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In the News

Adat Reyim is actively involved in events and programs of interest to the Northern Virginia Jewish community. Occasionally we are recognized by local newspapers and television stations for our participation; sometimes we contribute to those sources ourselves. You can read about some of our activities below or by clicking the links posted.

Rabbi Chana Leslie Glazer is formally installed and welcomed into our community

Congregation Adat Reyim installs new rabbi over Shabbat

By Alex Krutchik

The Washington Jewish Week highlighted our wonderful installation this weekend. “I know people in the sanctuary and online had tears in their eyes throughout the ceremony at different parts,” (President Andrea) Sobel said. “It was a very moving special event.” ...

"Rabbi Glazer possesses 'qualities of love of Torah, of teaching, her understanding and inclusiveness in a diverse congregation,' Sobel said.

"The synagogue has many interfaith families and works with a number of interfaith groups...On Jan. 30, as part of the installation weekend, Adat Reyim had a mitzvah day in which 100 students, teens, parents, teachers, volunteers and staff took part in book drives, blood drives and more."

Link to the full article in The Washington Jewish Week - February 2, 2022

Rabbi Chana Leslie Glazer helps congregation grow despite pandemic

Congregation Adat Reyim Welcomes New Rabbi in Springfield

By Mercia Hobson

Rabbi Chana Leslie Glazer is a collaborator. In July of 2020, the educator of all ages became the spiritual leader of Congregation Adat Reyim, located at 6500 Westbury Oaks Court in Springfield. Despite a pandemic and almost everything being virtual, Rabbi Glazer made her mark on the growing congregation, known for its diversity of Jewish practitioners and interfaith families.

"In the first few months of online services and programs, members often commented in the Zoom chat, 'We got the right rabbi,'" said congregant Eileen Kugler.

According to a press release, "Rabbi Glazer has kept a busy schedule of congregational and community events. Her thoughtful sermons during these difficult days have provided valuable insights, comforted us, and at times, encouraged us to live up to our Jewish values."

Rabbi Glazer maintains that before she arrived, Adat Reyim was already a participatory congregation. Her goal became for engagement to be "meaningful and successful," but she was challenged because it is different for different people. Wanting to reach the diverse populations, Rabbi Glazer looked at prayer, education, and other activities through a different lens - the time of day, the vehicle, and the initiative.

Link to the full article in The Connection - March 6, 2021

​​​​​​​New Rabbi - New Energy - New Light - New Inspiration!

Eternal Light Watches Over Adat Reyim

By Eric Schucht

Congregation Adat Reyim in Springfield began renovating its sanctuary and lobby about six years ago. So far, they’ve worked on the floors, ceilings, lighting and walls.

But the “pièce de résistance,” as congregant Andrea Cate describes it, is the new ner tamid, or eternal light, that hangs above the ark.

The eternal light was created by Minneapolis glass artist Claude Riedel. Cate said Riedel makes them in memory of his grandfather, who was imprisoned at Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany following Kristallnacht.

“The fact that Claude is now using his talents and his creativity to take broken glass and make it whole in his glass work is very meaningful,” Cate said.

Link to the full article in Washington Jewish Week - February 10, 2021

This community is a unicorn...we really get each other

‘We got the right rabbi,’ says Congregation Adat Reyim

By Eric Schucht

Rabbi Chana Leslie Glazer’s life has been defined by two “J”s, journalism and Judaism. She spent 15 years pursuing the former, working as a foreign correspondent. But in 2006, she chose to leave the industry in search of a new calling.

Around that time she attended a free High Holiday service hosted by the Jewish Federation of Miami. There she experienced something that drew her closer to Judaism. Conducting the service was Rabbi Jody Cohen, the first female rabbi Glazer had ever seen.

“I got really inspired by her,” Glazer said. “And I saw myself becoming a rabbi. It took a lot of years for me to make good on that. A lot of doubts along the way. A lot of challenges. But it really did come true. And it was that moment, that vision, that really carried me through to where I am now.”

In July, Glazer became rabbi of Congregation Adat Reyim in Springfield. She follows Rabbi Bruce Aft, who led the unaffiliated synagogue for nearly 30 years until his retirement.

Glazer was ordained in 2013 at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pa. Before coming to Adat Reyim. She said Adat Reyim’s values are in line with her own.

“I knew that Adat Reyim was the place for me from the moment I read the job description. There is a really interesting diversity of practices at the congregation: Reform, Conservative, traditional, Reconstructionist, secular. And over the years, I have worked with all of those streams of Judaism or lived that lifestyle myself. As a rabbi, I am kind of a unicorn that way. And this community is a unicorn, too. We really get each other.”

Link to the full article in Washington Jewish Week - February 5, 2021

VA Speaker of the House, Eileen Filler-Corn, Adat Reyim member, maintains strong ties to our congregation

Repairing the World from the Virginia Statehouse

by Gabby Deutch

In Washington, D.C., the synagogues of choice for prominent politicians, pundits and the literary set are seen as spiritual status symbols. Indeed, certain ambitious political types have been known to choose a popular congregation because of its prestigious membership roster. 

Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended High Holiday services at Adas Israel Congregation in Cleveland Park. Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew famously did not work on Shabbat, which he often observed at Georgetown’s Kesher Israel, where Joe Lieberman was also a member when he served in the U.S. Senate. During the Trump administration, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attended services at the D.C. Chabad in Kalorama.

Half an hour from downtown D.C., in Springfield, Va., Congregation Adat Reyim does not have the name recognition or the cachet of the Beltway’s most esteemed congregations. But the synagogue has long counted Eileen Filler-Corn as a member. Elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates in 2010 by a margin of just 37 votes, Filler-Corn, a Democrat, is now entering her second year as Virginia’s speaker of the House — the first Jewish person and first woman to hold the position. A year ago, just before she struck the gavel for the first time, she attended a celebratory Havdalah send-off at Adat Reyim. The music of choice? Filler-Corn’s favorite: Debbie Friedman, the late Jewish folk musician whose music is a mainstay at Reform congregations and summer camps.

Link to the full article in Jewish Insider - February 3, 2021

Rabbi Glazer is formally announced in the Washington Jewish Week

Rabbis hired by congregations in Northern Virginia, Montgomery Co.    

by Carolyn Conte

"Two Washington-area congregations announced they have hired new rabbis to succeed two retiring rabbis who, between them, have served more than 60 years.

Rabbi Chana Leslie Glazer will join Congregation Adat Reyim, an unaffiliated synagogue in Springfield. She’ll begin her tenure on July 1, after Rabbi Bruce Aft retires on June 30...."

Congregation supports member Lt. Col Vindman

Community Embraces Vindman Family                                                                                                                          by Susan Laume

Vindman family’s small congregation, of about 250 members and families, overwhelmed by hundreds of letters in support of the Vindmans.

On Friday, Feb. 7, Lt Col Alexander Vindman was removed from his job on the National Security Council and escorted from the White House.

In a statement, his counsel, Ambassador David Pressman, said “There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House. …During his decades of service to this country, LTC Alexander Vindman has served quietly but dutifully, and he has served with honor.

Link to the full article in the Connection Newspaper - February 15, 2020

Honored Member

Virginia's first female, first Jewish Speaker: Eileen Filler-Corn                                                                          by Lisa Richmon

Diversity across the Commonwealth. Diversity in the House.

Eileen Filler-Corn’s historical new role as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first woman and first Jewish Speaker of the House of Delegates is big news, locally, nationally, and even in Israel. Since November, Filler-Corn has been on the cover of Hadassah Magazine, Virginia Business, featured on NPR, in the Times of Israel, and in many other Virginia publications, including on the front page of the Virginian-Pilot.

Link to the full article in the - January 16, 2020

Synagogue Redesign Looks Toward Inclusiveness

Springfield — As the Congregation Adat Reyim in Springfield danced and sang to “Tsena Tsena,” the togetherness and friendship of a religious community was perfectly clear. Although they were celebrating the new sanctuary of the congregation, they already had the togetherness they sought, and were creating a new sanctuary as a look in the future of inclusiveness.

It all started with the need for a wheelchair ramp, and ended in something so much more.

“We started dreaming,” said Andrea Cate, the chairperson of the rejuvenation committee. “Like our parents did for us, we do for our children,” Cate said.


Photo by Mike Salmon

Andrea Cate hangs two new mezuzah’s on the synagogue door. One was lower for the children or wheelchair access, keeping in theme with the inclusiveness.

Rabbi Bruce Aft reiterated that feeling, as he said a few words before the ribbon was cut and the doors to the newly refurbished space opened. “This is what it’s all about,” he said as he called the children up front to hang a new “mezuzah,” which is an object in the Jewish faith hung by doors to bless the home.


The band played on as everyone danced.

The evening started out with a barbecue out front and then the clapping and dance began, as the “chuppah,” a Jewish canopy, was erected and scrolls of the Torah beneath the chuppah were brought into the new space, which featured a new wheelchair ramp to make the altar accessible to all. “This keeps with our theme of being inclusive,” said David Berkowitz, a member of the congregation.

Rabbi Aft said the torah, which is an altar, is a tree of life. “It will make it more inclusive, building on what was here,” he said. “Create energy and still attract younger folks,” he said.

The building committee came up with three factors that the congregates want for a new worship space to:
    - be inclusive and welcoming
    - foster connections among family and community
    - connect the congregation to nature

The nearly $800,000 project included a relocated wall, new furniture, flooring and a window to the exterior. Although the ribbon was cut and the festivities ensued, the project is only 85 percent complete. The project will be completely finished by Rosh Hashanah, which is Sept. 20.

When there was a break in the music and dancing, there was a reading that stated: “May each of us be inspired to create a community of friends.”

 Adat Reyim to Launch Parent Education Program on Cultivating Compassion 

                                                                                                                                                                                                      by Oren Litwin   (APR 26, 2018)

This fall, Congregation Adat Reyim of Springfield, Virginia, will launch a new parent education program, “Cultivating Compassion in Our Kids and Ourselves.” Funded by a $50,000 grant from the Greater Good Science Center of UC Berkeley (part of a larger grant made to the Center by the John Templeton Foundation), the program aims to introduce parents to a uniquely Jewish perspective on raising compassionate children, and to explore how it closely parallels the newest research in neuroscience about the foundations of ethical behavior.

The program development team includes Rabbi Bruce Aft of Adat Reyim, several parent facilitators, and Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, director of George Mason University’s Center for World Religions. Ordained at Yeshiva University, where he was a student of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Rabbi Gopin has most recently published “Compassionate Judaism: The Life and Thought of Samuel David Luzzatto.” “Science and Judaism have been running on parallel tracks for 200 years and have arrived at the same conclusion: Compassion is the cornerstone of ethical behavior,” he said.

Held over two years, the program will consist of 10 sessions made up of modules built around different parenting topics. Each module will feature one expert-led “Compassion Workshop” and one parent-led “Compassion Dialogue.” Parents can attend any of the sessions they like, and those who attend six or more sessions will receive a cash award and be recognized as a Parent Leader at Adat Reyim.

The program is meant to be accessible for parents who are new to studying the Jewish tradition, but at the same time deep enough to engage those with a more extensive background.

“We’re creating relevant and authentic points of entry into Jewish learning and community life,” said Adat Reyim executive vice president Dr. Shira Solomon, who recently participated in the Partnerships for Advancing Character Program Education, also funded by the John Templeton Foundation. “We’ll tap traditional texts and rituals as well as contemporary sources and practices.” But sessions won’t be mere lectures; the goal is not just to receive knowledge from experts, but to collect and create knowledge among peers. “I wrote the program I would want to participate in,” Solomon said, “and I do want to participate in it.”

Solomon, who has an extensive background in educational research and program evaluation, noted that many school-based and informal educational programs claim to be teaching their students character — but often don’t have a clear idea of the character outcomes they are trying to teach. There are many models of character, and a character-based educational program needs to define the concept so that it can resonate in the larger community’s schools, synagogues, and homes.

This is where the Jewish tradition can make a key contribution. “Parents are the frontline moderators of an overwhelming world,” said Rabbi Aft. “Judaism has so much to offer people as they raise their families. We need to spark dialogue, within families and in our community, about what it means to practice compassion towards oneself and others.”

 By Oren Litwin

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

 — Co-pastors at Burke Presbyterian Church Rev. Meg Peery McLaughlin and her husband Rev. Jarrett insist the interfaith Thanksgiving service held in their worship hall on Nov. 22 was not in response to any perceived disunity in the country following the Presidential election.

In fact, this was the 33rd annual service participated in jointly by Burke Presbyterian, the Congregation Adat Reyim in Springfield and Saint Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax.

Ezher Bloom Mosque of Fairfax joined a number of years ago, Jarrett said, and in 2013 members of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of Burke and the Durga Temple of Fairfax Station also became involved.

“We feel fortunate to lean on the good interfaith work of generations before us and that this kind of work is Burke Presbyterian’s DNA,” said Jarrett.

Jarrett’s wife Meg admitted, however, “We really needed it this year. Post-election, there’s a lot of anxiety about the country.”

The huge turnout from multiple faith communities Tuesday night, Meg called “a huge sign of hope.”

“You can lament about the hate in the country right now,” she said, “but there’s a great sense of readiness to act in a different way, that we’re capable of being different and being together.”

The service featured traditions of prayer and musical performance from Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism, including individual groups from the participating faith communities and a combined choir.

Jarrett delivered the thanksgiving message, or sermon. In it, he meditated on Psalm 46 from the Bible, including the line “God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.”

He referenced Spanish-speaking illegal immigrants being confronted at a worship service with a banner spray-painted telling them it was for “whites only,” a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat being assaulted while riding the subway and a Muslim girl being called a terrorist for wearing a hijab to school.

“I refuse to believe that God is unmoved by this or anything else that undermines any one of God’s creations,” Jarrett said. “And so I don’t want to be unmoved either.

“When we are moved in our hearts – when we allow the pain of our neighbors, especially those who are different from us, to move us in here,” Jarrett began to conclude, “when we are honest about what troubles us and when we listen to one another’s stories and when we hold those secret hurts together, I believe that is when our unity becomes stronger, when we dig in even deeper until we cannot, in fact, get tossed around by the raging of the nations.”

In an interview, Meg reiterated that the hard work of being united is not about “polishing off our differences,” but rather celebrating them.

“It’s OK to not be the same. We don’t dilute our faith. But how can we be different, distinct, and still be friends?” she asked. “We need to understand our differences. Sameness, we’ve had enough of that.”

Lay-led music has congregation following beat of its own folk group, choir

As Congregation Adat Reyim choir member Frannie Nadel looked out at the audience bopping their heads and clapping along to the music on Saturday night in Springfield for the synagogue’s “Praise and Inspiration!” concert, she knew that the year-and-a-half of planning and practice had paid off.

That hard work culminated in the concert that, for the first time, combined the choir, under the direction of Mitch Bassman, with the Shir Reyim folk group, under the direction of Larry Kugler and Russell Nadel, brother of Frannie.

Frannie Nadel is testament to the drawing power of the thriving lay-led music scene at Adat Reyim. She became a member when her brother and sister-in-law were looking to affiliate with a synagogue.

“They found this place, and they said, ‘You’ve got to come along. They’ve got a chorus. They’ve got a folk group. I think you’re really going to like it.’ So I was like, ‘Sure, why not,’” explains Nadel. “So I went along and I happened to be there for the High Holidays where the choir leads services. And the music was amazing. It was a four-part choral harmony to a lot of the melodies that I had grown up with and I just sat there going, ‘I want to do this. I want to be part of this chorus.’ And so I joined.”

Some might view the lack of a cantor as a minus musically for the congregation, according to Adat Reyim President Andrea Cate.

“We have freedom at Congregation Adat Reyim musically. We don’t have a cantor, which many of us wish we did. But we don’t. And so this allows us the freedom to create our own music,” Cate says.

Bassman founded the choir in 1983 with nine members. There are now 16 members who perform at two Shabbat evening services each month. Kugler founded the folk group in 1998 with six members. Today it has 12 members, including four or five musicians depending on the piece they are performing. The folk group performs monthly in the sanctuary.

The program included joint musical selections that required choir members and folk members to get out of their comfort zone. Some of the folk members who were used to more improvisation had to learn to read off the page while some choir members used to sheet music had to learn to “loosen up,” as Bassman describes.

Guest performers included students from the Adat Reyim Religious School and tenor soloist Alexander Kugler, son of Larry Kugler and his wife Eileen, who returned from San Francisco to his hometown synagogue to sing on Yah Ribon Alam. The wide-ranging musical selections included big choral pieces like Hal’lyua to the Ladino song Los Bilbilicos to the Klezmer medley Stompin’ at the Synagogue and even a rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

An unaffiliated congregation, Adat Reyim was founded in 1981 by three Northern Virginia families and has grown to nearly 300 families under the leadership of Rabbi Bruce Aft, the congregation’s spiritual leader since 1991.

Aft says the music is a “gateway to spirituality” for the folk and choir members.

“We’ve always been real supportive. And it’s just so nice to feel their energy and that’s something that’s really special.”

A Small Congregation Paves Their Jewish Legacy

We would like to introduce you to Elizabeth Bayer (Executive Director) and Steve Schwartz (CJL Volunteer) of Congregation Adat Reyim in Northern Virginia. Despite its relatively small size, Adat Reyim has secured the most letters of intent of all participating Create a Jewish Legacy (CJL) teams in the region. We visited Adat Reyim to find the secret to their success.

Steve responds to our inquiry somewhat puzzled. He relays that he simply doesn’t understand why anyone would not establish a legacy to support an organization that they care about. He remarked thaton hearing about the CJL program, “I thought, this is the first time we’re going to ask someone to give money without writing a check. Surely, folks would just jump on it.” He has personally solicited 50% of the 270 families who make up the Adat Reyim community.

Many people respond to Steve’s approach by suggesting that they are leaving everything to their children. Again, Steve in his jovial but incisive way responds by asking his prospects: “How much will aninheritance of $95,000 instead of $100,000 truly affect your children? Yet, how much of an impact would the $5,000 per child have on the small and caring Congregation?”

Within minutes, it is quite obvious that the essence of Adat Reyim’s success lies in Steve, himself. Elizabeth notes that: “Steve is the mensch of our congregation. He is the support of theoffice, he is the Mr. Fix-It, he is the Friday night baby walker, and he is the closest thing to a grandfather for most people.” It is clear that Steve’s personal relationship and commitment to the Adat Reyim community has resulted in a range of CJL conversations.

Steve’s love for Adat Reyim started simply after his wife “dragged” him to Adat Reyim in the 80’s, when it became time for their son to prepare for his Bar-Mitzvah. He attended a few events, a board meeting, and was then asked to become president. Steve remarks of Adat Reyim, “This is Cheers to me. This is a place where everybody knows my name.”

But how did Steve’s legacy asks get started? Steve shifts from his light-hearted predisposition, tears well in his eyes and he relays the story of how the first legacy conversation he had was with his own children, when he contacted them to let them know he intended to leave 10% of his estate to the Congregation. Their support proved to be the biggest validation of Steve’s love for his community and it set him on the path to rallying others to remember Adat Reyim in their final estate plans.

We take this opportunity to applaud Steve and thank him for his tremendous efforts. We also derive important lessons about CJL from Adat Reyim’s example.


More on the Legacy program:
To Build an Endowment, You First Have to Ask by David Holzel, November 2013. This article contains quoted statements from Elizabeth Bayer, member and Executive Director and Steve Schwartz, member regarding the Create A Jewish Legacy Program.

Mon, June 5 2023 16 Sivan 5783