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, hazak@bethemeth.org. Ted also welcomes ideas for future speakers.

Upcoming 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
January 17, 2017

Dr. Harry A. Butowsky: WWII Secret Ops

Historian Harry Butowsky will discuss his new book: WWII Secret Ops. In the book, Dr. Butowsky tells the Special Operations Executive (SOE) story of courage, sabotage, and subversion during WWII. The SOE was a secret British organization created early in the Second World War to encourage resistance and carry out sabotage behind enemy lines—or, as Winston Churchill famously challenged its first head, to “set Europe ablaze.” SOE also known as “the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare,” operated in most of the countries of occupied Europe. By mid-1944 it was 13,000 men and women strong.

Harry Butowsky and his wife Lois have been associated with Congregation Beth Emeth since 1979. Dr. 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 the book “I Survived….my name is Yitzkhak.” He has also authored World War II in the Pacific, a National Historic Landmark Study, six other Landmark Studies as well as sixty articles on military, labor, science and constitutional history. Dr. Butowsky teaches History of World War I and World War II at George Mason University. His Ph.D. is from Univ. of Illinois.

February 21

Na'ama GoldZionism Yesterday and Today

Na'ama Gold is the current Shlicha (emissary) at the JCCNV. We have all heard the term “Zionism” and some of us even describe ourselves as Zionists. In our journey we will learn about different perspectives of what Zionism is, how these definitions have changed over time and place, and the complexity of being Zionist and American.

The Shlichut (emissary) program is jointly sponsored by Northern Virginia’s Jewish community center and the Jewish agency, and is starting its tenth year. The program goal is to connect more Americans, Jews and non-Jews, to the state of Israel and Israelis, by education, recreation and fun.

Na’ama is Israeli born and raised. She grew up in the south of Israel by the dead sea and served in the IDF as an officer in a field intelligence unit. Na'ama received her B.A in Politics, Philosophy & Economics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and worked as a community developer in the Jerusalem Youth Center. Na’ama is in her second year as a Shlicha, and has been working with synagogues and other Jewish organizations in the Norther Virginia area, meeting hundreds of kids, teens and adults and connecting more people to Israel.  

March 21

Photo of March 2017 Hazak speaker Laura Cantor ZelmanAuthor Laura Cantor Zelman discusses her book, In My Father’s Words, The World War II Letters of an Army Doctor.

This self-published book gives an insight into one man’s thoughts about military life and a first-hand account of World War II, a global historical event that changed the world.

Mrs. Zelman’s father, Milton Cantor M.D., was a doctor who served in the Army from 1941 – 1945. The letters serve as a time capsule of his Army service years. Over the course of the war years he wrote more than 500 letters home to his wife, Rose. This collection of letters will take you inside his thoughts on the war, Army life, the Nazis, German and American POWs and, most interestingly, his meditations on life, values, family, love and freedom.

Laura Cantor Zelman is a graduate of Vassar College where she majored in sociology and minored in English. After graduating she moved to the Washington, D.C. area and eventually settled in Northern Virginia. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she is the oldest of the Cantor siblings. Laura grew up in a vibrant ethnic household which never shied away from lively political discussions. The Zelmans have three children and seven grandchildren. She has acted as a writer and editor of various volunteer organizations' publications and also enjoys writing songs, poems and skits for family celebrations

April 25

(note date adjustment due to the Pesach Holiday) 

Ms. Keren Waranch: Blooming with Innovation: Israel’s Negev Desert Today

Ms. Keren Waranch has been the Baltimore/Washington regional director of the American Associates of Ben Gurion University since 2007. Her presentation will highlight the latest developments and innovations occurring at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Waranch’s connection to BGU began as a student, when she participated in the Ginsburg-Ingerman Overseas Student Program for a semester program in 1994. Since that time, she has dedicated her professional life to promoting and supporting the State of Israel and BGU to her local Jewish community.

Before joining AABGU, she worked as assistant director in the Financial Resources Development Department at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and prior to that, as a Year Course recruiter for Young Judea.  In 1996-1997 Keren worked for the Jewish community in Donetsk, Ukraine as part of the international service project, AMITIM.  Keren received her BA from Emory University and her MA from George Washington University. She lives in Kensington, MD with her husband and two children.

May 16

Photo of May 2017 Hazak Speaker Bennett GoldBennett Gold: Jews and the United States Supreme Court

Bennett Gold, a very popular lecturer in the Northern Virginia community, will discuss the history of Jews and the U.S. Supreme Court. First, he will discuss what religious freedom was like during colonial days and how it evolved after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1789. He will then provide a look at the eight Jewish justices who have served on the Supreme Court and conclude his presentation with some major Supreme Court decisions that involve Jews and their freedom of religion.

For the past fourteen years, Bennett Gold has served as a US Supreme Court docent. He is a very popular lecturer for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutions (OLLI) and many cruise ships where he regularly teaches on famous trials and maritime subjects. Ben has a BA in political science from Stanford and an MS in computer science. After a distinguished 22 year career in the US Navy's surface warfare office, he served in executive positions within the information technology industry.

June 20

Please join us for an audio/visual tribute to the late great Jewish songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen. We’ll also have extra delicious desserts to mark the end of our HAZAK program year.

Leonard Cohen was born in Montreal in 1934 and began playing folk guitar when he was 15. As a young man, he wrote novels and poetry before devoting himself to folk music in the 1960s. Many of his beautifully-crafted songs recall his Jewish heritage. His 1974 “Who by Fire” was inspired by the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur after he visited with the IDF troops during the Yom Kippur war.  “Hallelujah,” one of Cohen’s most famous songs, spoke about King David, author of the Book of Psalms. He was a good friend of Israel, performing there many times to packed stadiums.

We will hear/watch excerpts from:

  • One of his last interviews with the New Yorker Magazine's David Remnick
  • Lecture from Duke University on Cohen and his music: "Hallelujah: The Poetry and Music of Leonard Cohen"
  • Fresh Air interview from 2006 with Terry Gross
  • Dvar Torah by ex-Chief Rabbi of England, Jonathan Sacks, on one of Cohen's last songs
  • Tributes from PM Netanyahu / Jerusalem Post / Aish.com / etc.
  • Song selections including those from stadiums in Israel which are very emotional
  • ​Plus other clips


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