Social Action:

Jewish Foundation for Group Homes:

Teens will be doing several joint programs with the JFGH including Challah baking, Sukkah building and decorating, and Hamantash Baking & Purim party.


The Jewish Foundation for Group Homes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the independence, dignity, choice, and community inclusion of individuals with disabilities, regardless of faith or creed. JFGH’s programs support more than 200 individuals in over 70 sites throughout the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. Support is provided through JFGH’s residential, transitioning youth and social programs.

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S.O.M.E. (SO Others May Eat ):

Teens will be making tuna casseroles to be delivered to SOME.


S OME (So Others Might Eat) is an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital. SOME meets the immediate daily needs of the people they serve with food, clothing, and health care. They help break the cycle of homelessness by offering services, such as affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling, to the poor, the elderly and individuals with mental illness.

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Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington

Teens will learn what they can do to help those facing illness and serious health challenges. Teens will create several different projects to be donated to Children’s Inn at NIH and other area hospitals.


Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, volunteer based service organization that provides assistance to people facing medical and related challenges. BCGW cares for the physical and emotional needs of the Jewish ill, the elderly and their caregivers in the community, and partner with health-care professionals to help meet the unique needs of Jewish patients.


BCGW supports and maintains kosher pantries at area hospitals and provides ongoing community education to promote awareness of the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim.

BCGW serves all segments of our community, as well as patients who travel to the region to seek medical treatment at area hospitals and NIH. By offering all our services without cost, we free people to focus on their recovery without additional financial stress.

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Eden Kosher Homes

Teens will have a joint art program with residents of Eden Kosher Homes.


Eden Kosher Homes is a charming and elegant private assisted living home, located in a residential neighborhood in Potomac, Maryland. Eden Kosher Homes opened its doors in 2010 in response to the need for a small, high-quality kosher assisted living facility where Jewish seniors could remain active in a neighborhood environment.

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Israel Social Action

Teens will partner with several Israel based organizations to help support Israel, among them Chabad's Terror Victims Project.


Chabad's Terror Victims Project (CTVP) is a non-profit, humanitarian organization. From the moment an act of violence takes place, G‑d forbid, CTVP’s emergency response teams are there, forging an immediate bond with the victims and their families, bringing them financial, practical, emotional, and spiritual support as they struggle to reclaim and rebuild their lives.

Whatever the crisis, CTVP is there. We stay with all these families for as long as they need us – whether weeks, months or years. There is no end point to our help except the family’s ability to re-enter their lives successfully. Only then do we move quietly into the background, but still remain available for those times when the horror inevitably reasserts itself and help is needed once again.

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Guest Speakers:


Nesse Godin:

Nesse Godin was born to an observant Jewish family in Siauliai, known in Yiddish as Shavl. Her parents owned a store that sold dairy products. The city was home to a vibrant Jewish community of almost 10,000 people. It had over a dozen synagogues and was renowned for its impressive cultural and social organizations.


During the Holocaust, Nesse survived a ghetto, concentration camp, four labor camps, and a death march. In 1950, she and her late husband Jack, also a survivor, came to the United States and settled in the Washington, D.C. area.

Dedicating her adult life to teaching and sharing memories of the Holocaust, Nesse has appeared before a variety of audiences including the U.S. Naval Academy, the United States Military Academy at West Point, many federal agencies and military communities, schools, churches, synagogues, and civic groups.


“Psychiatrist by day, scribe by night”- Dr. Richard Epstein:

Dr. Richard Epstein graduated from Yale with honors. He runs a private practice in general psychiatry since 1969. He is an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and a Clinical Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. He was the director of the Suburban Hospital, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder project. He authored a book on psychiatric boundaries and ethics, numerous scholarly research articles, and several chapters in psychiatric textbooks. He served as President of the Washington Psychiatric Society, Trustee-at-Large of the American Psychiatric Association, Vice President of the American Association of Practicing Psychiatrists, and the president of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Around 12 years ago, Dr. Epstein followed his dream and became an apprentice to a sofer [scribe], studying the intricate laws detailing the stylizing of the Hebrew letters and the specific spellings of certain words. Once he had mastered the art of Safrut, he began the ambitious and time consuming task of writing a complete Torah scroll.

It took Dr. Epstein over 8 years to complete the Torah, whose completion and dedication two years ago was celebrated by hundreds. Dr. Epstein’s remarkable and unique story made world headlines and was featured on Yahoo, in the Washington Post and many other media.

“The Inquisition and Me: A True Story of Discovery, Endurance and Triumph”- Reyna Simnegar

Seventeen generations after the Spanish Inquisition, Catholic born and raised Reyna Simnegar launched an arduous inquisition of her own-one which brought her back to her ancestors’ Judaism. Her family’s history dates back to when they fled from Spain and lived as Marranos for centuries.


Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Reyna discovered her Jewish ancestry at the age of 12, and decided to devote her life to Judaism. Reyna is a talented Sephardic cook and is the author of the cookbook “Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride”. Her culinary skills have been featured on numerous TV shows across the US. From beauty pageant finalist to Persian Chef, Reyna is now living the inspired life she had always aspired to live. Reyna will share her amazing personal journey back home.



RETURN to BABYLON-Laurie Zimmet

A Jewish American Military Officer speaks after one year in Iraq


Laurie Zimmet proudly serves as an Officer in the United States Navy Reserve. She served on active duty in the Middle East supporting Operation Enduring Freedom/ Operation Iraqi Freedom from January through August 2003. She was activated once again to full time service to join the ground forces in Iraq from September 2005 to September 2006.


Lauri will discuss her unique perspective on participating first hand in the liberation of the Iraqi people, what her role was in the war and what she saw. You’ll hear about a war-time giant menorah lighting ceremony and Passover Seder. You’ll be riveted to learn what steps she took to observe Shabbat and keep kosher. You’ll also be moved to learn what it was like for her to serve in Baghdad while Israel was waging war with Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. You’ll learn what is available to our Jewish American military in Iraq and the tremendous contributions American Jewry is providing in the Global War on Terrorism.

This is an account of the war like no other….firsthand, from a Jewish female perspective.


Canfei Nesharim:

Canfei Nesharim is building the foundation of a Torah-based environmental movement by creating educational resources and synagogue programs; training leaders and speakers; and inspiring the Jewish community to commit to environmental action. Canfei Nesharim envisions a world where the Jewish community is committed to preserve and protect our environment, inspired by Torah values. Canfei Nesharim is successful when individuals, communities, schools and synagogues internalize Jewish and sustainable values and turn them into an environmentally-sensitive way of life.

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Rabbi Mendel Bluming

Rabbi Mendel Bluming will lead several intriguing and engaging discussions on critical topics for teens.


Rabbi Mendel Bluming is the Chabad representative in the Potomac Maryland area and serves as the rabbi of the Chabad Shul of Potomac. He received Rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Hillel Pewzner of Paris France, a leader in France's rabbinate, kashrut and Jewish educational system, and Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz of Jerusalem Israel, author of the Steinsaltz Talmud amongst many other works.


He was ordained as a Jewish judge, a Dayan, by the late Rabbi Pinchas Hirshprung, the Chief Rabbi of Montreal, considered one of the foremost Torah scholars of our generation.


Rabbi Bluming is a highly respected Rabbi in the Greater Washington area, and is a leading authority for many day to day halachik questions for hundreds in the community. In addition to his scholarly wisdom, he sensitivity guides hundreds of people in their interpersonal relationships, helping them build stronger and trusting relationships with their spouses, children or friends.





Gary Rosenthal Studio

Teens will get a tour of Gary’s studio, and hear from Gary about the many special Chessed projects he is involved with. Teens will create their own unique piece of Judaica.


Gary Rosenthal has been sculpting in welded metals for almost 30 years. Together with a team of talented craftspeople, he creates one of the most popular and unique lines of Judaic art in the country: The Gary Rosenthal Collection. Work from the Gary Rosenthal Collection has been presented to Presidents from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, and to celebrities. The Collection can be found throughout the world in many fine galleries, private collections, and the following museum shops: Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, Corning Museum of Glass, American Craft Museum, B'nai B'rith Museum, The Jewish Museum, Skirball Museum of Culture, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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Sunflower Bakery-“Where Caring is our Main Ingredient”

Sunflower Bakery is an exciting enterprise that combines skills training with actual work experience. Their mission is to prepare individuals with developmental or other cognitive disabilities for employment in baking and related industries through skilled, on-the-job training.


These are challenging times for many, but challenges are even greater for individuals with disabilities. Sunflower Bakery provides training critical for achieving workplace success in a totally inclusive environment. Their trainees produce high quality, kosher, non-dairy baked goods for businesses, schools, organizations and individuals in the greater Washington, DC area. They work alongside adult volunteers and staff, who do not have disabilities, to better simulate a typical bakery experience.

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Mikvah Tour

Teens will tour Chabad’s newly renovated Mikvah


Siena’s Pizza

Teens will get a behind the scenes glimpse into Kosher pizza making.


Amazing Art Studio

Teens will design and decorate their own ceramic Seder Plate


Goldbergs Bagels

Teens will enjoy a delicious Kosher brunch at this famous bagelry


In House Programs:

Jewish Canvas Painting

Stefie Heideman from Art Escapades will lead the teens in a guided canvas painting, depicting a Judaic scene.

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LaughterRX with Nira Berry

Teens will learn how to laugh off their stress in this super fun workshop!


Nira is an upbeat, inspirational Keynote speaker; founder of LaughingRx laughter wellness programs; laughter therapist, and is known as the Happiness coach. Nira discovered the power and healing benefits of laughter during her recovery from cancer. Since then, her passion is to spread the message of living with joy and laughter to thousands worldwide, and has been a featured speaker at hundreds of government, health and corporate events.


Combining her expertise in wellness coaching and her expertise in Laughter yoga, Nira founded the laughter wellness movement using her skills as a laughter therapist and laughter coaching. Nira is a Certified life coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF); Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher; Coaches Training Institute CTI graduate; Graduate degree in Health and Wellness Coaching from Maryland University of Integrative Health and is a faculty member of Montgomery College, Maryland, teaching laughter programs.


Featured frequently in the media such as U.S. Today, Readers Digest,, Bethesda Magazine; The Washington Post; and many national and international media.

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Drum For Joy!™ – Drum Workshop

From simple fun to stress relief, the benefits of a Drum For Joy!™ workshop are numerous. It is an activity where anyone can participate at any musical skill level and all are welcome to join in the fun! The Drum For Joy!™ workshop is an interactive experience where participants will learn the language of the drum and how to make their drum sing. Jaqui presents the drum songs in a way that makes it fun and easy to learn.


By building and playing a simple drum composition, participants will experience the magic of music making and the joy of drumming in a group. This activity also empowers the participants in a way that allows them to improvise and freely express themselves through the music! Instruments are provided for all participants.

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