Balamand University. He served for 10 years as Pastoral Associate at the Riderwood Retirement Community in Maryland with responsibility for religious education where he facilitated a weekly Jewish-Christian religious dialogue. He continues to lecture at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, George Mason University; the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, and in local churches and synagogues.

February 18

Laurence Wolff: Building Social Cohesion in Israel

Laurence Wolff joined the Moment Magazine staff in 2016 and is currently a Senior Editor. Previously, he was an education officer at the World Bank and a consultant for international agencies. He has written and published widely on education policy issues in developing countries. Most recently he has focused on the social, educational and demographic challenges facing Israel, where he is a frequent visitor. His family is involved in strengthening the Reform movement in Israel through support of Beit Daniel synagogue in Tel Aviv/Jaffa.

March 17


Chuck Cascio: Fire Escape Stories book talk with Beth Emeth’s own author!

Chuck Cascio is an award-winning journalist, educator, short-story writer, and business leader. The author of three nonfiction books, Chuck has had hundreds of news stories, feature articles, and opinion pieces published in a wide-range newspapers, magazines, and journals. Among Chuck's awards are a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, a Suburban Newspapers of America Award for Column Writing, a Distinguished Teacher Award in the Presidential Scholars Program, a Rothman Institute Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and other honors and citations for journalism, creative writing, teaching, and business.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Chuck moved to the Washington, DC, area at an early age, but he remains a New Yorker at heart. He earned a BS degree in Economics and Business from Wagner College on Staten Island, NY, and an MA in Communications from the American University in Washington, DC, where he later became an adjunct faculty member. Chuck also taught high school and was faculty advisor to student newspaper publications in Fairfax County, VA, receiving extensive recognition for his innovative approaches to teaching. After leaving the classroom, Chuck served as Vice President for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and then as Vice President for Educational Testing Service.

April 21


Steve Silberstein: My Father’s Story of Surviving the Holocaust and The Auschwitz 75th Liberation Commemoration

Shalom! Join us for Hazak on Tuesday, April 21st , Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Congregant, Steve Silberstein, will tell us the story of his father Michael’s survival in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Steve will also share their experience of recently attending the Auschwitz 75th Liberation Commemoration in Poland. Over the years Michael has spoken to many groups about his experience. Steve is committed to continuing the legacy and speaking about the Holocaust to raise awareness and educate in order to fulfill the promise to never forget. It is a powerful story with meaningful insight and lessons for all.

Steve and Carol (your Hazak Programming Co-Chair) Silberstein joined Congregation Beth Emeth in 1995 and raised their children David and Sara here from Religious school through Confirmation.

Steve recently retired from Micron Technology and plans to speak with diverse groups of students and community members about his father’s Holocaust experiences. He looks forward to traveling, exploring, staying engaged in the community and enjoying the kids and grandchildren.

May 19

Meredith Lair: War Memorials on the National Mall

This session will be held online via Zoom. Beth Emeth members, please check your @CBE enews emailed May 14 (or update sent May 15); HAZAK members check your HAZAK update emailed May 12; or contact for login information.

Meredith H. Lair is an associate professor of history at George Mason University, where she also directs the interdisciplinary studies graduate program. A former Minerva Research Fellow at the U.S. Naval Academy, she developed content and wrote the exhibit script for the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation's Vietnam Era Museum Educational Center, the first permanent museum about the Vietnam War in the United States. Her work examines warfare in American society, especially the way war stories get constructed and disseminated over time. She is the author of Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War (2011), which examines the noncombat experiences of American soldiers and finds that the U.S. military relied heavily on consumerism and material abundance to maintain soldier morale, a phenomenon that continues to the present day. Her research continues on this topic, especially the role that culture can play as an instrument of war. Lair's current projects examine soldier photography in Vietnam and Vietnam veterans' efforts to publicly remember their service.

June 16

Canceled, sorry -- see you in the fall, when we hope to resume either online or in person, or both!


From Generation to Generation

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.

Poem by S. Anne Sostrom z"l

Sat, August 8 2020 18 Av 5780