HAZAK Links: Join · Contact · Need a Ride? · Upcoming Events

Hazak is the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s (USCJ’s) organization that supports programming for adults for people 55+.  More specifically at Beth Emeth, HAZAK is a congenial group for all interested adults of an uncertain age who want to continue to grow their Jewish and World understanding in a friendly and welcoming environment.  HAZAK members do not need to be CBE members.

We meet in the Social Hall from 1:00 to 3:00 on the third Tuesday of each month. We listen to a wide variety of excellent speakers, often discussing their latest books, and, of course, we nosh and schmooze.  We celebrate holidays and take trips.  We will begin our 2016-2017 HAZAK programming in September and run through June.  Please Join us!

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 www.tinyurl.com/CBE-Rides. You can also request a ride by phoning the office at 703-860-4515 ext 101.

Join Hazak

Have you joined? Have you renewed your membership? Don't miss out. Dues are $18.00; checks 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 logo

Hochmah: Wisdom
Ziknah: Maturity
Kadima: Looking Ahead


Questions About Hazak?

Contact Ted Benjamin, [email protected]. Ted also welcomes ideas for future speakers.

5778/2017-18 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: HAZAK Events on Interactive Calendar)

DateGuest Speaker and Topic
October 17, 2017

Chaplain Michael Bloom: American Jewish Military History; and Lincoln and the Jews

We will learn:

  • The special circumstances in which Jews started serving to protect our nation.
  • The well documented fact that Jews have served in the Armed Forces in at least the same percentage as our percentage of the population.
  • The key role Lincoln played in two major issues affecting Jews in The Civil War.
  • Some of the unique opportunities available to Jews in Uniform in the Military District of Washington.

Chaplain Michael Bloom is the National Deputy Chaplain of the Jewish War Veterans, the chaplain of the NMAJMH (National Museum of American Jewish Military History) and the chairman of the General Wingate Memorial (at which Rabbi Goldsmith spoke this past year), located at Arlington National Cemetery. Chaplain Bloom Received was ordained (Semicha) in December 2016. Chaplain Bloom is the author of several books on national security, law enforcement, Judaism and humor. He is also a teacher, cantor and Torah reader at various communities the Greater Washington DC area. He has been Head Docent and Historian (for a decade) at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. Other accomplishments include writing for Walt Disney Pictures and Office Director at The US Treasury Department.

November 21, 2017

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 6-day War that began on June 6, 1967 we will be showing an excellent documentary film about the war. The film is just under 2 hrs, providing insights and details about:

  • The events leading to the start of the war
  • The amazing logistical and military tactics employed by the IDF
  • The many IDF victories including the Sinai, Golan Heights and of course the liberation of Jerusalem
  • The international response from the USSR and the USA
  • The immediate aftermath of the war on Israel and the entire Middle East.

We will try to have CBE members who lived in Israel during this momentous time to discuss their experiences.  We will also share our own individual memories and thoughts.  

December 19, 2017

Professor Stephen Ruth: Getting to Know the Great Heroes and Villains of the Hebrew Bible

The cast of Hebrew Bible characters numbers in the thousands—patriarchs, judges, kings, prophets, prostitutes, musicians, priests, farmers, merchants, generals, hunters, soldiers and many more. This discussion will focus on some of the best- known of these: heroic women like Sarah, Deborah, Huldah, Jael, Ruth and Esther; the Patriarchs from Adam to Joseph; Moses and Joshua; David and Solomon; the good and bad kings (and one queen) of Judah and Israel; Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel); post-exile leaders like Ezra and Nehemiah. The approach will be descriptive and historical, not doctrinal. The famous figures of the Bible will be examined in the context of their stories and themes.

Dr. Stephen Ruth is Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and director of the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology (ICASIT). As director of ICASIT, Professor Ruth has received nearly thirty grant and contract awards and has also served as Associate Director of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s $2 million Internet Technology Innovation Center project, which linked Virginia’s university research centers to the high tech businesses in the state. His international IT projects cover over twenty sites in Africa, Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe. Dr. Ruth was a Distinguished Lecturer for the Association for Computing Machinery for ten years and was selected for two senior Fulbright lectureships, both in Argentina. He has received a Distinguished Professor award at George Mason University, and was a Virginia Outstanding Professor honoree.

Dr. Ruth received his BS from the U.S. Naval Academy and MS from the Navy Postgraduate School, and served twenty- three years in the Navy, retiring with the rank of Captain. His PhD is from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is author or co-author of over one hundred published articles and four books.

January 16, 2018

Cantor Hinda Labovitz: Elie Wiesel - Professor, Scholar

Elie Wiesel was famous as a storyteller of the Holocaust and a conscience of his generation. When he spoke, the world listened. But more important to him than these appearances on the world stage was his teaching in the classroom, around a conference table, where he cherished time discussing literature of all types with students at Boston University for over forty years. He would say, “All I ever wanted was to be a teacher,” and in some ways, it was his most important role. Cantor Hinda Eisen Labovitz was Professor Wiesel’s student for two years while she was an undergraduate at Boston University. She will discuss lasting impressions his teaching had on her understanding of literature, of Jewish text, and of her life’s mission on the earth.

Cantor Hinda Labovitz is the Cantor at Ohr Kodesh, a Conservative congregation in Chevy Chase. She received a B.A. in Religion and a concentration in Special Education from Boston University. Cantor Labovitz achieved ordination and a masters degree in Judaic studies at Hebrew College in Newton, MA in June of 2014. She is the two-time recipient of the Al Goldberg Scholarship in Jewish Music, and upon graduation, she also received the Israel Pollack Award for Excellence in Judaic Studies from Hebrew College.  She is also the 2013-2014 recipient of the Gideon Klein Scholarship from Northeastern University, for which she dedicated a year of independent study of the cabaret at the Westerbork concentration camp in the Netherlands. 

February 20, 2018

Liat Lisha (JCCNV Shlicha): Israeli Intelligence community  

The intelligence community is one of the most important cornerstones of Israel's national security. Its main tasks are to provide an ongoing warning at the national strategic level; preventing terrorism and preventing subversion at home and abroad; alongside bold and point-based actions, some of which are unknown and may never be revealed. How did it all start? How does the Israeli Intelligence Community look these days? What is the difference between the Mossad and Shabak (Shin Bet)? 

Liat is 23 years old and was born and raised in Ashdod, Israel to a family of Moroccan descent. She is a Web Fraud Content Analyst for IBM in Tel-Aviv, where she also works for the non-profit SheCodes, a group that aims to bring gender equality to the Israeli Hi-Tech industry. Liat initiated the opening of a SheCodes branch in her IBM office. She served as an Intelligence Analyst in the IDF for three years in the Israeli Intelligence Corps — 8200 unit. She was the head of an intelligence team of 12 soldiers. Liat left the service as Sergeant First Class. 

As a teen, Liat was chosen by the Ministry of Education to take part in a summer program called Seeds of Peace. This program brought together Israeli, Palestinian, American, Egyptian, and Jordanian teens to have an open dialogue about tolerance and acceptance. She continues to work with this group as a project manager.

March 20, 2018

Michael Willner: The Life of Eddie Willner – A Survival Story

Eddie Willner was my father. He was a German Jew who survived two and a half years of hard labor under brutal conditions at sub-camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, including one sub-camp in which the average prisoner survived six weeks. My father passed away in 2008, and the number of concentration camp survivors who can still tell their stories diminishes every year, but it is very important that those individual and family stories continue to be shared. We as Jews must be well informed about this defining moment in our history, and must never forget those who courageously endured and those who perished. There are also lessons to be learned for all Americans, and in fact all of humanity, that those who are intolerant of groups of people are a serious threat to everyone, and must be exposed and challenged at every opportunity. 

Michael Willner is a senior level official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). He has worked in various assignments in the US national security and Intelligence Communities (IC) for the past 18 years with the majority of his career spent in counterterrorism at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the ODNI’s National Counterterrorism Center. His current assignment is in the ODNI’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, where he works to ensure diversity and inclusion in the IC. Mr. Willner received a BA from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and completed the postgraduate program at the U.S. Government’s National Intelligence University. Over the past 15 years he has done extensive research on his father’s experiences in sub-camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald and has presented his findings at professional and community organizations.

April 17, 2018

Gail Greenberg: Discovering my Sephardic Ancestry

This talk reflects my extensive and surprising research into my Mother’s Sephardic ancestry based upon a 200+ year old family diary.  I had two articles published in the monthly magazine of the Jewish Genealogical Society (Washington DC chapter). In addition, one of the articles was included in the 25th anniversary publication of that organization.

Gail worked for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academy of Sciences as Executive Assistant to upper level management. She was Assistant Corporate Secretary of Riggs Bank, N.A and had several other positions before retiring almost 5 years ago. Since then, Gail has remained involved in a number of community service organizations. She served on the Board of Cornerstones as the CBE representative. She is actively engaged in the Embry Rucker Community Shelter. She participates in greeting WWII/Korean/Vietnam veterans as their flights land at Dulles Airport. Every other month she is a volunteer for Cool Green Bags which collects food for local food banks. She volunteers on CBE days at The Closet. Gail is a long-time, active member of the CBE Social Action Committee.

May 15, 2018

Historian David Weinstein: The Eddie Cantor Story - A Jewish Life in Performance and Politics

David Weinstein will discuss Eddie Cantor and the history of American Jewish popular entertainment,with a multi-media presentation featuring many rare photos, songs, and film clips. 

David is the author of The Eddie Cantor Story: A Jewish Life in Performance in Politics (Brandeis University Press, 2017). The book documents Cantor’s significance as a performer, philanthropist, and activist. This is the first scholarly biography of Eddie Cantor (1892–1964), who starred in theater, film, radio, and television. The book highlights Cantor’s influence on American Jewish social and political history through his celebrity activism, including his courageous campaign against Nazism during the 1930s. The Eddie Cantor Story also explores Cantor’s influence on popular entertainment over nearly forty years, from the late 1910s through the early 1950s. 

David Weinstein is an historian who lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area. He is the author of two books: The Eddie Cantor Story: A Jewish Life in Performance and Politics (2017) and The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television (2004). David holds a Ph.D. in American studies and has taught at the University of Maryland and George Mason University. He has written and spoken widely about subjects ranging from early television to popular media to American Jewish history. David is a senior program officer in the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

June 19, 2018

Film: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy plus a live piano performance by Jeffrey Rubin

As is customary for our last HAZAK meeting for the season, we will end with music and song. We will present the Film: “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy” accentuated with a live piano performance.

Engaging, humorous, and provocative, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy examines the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. The film showcases the work of legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim. Interviews with songwriters and luminaries including Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Schwartz, Harold Prince, Arthur Laurents, Charles Strouse, and Mel Brooks provide insight, alongside standout performances and archival footage. 

Narrated by Tony and Academy Award winner Joel Grey, this entertaining documentary mingles cultural history with illuminating perspectives on the origins and meanings of some of Broadway's most beloved songs, stories, and shows. There are Performances by Matthew Broderick, Kelli O'Hara, Zero Mostel, Nathan Lane, Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and many more. 

As an added treat, our own Jeffrey Rubin will play a selection of songs by Jewish Composers and lyricists on the piano.


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