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Meet our Search Committee

Michael Chernoff Co-Chair, RS, Board of Directors
 
Member since 2010
Married to Jodi. Kids: 12, 15, 17
Profession: Intellectual Property Attorney
Hobbies: Piano, all things tech, watching Sci-Fi
Personal Reflections: Having been "behind the bimah" at a few synagogues, I understand the Rabbi is more than just a spiritual leader, but also is an executive, a fund-raiser, a counselor, and a person. We can't just pick the Rabbi with the best sermons, or the Rabbi with the best personality. We need to make sure that our next Rabbi can meet all the needs of our shul. We also need to appreciate that we, the congregation, are being interviewed as well, and we'll need to make sure we do everything we can to make sure the candidates realize what a great and unique community we have.
 
I’m involved in many aspects of life at CBT.  I started reading Torah again (something I hadn't done since teaching Bar Mitzvah lessons in college), and I got involved with the Theatre@CBT and the annual Purim Spiel. I've also served on the Board and Executive Board representing our Religious School and assisting with our IT needs.  
Over the years, I've met quite a few Rabbis and I've stood on my fair share of bimot. While I can't say I can easily describe the "perfect" Rabbi for CBT, I hope that I can do my part to help our community find our next Rabbi that will lead us into the next chapter of our CBT history.
What keeps me at CBT is our clergy and being a part of a community that approaches Judaism similarly.
 
Rachel Hyman, Co-Chair, Member at Large, BoD Executive Committee
 
Member since 1997
Married to Michael. Kids: 21,24
Profession: Program Associate
Hobbies: Cooking, theater, nature, exploring new places, and sitting with a book oceanside.
Personal Reflections: I am deeply invested and committed to CBT. This is going to be a huge moment and adjustment for the congregation. It is important to maintain continuity within the foundation, mission, and tone created by Rabbi Weinblatt moving forward, while also embracing the opportunity for some change and growth.
 
I first joined B’nai Tzedek as a newlywed (Rabbi Weinblatt officiated at our wedding) and later served as an employee in various departments relating to youth and education, in roles of RS Teacher, Youth Director, and RS Special Events Coordinator, which aim to maintain and increase the commitment and longevity of CBT for generations. I currently serve as a lay leader, so I understand personally the commitment and investment necessary. I have served on many CBT search committees dating back to the committee that hired RS Director Steve Kerbel, through recent searches including for Programming and Engagement, Assistant and Associate Rabbi, Shlichim, and Executive Director positions.
 
What keeps me at CBT is the happiness I feel in the Sanctuary during services, holidays, and special events; so many connections…kids went through NS and RS from the 2s through 10th grade confirmation and the friendships made along the way; deepened relationships with Rabbi Weinblatt and Cantor Kapell over the years; support during various lifecycle events such as births, family illness and loss, bar/bat mitzvah, etc.; past experiences on staff; CBT strong support of Israel; volunteer history including currently serving on the ExComm of the Board.
 
I welcome the opportunity to lead this committee with Michael Chernoff – I believe we will work well together, that we complement each other, and that we will bring out the best in both of us.
 
 
Andy Chod, RS
 
Member since 2015
Married to Jessica. Kids: 4, 8
Profession: Co-President, Minkoff Development-a family-owned real estate firm based in Germantown, Maryland that provides development, construction, management and leasing services.
Hobbies: Playing the drums, skiing, and cheering on the Washington Capitals (all while spending time with my family).
Personal Reflections: The community and close-knit feel keep us at CBT. We enjoy knowing that whenever we go to CBT, whether it is for a Friday night service, an event or just for Hebrew school pick up, we will see friendly faces of other congregants as well as clergy and staff.
 
Our children, in particular our daughter, feel very at home in the CBT building and at events. It is extremely important to our family to be deeply rooted in not only the Jewish community at large, but with a synagogue in particular. We believe in Jewish community, building through strong synagogues that can serve as hubs for Jewish families.
 
My family and I are tremendously invested in this synagogue and hope to see it thrive in the future. We realize that it is at a critical point in its history.
 
I think the selection of the next Senior Rabbi and the next 18 months are vital to the health of this synagogue and to ensuring we keep our membership strong and engaged. As such, I believe with my experience servicing on various committees with the JCC Board (including its most recent CEO search committee) and my perspective as a father of children that will be in the Religious School and coming Bar/Bat Mitzvah age over the next decade will provide valuable insight to the committee.
 
 
Laura Cohen, GECC, RS, Board of Directors
 
Member since 2018
Married to Zachary. Kids: 3, 6
Profession: Pedgogista, Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School
Hobbies: Watching sports with my family, growing my non-profit group “Moco Mitzvah Mom,” pilates, running
Personal Reflections: I have enjoyed representing the GECC on the Board these past few years. It has provided the opportunity to understand many aspects of the synagogue and helped me to realize the importance of ensuring our GECC families feel a strong sense of belonging to CBT. It has been a work of passion as I have gathered fellow preschool parents and planned events for the parents and children, found a way to honor and thank the teachers, and helped fundraise. I would love to continue to have an impact on strengthening the GECC community and helping to create continuity by ensuring the young families eventually join and stay involved in our synagogue.
 
I have been connected to many young families, both through the Religious School and Preschool and feel that I have a good pulse on what other young families are looking for in a new Head Rabbi. It is my hope that we will continue Rabbi Weinblatt’s legacy and find a leader that cares deeply for each member of our congregation
 
 
Kevin Fishkind, RS
 
Member since 2012
Married to Meryl. Kids: 13
Profession: Financial Advisor
Hobbies: Non-profit volunteer, Ravens/Caps fan, Peleton addict, dad
Personal Reflections: Our family came to CBT 10 years ago for nursery school, and our relationship with Rabbi Weinblatt which brought us here. We are engaged in the CBT community because of our Rabbi, our friends, the nature of the services, and the non-liberal leaning of our congregation.
 
I have learned and studied with dozens of Rabbi’s in my Jewish journey, and have colleagues all over the US that are connected to Jewish non-profit work. I currently serve as the VP of planning and allocation for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
 
I know that the selection of our next Senior Rabbi, is the single most important event to keep CBT alive and growing, I believe my unique perspective, passion and external interests can help bring about a successful rabbinic transition.
 
 
Dr. Jeff Greenberg, Member at large
 
Member since 2002
Married to Stefanie. Kids: 19, 22, 23
Profession: Pediatrician
Hobbies: Music, Boating, Fishing, Skiing, Cross Word Puzzles, Travel
Personal Reflections: We joined CBT because we were looking for a traditional conservative synagogue. We loved the community feel, and Rabbi Weinblatt and Cantor Kapell. My fondest memories are the Bar Mitzvot of our three sons and my wife’s initiation of and continuation of the CBT Holocaust Twinning Program and Yom HaShoa.
 
I would like to ensure a smooth transition from Rabbi Weinblatt to a Rabbi that
brings similar values and insight toward Judaism. Change is never easy, but
change can be positive. Ensuring a thorough vetting process of a new Head
Rabbi will be an honor to participate with.
 
I have served on boards in the past and understand how important it is to be honest and constructive in the process.
 
I want the legacy of a strong, community based, traditional, conservative synagogue to continue.  There is no replacing Rabbi Weinblatt, but I hope to have someone who conveys. a similar message regarding the importance of Conservative Judaism, ties to
Israel and the greater Jewish community. To promote a legacy that outlives us all.
 
Dr. Scott Gritz, Ritual, Member at large, GECC
 
Member since 1997
Married to Randi. Kids: 24,30, 32 (grandchild age 2 at GECC)
Profession: Dentist
Hobbies: Grandpa, gym-rat, Gabbi
Personal Reflections: We joined CBT nearly 30 years ago because it was a place where my whole family could be comfortable. CBT has become part of my family, especially my Saturday morning fellow worshippers. I attend almost every Saturday service as well as gabby and coordinate allyahs for those services and for the high holidays over the past 25 years. It is important to me to make sure the legacy of attending services continues.
 
I am a past member of the board of directors as a ritual chairman and have participated in previous search committees for the cantor and associate rabbis. I want to make sure that the incoming Rabbi represents all aspects of the synagogue and can continue to grow CBT in the right direction.
 
 
Dr. Ruth Hoffman, Inclusion, Legacy, Board of Directors
 
Member since 1997
Married to Neil. Kids: 33,36
Profession: Clinical Psychologist
Hobbies: yoga, Mah Jong, canasta, hiking, travel, and dogs
Personal Reflections: As Chair of the Inclusion committee, I want to continue to expand and promote our Inclusion programs and encourage engagement with more congregants towards these efforts. I would like to promote stronger ties with Makom and offer more opportunities to connect with them.
 
I am passionate about inclusion, diversity and acceptance and want to ensure that our future Rabbi will continue to promote values of tolerance and acceptance that are so important in the CBT community. The future Rabbi should value inclusion and support accommodations so that all congregants, regardless of their disability can participate fully in our synagogue activities and synagogue life. He/she should also be able to teach values such as acceptance and tolerance of all through a Jewish lens.
 
I think being a psychologist and having insight into behavior and personality will be an asset to the search committee. I have also had much experience professionally working on teams.
 
 
Sam Lipson, GECC
 
Member since 2022, (grew up at CBT)
Married to Abagail. Kids: 1, 3
Profession: Investor/ Lawyer
Hobbies:  Playing music, golf and basketball, and spending time with my wife and kids outdoors
Personal Reflections:  My family were founding members of B'nai Tzedek, and my dad Kevin Lipson was a past president. My wife and I moved back to Potomac in November 2020, and re-joined B'nai Tzedek in 2022. I have fond memories of the hebrew school education, USY programming, and services. Growing up with Cantor Kapell (and Cantor Stein before him) and Rabbi Weinblatt helped to define my Jewish identity and I look forward to raising my own family here.
 
Building community among young families is critical. Jewish identity is important to me, and I believe participating in organized, congregational religion is critical to the survival of Jewish identity at large. I hope our new hire helps bring in more young families and increases their engagement so that the synagogue is as vibrant for my children as it was for me. Representing the perspective of young families while having a deep understanding of the history of the congregation will be my focus.
 
I think it's important that Rabbi Weinblatt's legacy as a strident supporter of Israel is a value that the search committee must keep at the forefront.  
 
 
Laurie Mackey, Member at Large, Ritual
 
Member since 1998
Married to Steve. Kids: 18,23
Profession: Recruiter
Hobbies:  Music, musical theater, cooking, travel
Personal Reflections: I joined CBT in the summer of 1998.  I was looking for a conservative congregation where my husband (who, at the time, was not Jewish) would be welcomed in the doors - not to perform halachic rituals, but to be part of the greater community where we would raise our future children.  I loved that the first time I came to services, people introduced themselves to me and welcomed me.  After my first Shabbat at CBT, I knew it would not be my last.
 
I’ve dabbled all around the congregation’s activities over the years, but ritual and learning are my passions.  Does my presence impact the community?  I don’t know, but that’s where CBT impacts me.  I like to think that by showing up and participating, by welcoming new members into those communities, I’m making a difference. Our friends are here - from our days with kids in the GECC to RS, to my time working at CBT, serving on the synagogue board and the Sisterhood board.  I value those friendships and my relationship with the clergy.
 
The head rabbi sets the tone for a congregation - and will ultimately set us on a path for the future. We have been with CBT for nearly 25 years and want to be sure that we’ll continue to be a vibrant community for the next 25.  I have an idea of what qualities I’d like to see in our next rabbi - but I’m so excited to hear from the rest of our congregation what is most important to them.  This isn’t a search just for MY next rabbi… but for OUR next rabbi.
We are a unique congregation in our approach to conservative Judaism and the way Zionism and support for the state of Israel is at our core.  I look forward to the conversations that will come forth from the community.
 
 
Ilene Mudge, Member at large
 
Member since 2013
Married to Richard. Kids: mother of 2, grandmother of 6
Profession: Tech writer, librarian, academic therapist
Hobbies:  Grandma, reading, Torah study, women’s organizations
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Personal Reflection: I am married to Dr. Richard Mudge for 53 years, a proud Jew by choice. We came to CBT when we were looking for a more traditional pro-Israel congregation. We found a true community here in a warm and vibrant setting. I am most fond of and grateful for the physical and emotional supports I received from both clergy when my mother passed six years ago.
 
We are regular shabbat service attendees, both on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. I want to have an impact on increasing Shabbat service attendance. I believe that you only get something out of an organization if you put something in. Being on the Search Committee for our next head Rabbi is an important way to give back to CBT.
 
 
Kate Proger, RS
 
Member since 2017
Married to Adam. Kids: 8,11,14
Profession: Independent College Advisor
Hobbies:  needlepoint, exercising, mahjong, foster parents for infants and newborns
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Personal Reflection: We were looking for a conservative shul that felt community-oriented, warm, and inviting. Simply put, we were looking for a “home” for our family and found it in CBT.  It is important to my husband and I to be part of a Jewish community and to ensure that our children are educated in religious traditions, including learning Hebrew. We like knowing that we have a community to walk through all of life’s milestones with. We feel that what you get out of a community is only as much as you put in, which is why Adam serves on the board as VP of Investments and Planned Giving.  
 
Continuing Jewish education is important to me. I would love to find a way to raise the retention rates of children and families post-bar and bat mitzvah years. The attrition rate post-bar and bat mitzvah concerns me because I wonder if many teenagers feel their Jewish identity is fully formed by that time. In a world with rising rates of anti-semetic attacks on college campuses, I would like children and families to feel a deep sense of connection to their synagogue and religion before leaving for college, and I endeavor to work towards providing those opportunities.
 
I’m honored to represent families in our phase of life as we look for the next rabbi of our congregation. I would like to help our congregation find the next long-term leader of our “home”, someone we feel connected to who can grow with us and our families and who will usher CBT into its next chapter.
 
 
Dr. Diane Snyder Steren, Sisterhood, Ritual, Board of Trustees, Past President
 
Member since 1995
Married to Al. Kids: 24,27,30
Profession: Physician
­­­­­­­­Personal Reflection: CBT is my second home. I know the clergy, the staff and many of the congregants. Many of the programs are of interest to me and I do find being at Shabbat services ground me for the week.
 
I strongly believe that synagogues need to find ways to engage the next generation of Jews and to educate our children about our history and to impart the beauty of our religion, but to also keep Jews being Jewish. I hope all that I do and have done, strengthens CBT as an organization with a strong and vibrant future.
 
I love our congregation and appreciate the challenges ahead when our founding Rabbi retires. I have the skill sets and passion for this project to help find the right person to guide us into the future. The relationship that a congregation as well as individuals have with their Rabbi is pivotal.
 
The process of finding our next Rabbi is one of the most important tasks for our future. The schedule put forth by USCJ is 18 months for the crucial reason of having the congregation feel that they are truly part of the process to start building the blocks of having a successful transition. There are many challenges (as always) for Conservative Judaism and I believe that the synagogue plays critical role in meeting that challenge.
 
I was involved in past searches for religious school director and Associate Rabbi I served on Executive committee for at least 10 years and was Board President for 2 ½ years. I co-chaired our Hineni Campaign and have assisted in revising our In Times of Sorrow Handbook. I currently sit on our ritual committee and coordinate weekly Gabbi schedule and serve as Ritual chair for Sisterhood as well as member of the Board of Trustees.
 
I am on the Executive committee and national board for USCJ and chair their Department of Synagogue Leadership committee and will utilize all of my skills and past experience in the search process.
 
 
Carole Urbach (Symonds) Herson, Legacy
 
Member since 1989
Married to Ricky. Kids: 31,36
Profession: Learning Specialist GR. 5 Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
Hobbies: Pilates. Walking long Distances. Reading. Being a part of the CESJDS Chanukah Musical- Preparing Special Dinners for Family & Friends
Personal Reflections: I was the 6th member of CBT. Being a founding member is one of the greatest achievements of my life. When Rabbi Weinblatt spoke to us and presented the idea of starting a young, vital, progressive synagogue/community, we were all in.
 
I remain a member of Bna’i Tzedek for many reasons including my strong relationship with the building of the congregation, the lifelong friendships I have formed here, and the lifecycle moments we have celebrated on the Bimah. Whenever facing a personal life changing event, Rabbi Weinblatt was always there to support me as well as my cherished close circle of friends formed at Bna’i Tzedek.
 
My hope is that my role in this process of finding a new Rabbi will make an impact in the selection, and that the wisdom of those who participate in this mitzvah, will allow for the selection of an equally caring and inspiring next head Rabbi. It is an honor to be a part of this process and will do my part to represent the beautiful legacy of our congregation and our clergy.
 
I trust that the search committee will carry in their hearts and minds the vision the congregation wishes to fulfill in finding a replacement for a Rabbi who has been “SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A RABBI”.

 

 
Mon, June 24 2024 18 Sivan 5784