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Life at Kesher

We are excited to welcome you to the Kesher community. We come together not just to pray and learn, but as a pillar of support for both the highs and lows of our members' lives. Below you’ll find some common ways we engage in life cycle events, and please reach out to us if we can be of support in other ways as well.


If you or a loved one become ill or homebound, Kesher volunteers are available to provide assistance. Please email with any needs. 

Other local resources:

  • Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington - BCGW supports patients and their families with food deliveries, social support, transportation assistance, and more.  Email:
  • imadi - imadi supports families in the Greater Washington area who have a child diagnosed with a chronic illness or genetic condition, with case management and programming. Email:


Announcing a Simcha

If you would like to announce the simcha of a Kesher Israel member, such as an engagement, aufruf, birthday, anniversary, yartzeit, or any other personal or professional achievement in the weekly announcements, please email

You can find current and previous SAPs on our website at Have something to share in the SAP or the Tuesday Weekly Digest? Email by 5 PM Wednesday (SAP) or by 5 PM Sunday (Digest).

Welcoming a New Baby

Mazal tov on your new addition! Please email so we can share the news. We can also coordinate meals from the community as you welcome your little one, help you plan a bris, simchat bat, or pidyon ha-ben, and connect you with the Gabbai team to say Birkat HaGomel, the prayer recited during Torah reading by one who has recently survived a dangerous situation, including childbirth. 

A few local mohelim include:

Rabbi Avraham Rappaport
cell: 443-790-6541
home: 301-260-7590
Rabbi Dr. Avi Z. Rosenberg MD, PhD
Certified Mohel (Baltimore) 
Rabbi Henesch (Baltimore)
(410) 340-8130


If you would like to celebrate your upcoming wedding with an at Kesher, please email

Rabbi Shafner is happy to meet with all couples contemplating marriage and will discuss opportunities for Kesher involvement, whether the wedding is local or elsewhere.

We can also celebrate with an afruf, and can discuss when you would like to have it and what you would like it to include. The aufruf can include aliyot and a misheberach (special blessing) for the couple, and you and/or your relatives and friends may also want to read Torah, read haftarah, have an aliyah, give a Dvar Torah, or lead services, all of which the Gabbai Committee will help you arrange.

And if you would like to sponsor kiddush in honor of your aufruf, please email the office at

Sponsoring Kiddush

If you would like to sponsor a kiddush in honor of a special event, contact the shul office at More information can be found here 

Having an Aliyah

If you would like to have an aliyah to mark a special event, email the Gabbai Committee at

Bar/Bat Mitzvahs

If you are interested in having a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at Kesher, email Rabbi Shafner at


When a Kesher Israel member experiences a loss (of a spouse, parent, sibling, or child), Kesher can help coordinate support in a variety of ways throughout the mourning period. If you or someone you know has suffered a loss, please email

We support a mourner in a variety of ways: 

  • Notifying the community about the funeral, shiva, and opportunities for supporting the mourner
  • Coordinating shiva minyanim, including finding gabbais, daveners, and leyners and providing siddurim and a torah as needed.
  • Coordinating food and other things that would be helpful during shiva.
  • Coordinating meals for the post-shiva period.
  • Rabbi Shafner is available to discuss the halachot of mourning, including kaddish and planning for the first yahrzeit. 

The Chevra Kadisha of Greater Washington provides information on burial arrangements, local funeral homes, Jewish funeral practices, and more. Kesher has several cemeteries, one on Southern Avenue in the District of Columbia and a section at Judean Gardens in Maryland. Contact Rabbi Shafner and Board Trustee Michael Sherman with questions regarding the cemeteries.

Memorial Plaque

Nameplates or plaques are inscribed with the English and Hebrew names of the departed along with the date of death in both the standard and Hebrew calendar. Beside each plaque is a memorial light, which is lit annually on the Yahrzeit and Yizkor services. At Kesher, the plaques are located on our Sanctuary walls. The Ritual Committee keeps the lights lit in observance of yarhzeits and holidays. You can place an order for a plaque here.

Wed, May 29 2024 21 Iyyar 5784