Vision of Renewal

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The Renewed Spaces  |  From the Rabbi  |  With Eternal Gratitude 


The Vision of Renewal and the re-imagined synagogue spaces at Adas Israel honor our important history at the forefront of Jewish life in Washington, DC and our commitment to meet the constantly changing spiritual, intellectual and social needs of our dynamic and diverse community. 

The change is apparent as soon as you enter from Quebec Street, which over the years had become the main entrance for most members and visitors.  The spacious lobby is a forecourt, a welcoming central gathering place for the many Adas communities.  On one side, the inscription from Torah on the wall of Jerusalem stone quotes the words that gave our Congregation its name.  Benches encourage you to linger; the space encourages you to mingle. The other side of the lobby is a gallery that will display Judaic art and artifacts.  A front reception and security desk is conveniently and strategically placed.

Enter through the doors to the Charles E. Smith Sanctuary and you experience the same grand volume that has always been its hallmark.

Sanctuary Flag
The Renewed Charles E. Smith Sanctuary


But now the space is embraced by the extended balconies (which also allow handicapped access through doors to the synagogue’s upper floor).  You are encouraged to look heavenward by the oculus that allows rays of natural light to illuminate the sanctuary.  Below that opening is inscribed the Mah Tovu blessing of Jacob’s tents and Israel’s dwelling places.  The low bimah of maple wood and the seating pattern bring the clergy closer to the congregation and congregants face to face with each other, encouraging spirited and participatory worship.  The eastern wall is a backlit, dynamic surface of gently twisted strands of maple blocks.   A subtle height demarcation midway back on the ground floor encourages those who attend when the sanctuary is not full to congregate toward the front.  Ramps make the seating and the bimah accessible to everyone.

The ark, made of Jerusalem stone, is deliberately imposing.  When the monumental doors and parochet (curtain) open, what is revealed is a jewel box—and the Torahs are the jewels. 

Back in the lobby, the new Dr. Avraham Biran Beit Midrash, (House of Study) visible through walls of glass, is an oasis of learning and prayer and another place to gather and schmooze.  Here the daily morning and evening minyanim take place in the front, in the Kogod Chapel space within the Beit Midrash.  And all year long, programs of the new learning curriculum, MakomDC bring contemporary thought, learning and spirituality to the center of the synagogue. 

Gewirz Hall has become the Gewirz Beit Am (House of the People).  What was once a social hall occasionally used as a worship space is now a serene and elegant worship space that can also be used for social events.

Now that this phase of the Vision has been realized, it is up to all of us to live up to its promise, to maintain within our edifice the diverse, warm, welcoming and vital Jewish community for which it was designed.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“With this Renewal we are poised to become not just a synagogue for programs, services, and religious schools, but a true Spiritual Jewish Community”

-Rabbi Gil Steinlauf

•Admiration for Adas Israel and the Vision of Renewal in 
Transforming to inspire at Adas Israel, by David Holzel, Washington Jewish Week.


Full Architectural Photo Tour Coming Soon…
Sanctuary from balcony
The Renewed Charles E. Smith Sanctuary
  Sanctuary from balcony2
The Renewed Charles E. Smith Sanctuary
The Biran Beit Midrash (House of Study)
The Gewirz Beit Am (House of the People)
The Biran Beit Midrash (House of Study)
  renewal dance
The Renewal Dedication Ceremony

The Vision of Renewal Steering Committee
Steve Kleinrock, Herlene Nagler, Larry Nussdorf, Robert Peck, Russell Smith

The Vision of Renewal Design Committee
David Bickart, Jamie Butler, Leah Chanin, Jay Kirschenbaum, Steven Kleinrock, Michelle Leavy, Jerry Levine, Gary Malasky, Herlene Nagler, Lawrence Nussdorf, Robert Peck, Judith Heumann, Jennifer Gibson, Barton Rubenstein, Milton Shinberg, Russell Smith

Ex Officio to the Steering Committee
Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, Johanna Chanin, Arnold Podgorsky, Glenn Easton, Ariel Fausto, H3 Collaboration Architecture, James Wilson, Adam Lotinsky, JF Wilson & Company, Inc., Forrester Construction Company





Mah Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov, Mishkenotecha Yisrael
(Bamidbar 24:5)
How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling-places, O Israel.

Welcome Home. It is with great joy and enthusiasm that I welcome you into your renewed Adas Israel – a cornerstone for inspiring and enduring Jewish life in our community, and a place of joy, wonder, learning, warmth, and welcome for generations to come.

In the words of blessings above, now enshrined in our new Charles E. Smith Sanctuary oculus, we, the descendants of Jacob/Israel, are blessed in two ways–first, as dwelling in the tents of Jacob.  Second, as inhabiting a sacred dwelling as Israel.  We are, each of us, both Jacob and his higher self, Israel.  Each of us, like Jacob, are on our own life-journey, struggling to live in the tents of our own yearnings and goals and loves.  But each of us is also Israel—connected to so much more; able to come together to affirm tradition, holiness, values, and the highest noblest aspects of our human qualities. 
An Engaging session in the Biran Beit Midrash


The Renewal of Adas Israel is that we are now both these “tents” together as one:  in the tent of Jacob, our personal experience is validated and appreciated; in the dwelling of Israel we are connected to a community, a history and a purpose greater than ourselves.

Adas Israel’s venerable, unique history is sacred and honored. Its present is joyful and full of possibility. And now, thanks to all those who made this renewal possible, its future is limitless and ever-enduring. I couldn’t be more proud of this community’s accomplishments.

As Senior Rabbi, nothing is more important to me and my family than knowing that each and every member of this community finds themselves truly at home at Adas Israel. Our mission is to ensure that all of us experience a warm, welcoming, honest, and nurturing atmosphere of community and growth within our congregational home. The worship and gathering spaces that we dedicated this season reflect the community’s ongoing and sacred efforts to enrich the lives, relationships, and personal Jewish journeys of everyone who walks through our doors. There is a place here for our personal tent of Jacob, as well as a place for us to encounter the majestic dwelling of Israel within ourselves.

This congregation, historic and vital, is once again paving an enduring path for everlasting Jewish tradition, community, learning, spiritual truth, and sacred action. May this be a community of warmth and welcome. May this be a community of endurance and passion. May this be a community that cherishes the gift of looking into the eyes of another.   As stunning and beautiful as this new edifice is, it is the presence of one another within these walls, our prayers, conversations and relationships that will bring us closest to God. Adas Israel is sacred and enduring: a precious resource, a community that deserves to celebrate – to dance, to sing to Adonai a new song! May God continue to bless Adas Israel, its members, its schools, its staff, and its leaders. And may God see fit to endow each and every one of us, in the tents and dwellings of our lives, with a Vision of Renewal of our very own.



The Adas Israel community, the Vision of Renewal Lay Leadership, as well as the synagogue staff and clergy, extend their warmest and deepest appreciation to those who made this historic renewal possible. “Welcome Home. These spaces are for all of us!”



Charles E. Smith Sanctuary
dedicated by
Robert H. & Clarice Smith and Robert & Arlene Kogod

Max N. Berry & Family in memory of
Heidi Lehrman Berry

Beit Midrash in memory of Dr. Avraham Biran dedicated by Susie & Michael Gelman

Beit Am Ark in memory of Dr. Irving Brick

Sanctuary Bimah & Menorahs dedicated by Diane & Norman Bernstein



Sanctuary Ark Parochet Curtain dedicated by Norma Lee & Morton Funger

Beit Am dedicated by Bernard & Sarah Gewirz

Sanctuary Ark in memory of Estelle & Melvin Gelman dedicated by Elise & Marc Lefkowitz & Family

Kay Hall & Sanctuary Balcony dedicated by Barbara & Jack Kay

Quebec Street Foyer & Lobby dedicated by Robert & Marion Rosenthal

Beit Midrash Learning & Media Center in memory of Jordan Baruch dedicated by Rhoda Baruch & Family

The Nussdorf Family




Sanctuary Ner Tamid dedicated by Richard & Judy Cohen, Deborah & Stephen Ellick, Philip & Ronit Cohen, Gary & Laurie Cohen

Sanctuary Reading Table dedicated in memory of Shirley & Ethyl Povich

In memory of Mozelle Saltz by Donald Saltz


Quebec Street Mezuzah in memory of Mildred & Israel Hofberg dedicated by Sandy & Stanley Bobb & Family

Rabbi's Chair & Sanctuary Torah Mantels in memory of Arnold Bortman dedicated by Nadine Levin, Eileen Lehrer, & Donni Rappaport

Sanctuary Foyer & Entrance dedicated by Harriet & David Bubes, Nancy & Alan Bubes

Emanuel Cohen Judaica Collection & Sanctuary Torah Mantels dedicated by Nina Cohen

Inscribed Stone Foyer Wall dedicated by Ambassador Joseph & Alma Gildenhorn, Michael & Catherine Gildenhorn

Sanctuary Torah Mantels & Kogod Chapel Ner Tamid dedicated by Sonia & Joseph Herson

Lobby Gallery in memory of Murry Mendelson dedicated by Lorita Mendelson, Herlene & Yaacov Nagler, Alfred & Ida Mendelson Foundation

Sanctuary Window & Torah Mantel dedicated by Judith & Russell Smith

Beit Midrash Community Refreshment Center dedicated by Marilyn & Stefan Tucker










Jamie & Joseph A. Baldinger & Family

Sanctuary Kiddush Table dedicated by the Bieber-Rosenzweig Family

Prayer Book & Bible Bookcase dedicated by Sarah & David Brooks and Johanna Chanin & Randall Levitt

President's Chair dedicated by Johanna Chanin & Randall Levitt

Memorial Board in memory of Melvin S. Cohen dedicated by Ryna Cohen, Neal & Marcella Cohen, Diane & Howard Zack, Mark & Theresa Cohen

Reception Desk dedicated in memory of Eva Goldberg

Estate of Herman Goldberg

Sylvia Kay Greenberg

Marvin & Beatrice Gray Jacobs

Kippah & Tallit Cabinet dedicated by Carol & Richard Margolis

Beit Am Torah Mantels dedicated by Charlotte & Abraham "Hersh" Muchnick (z"l)

Beit Am Ner Tamid dedicated by Barton & Shereen Rubenstein

Sanctuary Mezuzah dedicated by Stanley R. Zupnik


Susan Liss

Beit Midrash Mezzuzah dedicated in memory of our parents by Linda & Sidney Moskowitz

Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz Confirmation Hall in memory of Rabbi Stanley & Anita Rabinowitz dedicated by their children



Toni & David Bickart

Sanctuary Torah Mantel dedicated by Leonard & Frances Burka

Beit Am Torah Mantel dedicated by Gail Levine & Ian Gershengorn

Grace & Daniel Melrod

Beit Midrash Torah Mantel in memory of Janice Ruth Peck dedicated by Lynn Palmer & Robert Peck

Beit Midrash Torah Mantel in memory of Col. Henry L. & Helen T. Peck dedicated by Lynn Palmer & Robert Peck

Barbara & Bert Rein

Alan Roth & Michael Rodgers

Elinor Yudin Sachse & Harry R. Sachse

Stanley Scherr

Mickie Simon & Brian Schwalb

Gail & Robert Wilensky

Ellen & David Winter

Beit Midrash Learning & Study Area dedicated by Mark Yecies







Miriam & Sanford Ain

Leah Chanin

Dorothy & David (z"l) Linowes

Florence K. & Laurence H. Meyer

Cynthia & Joel Rosenberg

Lorain & Irving "Bud" Rothstein

Sandy & Ted Schulman

Dr. William & Vivienne R. Stark


Adas Israel Sisterhood

Adas Israel Sisterhood Gift Shop

Betty Adler & Mark Rosenberg

Dr. Clement & Sandra Alpert

In memory of Cecile & Seymour Alpert

Debra Benator & Randall Wagner

Sharon L. Burka

Morris J. Chalick, M.D.

Cindy, Glenn, Lisa, & Amy Easton

Lois & Michael Fingerhut

Ricki Gerger

Michelle & Stephen Grayson


Ava, Neal, Elissa, & Jay Gross

Melvin L. Jacobson

Jennifer & Michael Kagan

Elyse Kaye

Marky & Martin "Bo" Kirsch

Ruth & Steven Kleinrock

Lynn & Morris Kletzkin

Stuart Kurlander & David Martin

Judie & Harry Linowes

Jennie Litvack & Robert Satloff

Adina & Sander Mendelson

Jennifer & Daniel Mendelson

Geraldine Fogel Pilzer

Joel Plotkin

Christina Larsen & Arnold Podgorsky

Anne & Henry Reich Family Foundation, Lee G.Rubenstein

Amy Schwartz & Eric Koenig

Rita & Bernard Segerman

Sherry & Cary Sherman

Nancy & Mark Silverman

Dale & Alan Sorcher

Trish & George Vradenburg

Diane Abelman Wattenberg

Susan Wedlan & Harold Rosen





Adas Israel Men's Club

Rabbis Gil & Batya Steinlauf

Laurie & Dan Aladjem

Ellen & Stanley Albert

Amanda & Michael Alter

Judith Bartnoff & Eugene Sofer

Catherine Bendor & Shelley Klein

Robin & Robert Berman

Lisa & Joshua Bernstein

Maya A. Bernstein

Leonard & Ruth Binn

Dorothy & Richard (z"l) Block, Block-Popick Foundation

Andrea Brown

Jamie & Stuart Butler

Carol Cardinale & Dan Himmelfarb

Michael & Laura Cutler

Meredith & Michael Cymerman

Rosalyn & Kenneth Doggett

Lisa & Alvin Dunn


Diana Engel

Sandra & Andrew Eskin

Jackie Eyl & Leonard Chanin

Renée & Roger Fendrich

Philip & Jody Fidler

Harry D. Friedman & Nathan Katz

Barbara & Mel Gelman

Debra Goldberg & Seth Waxman

Amy Golen & Cliff Goodman

Abby Greensfelder & Frank Foer

Forrester Construction  Company

Jonathan Hardis

Patricia Hartge & Alan Strasser

Amy & Andrew Herman

Judith Heumann & Jorge Pineda

Carol & Larry Horn

Alexandra & Michael Horowitz

Harriet & Arthur Isack

Nadine & Alan Jacobs

Deborah & Mark Joseph


Beth Kanter & Jeffrey Goodell

Hazel & Bob Keimowitz

Sheldon Kimmel

Janet Kolodner

Nancy & Ed Kopf

Amy & Stephen Kroll

Sandra & Stephen Lachter

Grace & Irwin Lebow

Jackie S. Levinson & Ira Berkower

Susan & Howard Liberman

Patti Lieberman & Jeffrey Knishkowy

Unice Lieberman & Stephan Diamond

Eva Sereghy & Andrew Lipps

Alan Lipsitz

Jane & Robert Loeffler

Jodi & Philip Lowit

Ruthanne & Robert Miller

Laurie Moskowitz & Steve Rabinowitz

Joan Nathan & Allan Gerson

Carolyn Goldman & Sidney Polakoff


Michael & Deborah Poliner

Edna & Larry Povich

Pamela Reeves & Jeffrey Goldberg

Judith Rabinowitz & Joel Fischman

Dan & Aviva Rosenthal

Debbie & Ron Sann

Rise & Ronald Schlesinger

Charlotte & Hubert "Hank" Schlosberg

Karen & Milton Schneiderman

Lisa & Steven Schwat

Lauren Rubenstein & Steven Shapiro

Margaret Siegel

Mindy & Jeff Sosland

Estate of Ruth St. John

Beth & Jeremy Steindecker

Mimi & David Strouse

Susan & Richard Ugelow

Marion & Michael Usher

Jessika & David Wellisch

Robin K. Wiener & Roger A. Nehrer

Anne & Robert Yerman





Dirk Aardsma

Kimberly & Steven Aftergood

Amy & Stephen Altman

Patty Perkins Andringa

Irwin Ansher & Aurora Reyes  

Laura & Perry Apelbaum

Flora Atkin

Bonnie Auerbach

Marilyn & David Austern

Jacob & Donna Bardin

Jesse Baumgold & Linda Golden

Jerome Berman & Bonnie Politz

Gloria & Alvin Bernstein

Jeffrey & Laura Blumenfeld

Kenneth Boley & Laura Epstein

Cantor Arianne & Rabbi Randy Brown

Sheri & Matthew Brown

David Buck

Michelle Bugzon & Jay Kirschenbaum

David & Ruth Kevess Cohen

Ellen Cohen

Jeffrey N. Cohen

Joy & S. Robert Cohen

Marshall & Arlene Sidell Cohen

Richard Cohen & Kathy Krieger

Shirley L. Cohen

Stanley Cohen & Sue Ducat

Stuart B. Cohen

Jennifer Daniels & Herrick Fox

Alan & Melissa Goldman Davidson

Pamela Ehrenberg

Ross Eisenman & Shelley Tomkin

Stephen & Deborah Ellick

Carol Federighi

Rabbi Charles & Krayna Feinberg

Sara Feldman

Mita & Joshua Felman

Nora Fischer

Perla & Jules Fox

Philip & Marianne Gabel

Rhoda & Joel Ganz

Margaret & Lev Gilboa

Kathryn Gingles & David Esquith

Karen & Lester Goldberg

Robert Goldberg

Kenneth Goldstein

Lorna Grenadier

Beth & Curtis Groves

Barry & Ilene Heller

Beth & Stephen Hess

Edith & Arthur Hessel

Rabbi Lauren & Ari Holtzblatt

Ken & Kathy Ingber

Jeffrey Isaacs

Elaine & Michael Jaffe

Roz and Gary Jonas

Stephen & Toby Kahn

Douglas Kamerow & Celia Shapiro

Max Kampelman (z"l)

Daniel B. Karchem & Francine Raizes in honor of Johanna Chanin & Randy Levitt

Mark Katkov & Ellen Hamilton

Susan Kay & Samuel Frumkin

Edward Kean & Nancy Worth

Stephen Kelin & Joy Lerner

Morris & Susan Klein

David J. Kline

Alisa Kramer

Helen Kramer

Henry N. Krieger

Michael Leifman & Sharon Samber

Bill Levenson

Susan & Mark Levenstein

Bruce Lewis

Zev Lewis

M.B. Lewis Family Foundation

Harriet Lipkin & Chris Sautter

Donald & Susan Lubick

Eli & Pauline Evans Roth Memorial Fund

Stephanie & David Lynn

Jodi & Rodd Macklin

Ellen & Gary Malasky

Nechama Masliansky

Naomi & Haim Malka

Thea & Gary Mason

Judith and Harry Melamed

Stephanie Meyer & Eric Dunn

Adrian & Annette Morchower

Shirley Narcisenfeld (z"l)

Jessica & David Nemeth

Lydia & Sanford Parnes

Melanie & Ken Pell

Joshua & Stacey Perelman

Roberta Pieczenik

David Polonsky

Stephen Pomper & Betsy Anderson & Family

Martin Prosky & Ellen Snyder

Harry Rand & Jennifer Gibson

Lesley & Charles Rich

Richard Peterson-Grace in Motion

Gail & Don Roache

Naomi & Peter Rosenblatt

Patricia Rosenman

Rachel Rosenthal

Seth Rosenthal & Stephanie Robinson

Sandy & Bonnie Roskes

Bette Rothstein

Mary Elizabeth Sadun

Kathy & S. Gerald Sandler

Lisa Schnall

Michelle & Carl Schoenberger

David Schorr & Judith Krones

Linda F. Segal

Randy & Eileen Sherman

Rennie Sherman & William Willis

Milton Shinberg & Judith Ross

Norman Shore

Frederic & Felissa Siegel

Judith & Jay Silberman

Michael Sloan & Maria Lasa Sloan

Ruth Snyder

Joyce & Michael Stern

Susan Stiles

Ari Strauss

Betsy Strauss

Suzanne Stutman

Elinor Tattar

Harry & Charlotte Teicher

Stephen Trachtenberg in honor of Francine Trachtenberg

Donald & Debra Tracy

Steven J. Weiner

Brian Weinstein

Roslyn & Paul Weinstein

Nancy & Dan Weiss

Anita & Robert Wellen

Beth Werlin & Michael Wiesenfelder

Allen & Annette Wolpe

Jacob Yeston & Sarah Leffler

Kinney Zalesne & Scott Siff

Carol Zawatsky