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CONGREGATIONAL INPUT - Share Your Thoughts! 

The Rabbi Search Committee is working to gain insights from all congregants on the characteristics of our next rabbi.  

*Thanks to all who participated in the survey - 106 responses!

* Congregants shared their thoughts and ideas in focus groups throughout our community.

 * Please attend our May 5 Guest Rabbi visit with Rabbi Rami Schwartzer. (Note Rabbi Jake Rubin had to postpone his April 28 visit for personal reasons). RSVP for the visits and then respond to a short  form asking for comments.

Want to share some personal commments? Please email 


GUEST RABBI VISITS                                                          

Visiting rabbi events have been organized by the Rabbi Search Committee to provide congregants with experiences with rabbis from diverse backgrounds. These are opportunities to experience different leadership styles in "our home," to see what inspires and engages us in different ways. The goal is to create a discussion about who will ultimately be a good fit to lead our diverse congregation into the future.It isn’t too late to share feedback - send an email to if you have feedback on any of these events.



Sunday, May 5, 7 p.m.

An evening of learning


Rabbi Rami Schwartzer


How do we connect our ancient tradition to the demands of our contemporary world? What is needed for a renaissance in Jewish communal activity?

Join Rabbi Rami Schwartzer for an evening of learning that will combine classical Jewish source with contemporary communal questions.

RSVP - For planning and so we can ask for your feedback
Rabbi Rami Schwartzer is a spiritual leader and social entrepreneur with extensive experience in Jewish innovation. In the last five years, he has launched the Ramah Day Camp of Greater Washington, DC, now serving 275 campers per summer, as well a new kind of Jewish community for 20s and 30s in the DC area, for which he serves as co-director and NoVA community rabbi. Prior to his work in the DC area, Rami worked as the first coordinator of the Ramah Israel Bike Ride and Hiking Trip, now in its 9th year, and the first rabbi of Shalom Cypress, a new congregation outside of Houston. Having trained as a congregational rabbi through the Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership, he has also served congregations in New York and Israel, and as a hospice chaplain in New York City. Rabbi Rami is the recipient of the Gladstein Fellowship, the Myers Foundation Rabbinic Initiative, and the OpenDor Project for rabbinic entrepreneurs. Rami holds degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he received rabbinic ordination. He loves jazz music and long-distance biking, and currently lives in Arlington.






Thanks for Sharing Your Thoughts at a Focus Group!

Thanks to the many who attended the focus groups. We received much meaningful feedback.

Photos from our first Rabbi Search Focus Group  10.28.18:

To contact the rabbi search committee co-chairs, Esther Bland and Shira Solomon, please email


Adat Reyim Rabbi Search FAQ

(Updated 5/3/19) 

Q: When is Rabbi Aft retiring?

In 2005, the Board of Directors and Rabbi Aft discussed plans for Rabbi Aft to serve as Rabbi of Adat Reyim through June 2020, when he will retire. He has given us ample time to think deeply about our values as a community and what we seek in our next spiritual leader. We are grateful that he has provided us with the gift of time to ensure a smooth recruitment and transition process. Rabbi Aft is very supportive of the search committee and he is committed to helping us thrive during this important transition period.


Q: Who is on the Rabbi Search Committee?

A: Executive Vice-President Shira Solomon and Co-Chair Esther Bland lead the search committee. Committee members span a wide variety of demographics to ensure that we have widespread involvement. Committee members represent all parts of our community including newer members, long-time members, empty nesters, and parents of students in the preschool, religious school, and teen program. The full list of committee members can be found below. The committee also includes subcommittees which focus on various parts of the search process. 



Q: How can I get involved?

A: Contact the committee chairs at  and they will be in touch to discuss your interests and ways you would like to get involved. We continue to actively seek volunteers to serve on the four subcommittees – Congregational Input & Values Clarification; Candidate Outreach & Recruitment; Overall Selection Process, and Communication.


Q: Why is the Rabbi Search Committee bringing in guest rabbis? Are these prospective candidates?

A: Visiting rabbi events are organized by the Rabbi Search Committee to provide congregants with experiences with rabbis from diverse backgrounds. These are opportunities to experience different leadership styles in "our home," to see what inspires and engages us in different ways. The goal is to create a discussion about who will ultimately be a good fit to lead our diverse congregation into the future. Comments will be solicited afterwards from those who attended (so please RSVP to help us identify who was there!)   Note: These are not candidate visits. 


Q: I know someone that may be a great candidate – what do I do?

A: One of the best ways we can find our new rabbi is through a referral. If you have any leads or information on someone the committee should consider, please send an email


Q: Is the committee looking to hire an interim rabbi?

A: The committee carefully considered, researched and explored options for an interim rabbi. Ultimately, the committee rejected hiring an interim rabbi for a variety of reasons including the desire to start the search early and focus on a longer-term solution to our leadership needs. Please click here to read the report.


Q: Is there planning underway to celebrate Rabbi Aft’s retirement?

A: The Adat Reyim community is extremely grateful to Rabbi Bruce and Sue Aft for their service to our synagogue. The Board of Directors is working on plans to celebrate, reminisce and properly thank them for their commitment to Adat Reyim. Stay tuned for more details on specific events.


Milestones for the Rabbi Search process, month by month

Rabbi Search Committee 

Co-Chairs: Shira Solomon & Esther Bland
Members: Randi Adleberg, Sarah Berry, Andrea Cate,  Mark Cutler, Rebecca Geller, Eileen Kugler, Michelle Mermelstein, Andrea Sobel, Ed Weiner



Co-Chairs: Andrea Sobel and Mark Cutler

Committee members:  Randi Adleberg, Rebecca Gibson, Sherri Shunfenthal, Susan Bigman, Sunny Rome, Joanie Hunn

Mission of Congregational Input Subcommittee: To gather perspectives from every member of Adat Reyim in order to articulate (1)  Core values of our congregation:  How we would describe ourselves to Rabbi candidates and; (2) Most important characteristics and qualities our next Rabbi should have.



Co-chairs: Eileen Kugler and Sarah Berry. Members: Josh Green, Loretta Stein, Aviva Kurash  

Mission: To identify best practices for hiring a rabbi through outreach to rabbis, seminaries, and leaders of congregations who have recently hired rabbis. To reach qualified potential candidates for our rabbi position by broadly identifying outlets, including individuals and organizations, to share information about our congregation and position.


 Co-Chairs: Rebecca Geller and Ed Weiner

Committee members:  Ed Weiner, Steve Adelberg, Joanie Hunn, & Beryl Loveland-Ebert.  This committee is still in formation and will need at least 10-15 subcommittee members in 2019.

Mission: Our goal is to oversee a smooth and fair selection process that will enable the synagogue to find the best candidate for a long-term rabbi with Adat Reyim.  We will develop a detailed plan and budget for selecting the rabbi, based on the timeline. This subcommittee will organize initial interviews and plan candidate weekend visits. We will develop draft interview questions for candidates for discussion by the full committee. All committee members will have the opportunity to participate in interviews. We will conduct rabbi interviews, obtain feedback from committee members, and prepare recommendations to the board.



Co-Chairs: Michelle Leff Mermelstein and  Shelly Zocchi. 

Committee Members: Dory Lummer, Suzy Tucker

Mission: Establish and maintain open lines of communications between search committee/subcommittees and congregation; actively share information with congregation regarding opportunities for input into the rabbi search process and candidates; provide regular updates regarding search process and candidates with congregation and community.


Sun, May 19 2019 14 Iyyar 5779