Wednesday, March 22, 2017

YISE/KMS Purim Carnival!

As has now become the tradition for the past three years, Kemp Mill Synagogue and Young Israel Shomrai Emunah have come together to create a joint Purim carnival that helped to heighten the achdus within our community. Alternating hosting each year, this year’s festivities brought roughly 250 people to KMS from all over the community. The range of activities included three large inflatables (pirate ship, moon bounce, and a velcro wall), a variety of carnival games (including but not limited to ring toss, skeeball, high striker, and much more), and face painting. For the younger children, there was also a Purim storyteller, and a Purim sing-along. Children of all ages were thrilled to be able to go to the Purim costume dress-up booth to find clothing that took them back to the days of Shushan!
In addition to the wonderful fun games and activities, children also had the opportunity to take part in a wide array of tzedakah (philanthropic) projects benefitting local and Israeli organizations. All of the tzedakah projects and carnival festivities were run by teens from local shuls and schools. Countless families expressed how wonderful it was to see children from several schools and families from different shuls come together to celebrate the holiday.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Parshat Lech Lecha Warring Kings: A (K)night of Chess and Checkers

Last night we hosted a packed house as children and adults alike battled it out on the chess and checkers boards. It was certainly a KNIGHT to remember as each person CHECKED in and found a MATE to play with. Nobody was BOARD as parents played with their children, friends played against each other, and parents were able to play against other parents.
Even more impressive than the turnout was the great middot that were displayed by all as everyone played with good sportsmanship and shook hands as they finished. Throughout the hall, many people shared their excitement for this event and requested to have more game nights. Another game night is certainly going to be in the works in the future.

Last but not least, Ben Yehuda supplied us with pizza for this event. Everyone came hungry, and left with smiles on their faces. Thank you to everyone who came out and made this night so special, and we look forward to seeing you at Dor L'Dor starting next week which will take place every other week for the next several weeks. Our next YISE Youth event will be the Chanukah carnival on December 18th.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Shaimos or Shame On Us: Are we throwing out things that we should be burying

Our "Shaimos or Shame on Us: Are we throwing out things that we should be burying" event was a true learning experience. Ice cream aside, Rabbi Rosenbaum spoke about the different types of shaimos that we might encounter, and we set up multiple piles for the different classifications.

All in all, we went through about 15 boxes full of shaimos and separated out the items. Among the items were quite a treasure trove of interesting items, including a full bag of  siddurim for the US Armed forces, tallitot, bentchers from many smachot over the past 3 decades, and more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

YISE Youth Hockey Night!

YISE Youth most definitely rocked the red as we took over our section in the Verizon Center. In addition to having a great view of the entire arena, every person in our group also got a great Washington Capitals red t-shirt to take home.

With the Capitals in first place in the entire NHL and on pace to have the best record in the history of the game, it was truly a treat to watch a team with 4 all star players take the home ice. From the drop of the puck, the Capitals were skating fiercely and went up 2-0 pretty quickly. After Ottawa got a goal to bring the score to 2-1, the Caps did not let up again. The next 5 goals were scored by the Capitals in a 7-1 blow out win!

Not only did this make for a ton of action in a sport that is not known for its high scores, but we got to witness history. Alex Ovechkin became the 6th fastest player in the history of the NHL to score 500 goals! This was a tremendous milestone, and the game was stopped as fans threw their hats onto the ice, the Capitals emptied their bench to congratulate Ovi, and both teams paid their respect to him by tapping their sticks on the ice. Large signs flashed with Alex Ovechkin and 500 goals sprawled across the jumbotron.

All in all, this was a wonderful shul event that was well attended! We look forward to seeing everyone out for our Shaimos or Shame On Us event in February and our joint YISE and KMS Purim Carnival which will be hosted this year by Shomrai on March 20th.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Chanukah Miracles, Music, and Moonbounce!

A great time was had by all this year as we celebrated going into the 8th night of Chanukah with a sing-along by world traveled singer Mr. Gavri Tov-Yares. Gavri sang a variety of songs in Hebrew and English as well as teaching a song of Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) sephardic descent called "Ocho Kandalikas".

Even though the music ended at 12:45, the fun certainly did not stop. Everyone came into the social hall and got to experience a 30 foot inflatable castle obstacle course, Chanukah coloring pages, dreidel spinning tournaments, sufganiyot, and pizza.

Once everyone had bounced to their hearts desire and filled up on pizza and sufganiyot, a large group of kids gathered front and center for a fantastic Olive Oil Scavenger Hunt. After hearing a Chanukah related question, the children all worked together to decide the correct answer to the question. Once the correct answer was given, the children were given a clue as to where the next vessel of oil was hidden.

Once all 8 of the bottles of oil were found, we got to end off the day with lighting the Chanukiah. We again were blessed to have a mix of people from a variety of neighborhoods coming together for a great Chanukah celebration.

Light up the night!
Brett Kugler

Monday, November 16, 2015

Midrash, Manicures, and Milkshakes!!!

Midrash, Manicures, and Milkshakes was a great success for the second year in a row! Even with more seating, over 100 people registered within the first 15 hours, and we had a sellout crowd.

This year, our speaker Mrs. Cortell spoke about Chanukah and miracles. She also engaged the audience with questions that allowed for audience participation. After the D'var Torah, the nail polish painting began. This year, we had a greater variety of choices for both the nail polish as well as the milkshakes, and we didn't stop making milkshakes until everyone had the option for multiple servings.

Once the nail painting was completed, participants got to eat pizza and socialize with friends. It is always so nice to see girls/women of all ages interacting and bonding with each other.

If you have any feedback on the event (positive or constructive feedback), please email me at so that I can continue to make improvements to the program. Additionally, let me know if you would like to see Midrash, Manicures, and Milkshakes come back for a third year, or if you would like a different event.

All the best,
Brett Kugler

Monday, August 17, 2015

2nd Annual Parsha and Popsicles in the park!

We hit our 250 person bench mark again this year with a buzz of excitement surrounding the park! We were so fortunate to have so many new and old faces in the crowd, some that came last year and were back for more, and others that missed out last year were eager to join in the fun!

Once again the popsicles and all of the climbing apparatuses were huge hits, and this year the kids got to hear from Rabbi Silver, who gave a wonderful D'var Torah. Looking forward, we are happy to have such full Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur babysitting programs, and for other exciting events that are coming up as well! As always, if you know of someone who is new to the community, or not yet on the YISE youth mailing list, please have them email me at so that they can stay up to date on future activities!