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Our Clergy, Staff and Lay Leaders

Team Adas

Meet the Amazing Humans of Adas 

Adas Israel is a sacred, collaborative undertaking made possible through the dedicated, loving, visionary work of our talented team of clergy, professional staff, and lay leadership. Here, you can learn more about some of the extraordinary humans who strive, day in and day out, to make the world of Adas GO.  Clergy & Leadership Team | Staff | Lay Leadership

Leadership Team

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, is celebrated by the Forward as one of the 32 most inspiring rabbis in the country. Recently, she was named one of Jewish Women’s International’s (JWI) “Women to Watch,” and is a proud senior fellow of the coveted Schusterman Fellowship, a leadership development program for individuals who are committed to growing their leadership in the Jewish community (an honor rarely bestowed on rabbis). Rabbi Holtzblatt also gratefully serves on the national board of Avodah and on the joint steering committee of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ). Among Rabbi Holtzblatt’s many achievements here at Adas, she has completely revitalized our caretaking (Hesed) and bereavement efforts, co-created the acclaimed MakomDC adult learning curriculum, launched and leads our wildly successful “Return Again” worship services, and directs the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, which has twice been recognized as one of America's top innovative Jewish projects by the annual Slingshot Guide for Jewish Innovation. Previously, Rabbi Holtzblatt served as the Hillel Foundation Director of Campus Initiatives and as Associate Rabbi at the Yale University Hillel. Rabbi Holtzblatt was also a rabbinic fellow at B’nai Jeshurun in New York. She is married to Ari Holtzblatt, and their two children, Blumah and Elijah, attend the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital.


Rabbi Aaron Alexander served for ten years as Associate Dean and Lecturer in Rabbinic and Jewish Law at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, where he also received his ordination. He is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading authorities on Halacha (Jewish law)--he has long sat on the prestigious Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) for the Conservative movement, the governing body determining Jewish law and practice for our entire movement. Currently he is the Chair of the Kashrut Subcommittee on the CJLS. Rabbi Alexander served on the Board of Jews United for Justice, was appointed as a Rabbi Samuel T. Lachs Fellow of LEAP, a joint program of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and Clal-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He now serves on the Leadership Circle of One America, the D.C. Attorney General’s Faith-Based Advisory Committee, and the City Council’s Interfaith Working Group. Among his achievements here at Adas, Rabbi Alexander has elevated our Social Action work to a high level of recognition throughout the Washington, DC community, and has reinvigorated our adult learning, bringing it to a level and quality that now serves as a model for synagogues across the country. Rabbi Alexander and his wife, Rabbi Penina Alexander, have three young sons, Ariel, Eliav and Amos.


Cantor Arianne Brown loves her work in this dynamic community, where she has a large musical, educational, and pastoral portfolio. Arianne’s primary goal is to inspire our people to love and connect to Judaism through prayer, education, and the beautiful music of our tradition. Fluent in Hebrew and Yiddish, Cantor Brown is an expert Torah and Megilah reader, pianist, composer and arranger, and theatre director. A renowned specialist in Yiddish music, Cantor Brown performed in off-Broadway productions of the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater, and has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Safra Hall, Disney Hall, the Krakow Jewish Music Festival, and Warsaw’s Ida Kaminska State Theatre. Cantor Brown previously served at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Voice/Music Education, and JTS with a Master of Sacred Music and Jewish Education. She is featured in the Cantors Assembly’s New Voices of the Cantorate video series. Arianne’s recordings include a Yiddish theater album entitled Eternal Flame¸and her trio Ashira’s Suddenly Spirited - available at, and Shabbat Sing! with our very own Gan students. She is married to Rabbi Randy Brown and loves spending time with her three young sons!


Rabbi Kerrith Solomon joined Adas Israel as Director of Education in the summer of 2014, overseeing and directing all aspects of congregational education for members age 0-18, and their families. She has a rich and varied background in education and Jewish learning and her educational practice and philosophy is based on her experiences working in synagogues, day schools, camps, campus, Federation and Israel. She previously served as Senior Jewish Educator at Tufts University Hillel and Director of Teen Programming and Family Life Educator at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York and has worked in a variety of other formal and informal settings. Kerrith completed the Hartman-Hillel iEngage Fellowship for Campus leaders and is currently a participant in the second Senior Educators Cohort of M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. She enjoys sharing her learning with the Adas community.


Rabbi Sarah Krinsky received her ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in the spring of 2018, and holds a BA from Yale University. Most recently, she served as the Rabbinic Fellow at B’nai Jeshurun in New York City, where she co-led a wide variety of musical prayer services throughout the year for adults, families, children, and teens. She also managed the synagogue’s conversion process, and was involved in teaching, counseling, and mentoring Jews by choice. Her work with teens and young adults included teaching and curriculum development for religious schools, B’nai Mitzvah preparation, and summer camp. Rabbi Krinsky has served as a member of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Social Justice and Public Policy Staff, and a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She has developed social justice programming, including community engagement opportunities, for all age groups. She is the recipient of several awards from UJA and JTS. Rabbi Krinsky is thrilled to be part of the Adas Israel community along with her husband, Rabbi Daniel Novick.


Photography by Washington DC Headshots

Senior Clergy Who Have Paved The Way

Stanley Rabinowitz, z"l
Rabbi Emeritus

Jeffrey A. Wohlberg
Rabbi Emeritus

Avis Miller

Avis D. Miller
Rabbi Emerita

Arnold Saltzman
Cantor Emeritus

Gil Steinlauf
Immediate Past
Senior Rabbi


Noah Hichenberg, Gan HaYeled Preschool Director. Following a comprehensive, nationwide search process, we are thrilled to report that Noah Hichenberg will be joining the Adas Israel family as our new director of the Gan HaYeled Preschool this coming summer, 2019. Noah is an extraordinary early childhood professional who brings with him a deep understanding of children and families and demonstrated leadership and excellence in the field. Previously, he served as Director for The Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. He is currently completing an Ed.D. in curriculum and teaching with a focus in early childhood education at Teachers College, Columbia University and received his master’s degree in early childhood education from Fordham University. He received his bachelor’s degrees in American history from Columbia University and Jewish history from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Marcy Spiro, Senior Director; Engagement & Programming Operations, Marcy joined the Adas Israel family in 2013 after working in theatre education at Shakespeare Theatre Company and Round House Theatre. Marcy works with lay leaders, clergy, and staff to ensure that our members, potential members, guests, and school parents feel truly welcome at Adas Israel and to help all of our members find their pathway or niche within our large and diverse synagogue community. Marcy is a warm, talented, creative, and entrepreneurial team player, and she is eager to help you find your path at Adas. Feel free to reach out to her at to learn more about membership, upcoming events or to grab a cup of coffee and chat.

Hazzan Rachel Goldsmith, Ritual Director,  joined Adas Israel in the summer of 2015.  She was invested as a Hazzan by the H. L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary where she also received an MA in Sacred Music.   She also holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College and the University of Michigan.  Hazzan Goldsmith has extensive experience as a Hazzan and Ritual Director and has taught all ages from pre-school through senior adults. In the Washington Metropolitan area, she taught at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, the Jewish Primary Day School and was a service leader at The Hebrew Home of Greater Washington.  Hazzan Goldsmith brings impressive administrative, organizational, and Jewish skills to our congregation – as well as a deep love for Torah, Jewish life, history and community. Hazzan Goldsmith and her husband, Howard Ungar, are the parents of three emerging adults. Reach Rachel at

Leilah Mooney Joseph, Director of Schools, K-12, A seasoned nonprofit manager and education advocate, Leilah most recently served as Senior Director of Communications at Hillel International, where she led both external and internal communications, managing Hillel’s public voice and supporting the work of Hillel professionals and students at more than 850 colleges and universities around the world. She also previously led communications for the Institute of Educational Leadership and worked in communications and educational policy roles with the American Federation of Teachers. Leilah is a graduate of Barnard College and earned a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from The George Washington University. A Cincinnati native and the daughter and granddaughter of teachers, Leilah lives in the 16th Street Heights neighborhood of DC with her husband David, and their sons Tom, Elijah, and Ronan. Reach Leilah at

Rabbinic Scholars

Rabbi Elianna Yolkut, Rabbinic Scholar, strives through challenging questions, dynamic study and meaningful engagement to help Jews at all life stages reach a deeper understanding of and connection to Judaism. Raised with three brothers in her native St. Louis (go Cardinals), where as a toddler she would often lose herself in the folds of her father's tallit. Elianna is a connector, writer and educator who seeks to help create intersections and integrations between wisdom texts, human beings and ritual. She serves throughout the metro DC area helping people with a diverse set of backgrounds and interests engage with Jewish wisdom, practice and study of Jewish texts. Rabbi Yolkut is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Hartman Institute North America. Elianna is also the co-host of the podcast Not Your Jewish Mother. Ordained as a Conservative Rabbi in 2006 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, she later served an adjunct faculty member, while serving as Assistant Rabbi at Adat Ari El in nearby Valley Village. Elianna, who holds a BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Sociology from Brandeis University, now lives with her wife and their three children in Washington D.C. When she isn’t parenting or teaching Torah she is likely to be found mixing a new cocktail, dripping a high quality cup of coffee or on her Peloton.

Synagogue Staff


Chloe Chemla

Rita Nicholls
Accounting Manager

Jane Baldinger
Accounting Assistant

Lynn Forkell Greene
Human Resources & Administrative Director


Melissa Adler
Chief of Staff to the Rabbis and Ritual Programming

Bianca Saget-Matthews
Administrative Site Coordinator

Juliana Nieto
Food & Beverage Manager

Jessica Lefkow
Administrative Assistant to the Rituals Department

Alexx Bowles
Operations Manager

Diamond Calhoun
Security Officer


Brenah Srour
Director of Marketing and Communications

Rich Webster
Graphic Designer & Media Coordinator

Education Department

Lindsay Kagin
Director of Youth and Family Programs

Darci Lewis
Gan HaMishpacha Family Center Director & Gan HaYeled Preschool Senior Educator

Stephanie Slater
Gan Director of Early Childhood Development

Lizzie Mintz
Education Department Manager

Robin Jacobson
Library & Literary Programs Director

Megan Soe
Gan Program Manager & Executive Assistant

Sarah Selman
Gan HaYeled School Administrator

Operations Team

Charles Mallory
Operations Supervisor

Deron DaCosta
Operations Staff

Calvin Casey
Operations Staff

Tyrone McCard
Operations Staff

Andrew Cooper
Operations Staff

Lay Leaders

Meet our Officers!

We take this opportunity to introduce our dedicated congregational leaders (Terms Reflected: June 2023- June 2025)

Beth Heifetz, President

Bio Coming Soon

Ian Halpern, Vice President of Administration

As unlikely a synagogue officer as there could be, Ian grew up in New York. He is quite sure his Hebrew school teachers (and principal) would plotz if they could see him now. An active congregant, member of the Board of Directors and Co-chair of the Gan HaYeled Director Search Committee and member of several others, Ian and his family are incredibly thankful to call Adas their Jewish home.  Ian is the co-founder of Larkspur Energy Group and lives in  Washington, D.C. with his partner, Sarah Wildman, and their two daughters both graduates of the Gan.  

Daniel Rosenthal, Vice President of Membership & External Affairs

Bio Coming Soon

Alan Ronkin, Vice President of Development & Financial Affairs

Bio Coming Soon

Tali Stein, Vice President of Development & Financial Affairs

Bio Coming Soon

Sarah Dovere, Vice President of Education & Youth

Bio Coming Soon

Liz Scheier, Secretary 

Liz Scheier and her family joined Adas in 2017. Originally from New York City, Liz is now Sr. Manager of Product Strategy at the International Baccalaureate and a freelance writer. 

Emilie Hyams, Assistant Secretary

Emilie Hyams and her family joined Adas in 2015, and with each passing year-- in discovering its varied offerings-- she has become more dedicated to its mission of providing a sacred space for all who seek to be connected to Judaism and a Jewish community.  Emilie first became involved at Adas through participating in the Gan's Parent Association, and currently serves as a Member of the Board of Directors and its Search Committee for Adas' COO.  Emilie, originally from Tucson, Arizona, lives in Bethesda with her partner, Jon, and their three children (one Gan graduate now attending Adas' religious school, and two current Gan students).   She is the founder of Immigration Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm that engages in advocacy to protect the rights of immigrants to and in the U.S., inspired by the history of the Jewish diaspora and her own mother who immigrated to the U.S. to fulfill her American Dream.

Andrew Herman, Treasurer

Bio Coming Soon

Andrew Ackerman, Assistant Treasurer

Bio Coming Soon

Janice Mostow, Immediate Past President

Janice Mostow is a native Washingtonian who belonged to Adas as a child along with her parents, grandparents, and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins. She rejoined the Adas community 4 years ago and has served on the Board of Directors and on the JMCW Task Force. During her career with Montgomery County Public Schools, Janice served as a a middle school and high school English teacher, an assistant principal at Quince Orchard High School, and the principal of both Briggs Chaney Middle School and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. She also served as the Director of Secondary Administrator Training and the President of the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals. After retiring, Janice tutored students, served as a parent advocate, and coached new principals in MCPS. Janice and her husband John live in Chevy Chase and spend joyful time with her son and daughter and their spouses and their four wonderful grandchildren all of whom live nearby.

Board of Trustees

Judith Bartnoff

Steve Himmelfarb

Herlene Nagler

Melanie Nussdorf

Betsy Strauss

Elected Board Members


Life Board Members


Arielle Beer
Bill Begal
Sharon Burka
Harry Chauss
Jill Chessen
Blanche Cotlear
Jon Cutler
Rachel Farbiarz
Lois Fingerhut
Rachel Gayer
Laura Ginns
David Harris
Gilbert Holland
Terry Leach

Nechama Liss-Levinson
David Olson
Tedi Osias
Oz Papados
Lauren Queen
Mike Ravvin
Mikaela Seligman
Greg Shron
Healey Sutton
Jared Sutton
Lauren Tuchman
Cameron Wheeler

Dr. Clement Alpert (z"l)
Alvin Bernstein (z"l)
Norman Bernstein (z"l)
David Bubes (z"l)
Leonard Burka (z"l)
Jeffrey Cohen
Sheldon S Cohen (z"l)
Stanley Cohen (z"l)
Eric Fox
Rhoda Ganz
Bernard Gewirz
Bernard Glassman (z"l)
Arnold Hammer (z"l)
Tamara Handelsman

Estelle Jacobs (z"l)
Dr. Irving Jacobs (z"l)
Melvin Jacobson (z"l)
Jack Kay (z"l)
Martin Kirsch
Jacob C. Lish (z"l)
Dr. Sander H Mendelson
Annette Morchower
Donald Saltz
Bernard Segerman (z"l)
Margaret Siegel
Judith Strauch
Donald Wolpe (z"l)

Adas Israel Presidents

Beth Heifetz
Current President

Janice Mostow

Laurie Aladjem

Ricki Gerger

Deborah Joseph

Arnold Podgorsky

Johanna Chanin
2011- 2013

Robert Peck

Ed Kopf

Russell Smith

Patty Perkins Andringa

Reneé Fendrich

Jordan Baruch

Toni Bickart

Dr. Sander Mendelson

Bernard Segerman

Dr. Stuart Fidler

Jack Lish

Max Goldberg

Leon Shinberg

Donald Wolpe

Joseph Mendelson

Milton Baldinger

Samuel Lebowitz

Joseph Blumenthal

Stanley Wiener

Julius H. Wolpe

Fred S. Kogod

Isaac Jacobson

Joseph Wilner
1929-March 1953

Fred Gichner

Louis Rosenberg

Simon Oppenheimer

Felix Greenapple

Jacob Rich
1882-April 1887

Manassas Oppenheimer

Julius Baumgertan
July-October 1880

Bernard Rich
April-June 1880

Jacob Rich

John Jacob Boyer

Nathan Gotthelf
June-July 1874

Jacob Rich
January-June 1874

Nathan Hotthelf

Bendiza J. Behrend

Fri, July 19 2024 13 Tammuz 5784