Jewish Life

Leo & Anna Smilow Center for Jewish Living and Learning

Connect with Jewish life and culture your way through innovative and inclusive programs exploring modern life, social justice, culture, and more.

Upcoming Events

Senior Focus Group #2
Nov 30 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Senior Focus Group

We are re-convening our focus group to discuss the results of our senior survey and form working groups.

If you could not make it to the first focus group, we’d love to have you!

Soul Writing Circles – Three part class series for our Active Retiree’s Club (ARC)
Dec 6 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Soul Writing Circles

Soul Writing Circles – Three part class series for our Active Retiree’s Club (ARC)

What is it? A weekly in-person community Soul Writer’s Circle that brings members of the community together, so they can use the joint space to write. The method is based on the guidance of Rabbi Tamara Miller who will facilitate the writer’s circle by providing a meaningful prompt using Jewish texts. This prompt then encourages the individual to write freely in an unconstrained way. Participants will be encouraged to read their writing out loud to the group.

What is it not: It is not a place to critique someone’s writing style, thoughts, or to give opinions on someone’s actual writing, it rather is a safe shared physical and spiritual space, where people that usually wouldn’t write, are given this opportunity to take pen to paper and to physically engage in the cathartic and explorative writing process.


Tuesdays: December 6, December 13, December 20

Teacher Bio

Rabbi Tamara Miller is a community rabbi and the author of You are the Book, A Spiritual Memoir. She believes that the act of writing is a holy endeavor.

Active Retiree’s Club reception after The Pianist of Willesden Lane
Dec 14 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Join other active retirees for a desert and tea reception after the matinee performance of The Pianist of Willesden Lane. Meet new friends, discuss the show, and enjoy a little nosh!

Please purchase tickets to the show separately.

Celebrate Chanukah with Jews of Color and their Families
Dec 22 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Come light the menorah, eat delicious latkes, spin some dreidels, and have a great time creating community with other Jews of Color and their families!

Please note this holiday celebration is specifically curated for community members who identify as Jews of Color and for their families. If you do not identify as being part of this community, we invite you to attend a different Chanukah event happening at the EDCJCC instead.

When: Thursday, December 22, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Where: The Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center

COVID-19 Info: Currently, masks in public spaces at the EDCJCC are optional but we encourage and embrace everyone to do what feels best and most safe for themselves and their families. Proof of vaccination is no longer required to enter the building.

Questions? Contact Sonya Weisburd at

RSVP: This event is free but we kindly request you RSVP to help us ensure we have enough food! Click on the red “Register” button to proceed to registration.

This event is brought to you in partnership with Khazbar, Mosaic Visions, Washington Hebrew Congregation’s JOC Affinity Group, and Adas Israel Congregation’s Jews of Color Affinity Group.

Spring Language Class Registration Deadline
Jan 2 all-day
Spring Language Class Registration Deadline @ Zoom

Interested in learning or practicing a new language? You’re in the right place! Click here to learn more about the language classes we offer throughout the year.

This spring, all language classes will be held virtually via Zoom, from January 9-April 12, 2023. Language students will also receive a free ticket to Hebrew at the Movies.

The deadline to register for spring language classes is Monday, January 2, 2023.

Learn more and register today

Intro to Judaism
Jan 10 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Come explore the rich fabric of Judaism! Using traditional texts and modern examples, we will cover the fundamentals of Jewish life, including Shabbat and holidays, prayer, lifecycle rituals, ethics, and beliefs.

This class is ideal for learners with questions – whether you’ve never studied Judaism before in your life, you’re looking for a Hebrew School refresher, or you’re somewhere in between!
This session will be 7 sessions on Zoom and one in person session, the instructor will be in touch to confirm the date and location of your in-person session.

Dates: 8 Tuesdays, January 10 – February 28

General Registration: $210
Discounted Member: $180
Couple’s Price: $318

Instructor: Rabbi JoHannah Potts
JoHanna Potts is the former director of The Department of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Her teaching passion is to bring enjoyment to Jewish learning with a view towards empowering individuals to create lives of meaning through Judaism. Previously, she served as Director of Education at Temples Solel and Shalom, Director of The Primary School at Washington Hebrew Congregation, and Director of the Middle School at Gesher Jewish Day School. In 2006, she served as co-chair of the Conference for Alternatives in Jewish Education at Duke University. She has been involved with the DCJCC Jewish Women’s Project and helped coordinate and lead the group’s text study activities. JoHanna currently teaches the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, the Heritage series, a Women’s Torah Study Group, and conducts teacher training workshops.

Please contact Amanda Herring by email with any questions. Before registering, make sure you are familiar with the JLL Registration Policies.

The Torah of TV
Jan 18 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

What do shows like The Truman Show, Disney’s Coco, or The Handmaid’s Tale have to do with Torah? Rabbinical student Sammy Kanter will help students navigate the moral dilemmas and theoretical scenarios portrayed on our screens to help us better understand what Torah or Jewish thought might be trying to tell us.  

Each week, you will be assigned video “homework” which will all be available to rent or stream with a service (or at the Library) prior to class. Then, during class, we will explore ancient and modern Jewish teachings and discuss how they relate to the media we consume today.  

Join us for engaging community discussion, Torah learning, and binge-watching all in one awesome 4-week class! 

Dates: Wednesdays, January 18-February 8, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Presented in partnership with JxJ