Fun With Numbers

Hopefully, you were able to take part in one or more of the many events of the last three months.  It was a time for special honors, traditions and for merriment. It was also a good example of the many programs that happen throughout the year here at NVHC, and because of the dedication of the people that make them happen. In January, the Cohen, Fram, Kruger, Groff and Mitnick families hosted Garden of Eatin' gatherings. One in early February was delayed by a Super Bowl scheduling conflict, which given the snow that weekend, was fortuitous.  It will have been hosted by the Rosenblooms' by the time you read this. In late February, the events started to reach a crescendo. The week before Purim, the NVHC Brotherhood held their second Latke vs. Hamantash debate.  Although a new tradition for us, it was borrowed from the University of Chicago where it has been going on for 64 years.  The debate was moderated by Rabbi Emerita Gold, and the three debaters on each side made their case for their favorite delight. The 50 in attendance enjoyed the presentation and the oneg that followed.

The next morning, the Brotherhood continued with their monthly Family Breakfast. This tradition has been going on for 18 years now, and many of us look forward to it.  Not only can you get a good breakfast at an unbeatable price, but you can schmooze with 100 or more of your fellow congregants.  The next Family Breakfast is April 11th.

That Sunday night was the fifth in the series of Garden of Eatin' gatherings, where forty-seven people enjoyed a meal prepared by the Grossier-Newcomb family. A grand total of 140 people attended the Garden of Eatin' events, many of them having attended more than one event!

The following Friday, we honored Andy Sandberg on the occasion of the 613th student he has prepared for chanting their b'nai mitzvah Torah portion at NVHC.  Andy has been preparing our students for 18 years now!  Rabbi Gold recounted how we came to choose Andy (turns out it was not just for his good looks!). Sam Pinansky was his first student, and Hannah Menchel had the honor of being number 613. Around 30 of his previous students were able to attend the service, and join the procession as Andy carried the Torah around the sanctuary filled with 300 people.  Those students then got to see "Mr. Sandberg" do exactly what he has taught them to do, chant the weekly parsha. Because he is not a full time employee, we occasionally forget to add Andy in our staff kudos.  Given he has seniority over all but one of our current staff, I think it is appropriate that we include him when we thank our wonderful staff for all they do to make NVHC a special place to worship, study, and celebrate.

Saturday night we gathered for Erev Purim, where Cantor Altshul led us in the Megillah reading.  Then, David Goldberger and his crack team of schpiel writers and performers gave us their rendition of Dancing with Shushan's Stars. David has been doing this for 10 years, starting with Grogger Wars, Parsha 1, and other contemporary themes such as Shushan Idol and Sponge-Gal Esther.  Thank you, David, and the Shusan players cast (20-plus this year, and many more in the past) for your wonderful interpretations of the Purim story, and for carrying on a tradition that has been here for over 30 years. Sunday afternoon the NVHC Brotherhood was back again with the annual Purim Carnival, which has been going on for thirty years. This year it was bigger than ever, and several new skill activities were added to challenge kids of all ages.  Our social hall, multi-purpose room and adult lounge were full of 200 people who were enjoying themselves. Thank you to the 50-plus volunteers who helped to make sure this tradition was as successful as the previous years. Fun was had by all, and no one went away empty handed or with an empty stomach.

As I write this at the end of February, our adult choir, Kol Shirah (20-plus members), is preparing for a special concert in March, in tandem with Washington Hebrew Congregation's choir. And our yearly Interfaith Trialogue will have occurred on March 14th here at NVHC, as the tradition of over 20 years continues on a rotating basis, with it being our turn to host St. Thomas à Becket Church and ADAMS.

All of these events provide opportunities for our 466 families to participate in varied events, along with the many educational programs available. These activities are the result of an enormous number of dedicated volunteers with assistance from our staff. Let me encourage you to take part in the many more activities that will occur this year, and ask that you too become one of the committed volunteers that make them become a reality. Let any of the Board of Trustee members know that you are interested, and we will be glad to guide you in getting involved. Not only will you accomplish a mitzvah, but we also hope that you will have fun in the process!