Throughout our history, Adas Israel has been blessed with outstanding spiritual leaders.
Today, our distinguished clergy, superlative professional staff, & engaged lay leadership mirrors the diversity
and strength of our congregation.




Senior Rabbi Gil Steinlauf joined Adas Israel Congregation as senior rabbi in 2008. He is widely respected for his success in re-envisioning the nature of our historic synagogue. Upon joining Adas Israel in 2008, Rabbi Steinlauf pioneered a paradigm shift that lifts up innovative modes of study and exploration of meaning as central in synagogue life. Rabbi Steinlauf is the first senior rabbi of a large, historic, conservative congregation to come out as openly gay, and through his honesty, has sought to create an atmosphere of constructive dialogue on the issues facing modern culture and Judaism.  He had previously been the rabbi of Temple Israel in New Jersey (since 2001). He is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, and also studied at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, earned an MHL from the University of Judaism, and received rabbinic ordination and an MA at JTS.Currently, Rabbi Steinlauf is on the boards of the Washington Chapter of the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. He sits on the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council.  He also sits on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee of JTS. He is an alumnus of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and a member of the Center for Jewish Learning and Leadership’s Rabbis Without Borders program. Along with Adas clergy and staff, Rabbi Steinlauf co-founded three nationally recognized projects now operating out of Adas Israel: YP@AI for Jewish Young Professionals, MakomDC for 21st century experiential learning, and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington for meditation, yoga, and contemplative Jewish practices.


Cantor Arianne Brown was invested as a “Hazzan” and received a Master of Arts in Sacred Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2005 where she won the Hazzan Max Wohlberg Award and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from JTS in 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education/Voice degree from Rutgers University and is a high school graduate of the Hebrew Academy of Atlantic County, NJ. Cantor Brown served Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, CA from 2006 through 2012 where she had a large liturgical, educational, and musical portfolio. 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. She is the author of the bi-weekly “Dear Cantor” advice column in the Yiddish Forverts and has been published in the Journal of Synagogue Music. She is conversant in Farsi and recently sang the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium. Cantor Brown is married to Rabbi Randy Brown and they have two young sons.


Rabbi Aaron Alexander recently joined the Adas Israel team as Associate Rabbi. Until now, he served as Associate Dean and Lecturer in Rabbinics and Jewish Law at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. Alongside his considerable teaching, managerial duties, and pastoral work at the Ziegler School, Rabbi Alexander was always involved in pulpit work, focusing on community building, teaching and preaching, and as an advisor to rabbis all over North America. He served as monthly rabbi-in-residence at Temple Aliyah, offered regular teaching and preaching at IKAR, and for two years co-led High Holy Day family minyan services at Sinai Temple. He was also active in the greater Los Angeles community, serving on the Board of Woman Against Gun Violence, and sitting on the Clergy Caucus of LA VOICE-PICO, a national faith-based organizing coalition. He is a certified mashgiach (kosher supervisor) by the Conservative Movement's Rav Hamachshir program, currently serves on its Committee for Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS), and is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post. Rabbi Alexander was recently appointed a Rabbi Samuel T. Lachs Fellow in the 2015 cohort 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. Rabbi Alexander and his wife, Rabbi Penina Alexander, have two young sons, Ariel and Eliav, and are both incredibly excited about joining our community.


Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, oversees all adult education at the synagogue, in addition to her many pastoral and service leadership duties. She co-created three nationally recognized projects now operating out of Adas Israel -- YP@AI (a community of Jewish Young Professionals [re]discovering their Jewish identities through programs, services, and events), MakomDC (a 21st century learning center offering dynamic programming and study around a variety of secular and religious topics), and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington (a Center dedicated to harnessing Jewish Mindfulness and contemplative practices).  She has also developed the Return Again Shabbat and High Holy Day experiences – soulful, musical worship experiences that attract thousands of Adas members and other DC-area Jews.  Previously Rabbi Holtzblatt had 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. Under Rabbi’s Holtzblatt’s loving direction, the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington has now been nationally endorsed as one of America's Top 82 Innovative Jewish Organizations, via the coveted Slingshot Guide for Jewish Innovation. Selected from among thousands of finalists reviewed by 112 professionals with expertise in grant-making and communal life, the Guide says that the JMCW is “altering perceptions of synagogue life and engagement and is a model for other communities on what it means to be a catalyst for change.”


Rabbi Kerrith Rosenbaum, Director of Education. Rabbi Rosenbaum 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.  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 NY, and has worked in a variety of other settings, including day school and camp.




David Polonsky, Executive Director. David Polonsky was named Adas Israel Congregation’s Executive Director in 2014.  The appointment recommendation followed an extensive nationwide search, and was unanimously adopted by the Board of Directors. Previously, David served as the Congregation’s Director of Marketing & Communications for two years, and, since February 2014 as an Interim Executive Director.  Immediately prior to joining the senior staff at Adas Israel, David enjoyed a successful career in Strategic Planning, Marketing/Communications, and Audience Development at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he supervised large communications teams and was responsible for multi-million dollar earned and contributed revenue campaigns.David also has an extensive background in performing arts, live events, and Jewish studies. His commitment to his own Jewish journey, and his highly successful career as both a Jewish communal professional and an organizational strategic planner have made him an ideal leader for our diverse and thriving congregational community. We are thrilled with this selection, and wish David every success for a bright and wonderful future at Adas Israel.

Sheri Brown, Gan HaYeled PreSchool Director, has worked in early childhood education for over 25 years as a teacher and administrator. She started her own NAEYC accredited pre-school and most recently was the Early Childhood Director of the Rosie Uran Jewish Education Center at Congregation Sha’are Shalom in Leesburg. Reach Sheri at





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


Carole KleinDirector of Operations, joined the Adas Israel staff in July 2012 following a nine year position as Executive Director at Congregation B'nai Israel in Basking Ridge, NJ. Carole is responsible for the oversight of all operational and House & Grounds management for the synagogue. Before this major career change, Carole was at AT&T where she led product teams to many successful market launches, most notably AT&T 800 service for small business, as well as new concept efforts such as internet banking and early stage e-commerce projects. Carole has an undergraduate degree in Education, a Masters in Counseling from the Pennsylvania State University and enjoys the challenge of applying her corporate experiences in a synagogue environment.



Marcy Spiro, Director of Membership Engagement. Marcy comes to us from the Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC where she successfully served as Community Engagement Manager for over four years. She has also worked and taught religious school in a synagogue setting for many years. Marcy will be working 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 our members find their “niche” within our large and diverse synagogue community. She will work to welcome and engage new and veteran members, and to facilitate the development of fulfilling community relationships. She will also help our members get the most out of our busy programming calendar. She will coordinate, plan, produce, and staff major Adas events and social programming, as well as facilitate informal get-togethers with clergy. She will also focus heavily on program planning and execution for the new Beit Midrash and special Shabbat & Holiday programs. Marcy is a warm, talented, creative, and entrepreneurial  team player, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to the Adas Israel family.

Naomi Malka, High Holiday Coordinator & Mikvah Director. Since 2006, Naomi has been the director of the Adas Israel Community Mikvah and served as our Ritual Coordinator from 2011-2015.  She now organizes all aspects of the High Holiday experience at Adas and continues to prepares b’nai mitzvah students and their families for their ceremonies.  Naomi trained as a Mikvah Guide at Mayyim Hayyim in Newton, MA. She earned a masters in Jewish Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2000 and a BA in Sociology from UCLA in 1991. In spring 2010, Naomi served as the ritual consultant for DCJCC Theater J’s production of the Israeli play “Mikveh.”  She is a frequent lecturer and writer on the subject of Mikvah.  She is also the founder of Tevila b’Tevaimmersion in nature, a program that introduces outdoor immersion to Jewish summer camps. As the director of the Adas Israel Community Mikvah, Naomi created “Bodies of Water,” a program for Jewish women and girls ages 10 and up to learn about Mikvah as a tool for positive body image and healthy decision making from a Jewish perspective.


Alexis Tinsley, Director of Early Childhood and Family Engagement. Alexis comes to Adas after three years serving as the Director of Childhood Education for the Hill Havurah. There she directed all of the Havurah’s childhood education programming including Tot Shabbat, the preschool, and the religious school, and launched several new programs, including a B’nai Mitzvah Preparation Program and a Youth Group, to meet the community’s growing needs. While an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, Alexis became a leader of the campus Jewish community. She redesigned Shabbat programming; led the conservative minyan; co‑created several Jewish social groups; and redesigned the campus kosher food program. After graduating Suma Cum Laude, Alexis attained a Master’s Degree in American History from Brandeis University.  Both her undergraduate and graduate research focused on how children developed their identities and learned to be a part of the communities into which they were born.  Her research demonstrated the impact of childhood experience upon the co urse of American history.  Working at a Jewish childcare center during the summer, Alexis decided that her interest in childhood socialization was much better served teaching young children of today, rather than studying children of the past.  She switched her career focus to Jewish early childhood education and never looked back.





Ron Schwartz

Rita Nicholls

Jane Baldinger
Executive Assistant

Nikk Wasserman
Administrative Coordinator




Melissa Adler
Executive Assistant and
Programs Coordinator

Carol Ansell

Gail Mattison
Event Coordinator




Brenah Srour
Communications and
Program Manager

Rich Webster
Media Coordinator


Education Department


Pamela Gorin
Religious School
Assistant Director

Yoni Buckman
Youth and Family

Jordan Rothenberg
Youth and Family
Program Coordinator

Lacy LeBlanc
Education Office Manager


Stephanie Slater
Gan Developmental
Support Coordinator

Abby Koplow
Gan HaYeled Office Manager

Robin Jacobson


Ritual Staff


Beryl Saltman
Executive Assistant

Marcia Miller
Executive Assistant





Charles Mallory
Operations Supervisor
Steve Clear Calvin Casey Phillip Thomas
Marc Holderman Geno Nicholls Mike Freeman  



Meet our officers! We take this opportunity to introduce our dedicated congregational leaders (Terms Reflected: June 2015 – June 2017).

Deborah Joseph, President
Debby and her husband, Mark, who met at Adas Israel have been members since 1986. Debby was active in USY in high school and attended the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Prozdor High School program. She received her bachelor’s degree and Psy.D. in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. She has an consulting practice providing Strategic Change Management to human services organizations, bringing together her professional and Jewish communal passions to support individuals with intellectual, developmental, and chronic psychiatric disabilities within our community. Debby and Mark are the proud parents of Ethan, Noah, and Gaby, graduates of Gan HaYeled  and Camp Ramah in New England.


Ross Eisenman, Vice President for Administration
Ross has been a member of Adas for over thirty years.   He met his wife, Shelley Tomkin, at Adas.  Shelley is a life long member of the Congregation.  Their son, David, attended the Gan and the Melvin Gelman Religious School.

Ross served as a Youth Advisor and as a member of the Board in the early to mid-1980s.  He also served as a member of the Education and Budget Committees.   Ross has recently served as a Board member and has chaired the House, Grounds, and Security Committee.  During his tenure as Chair, the Committee has overseen replacement of the Religious School roof, the refurbishment of classrooms, a capital reserve study of current and future building needs, the implementation of various physical security enhancements, and  the replacement  of the Kay Hall air conditioning system.   Ross also served as Chair of the Kay Hall Design Committee and, working with the House Committee, is overseeing the construction of the newly renovated Kay Hall, Gildenhorn Foyer, and Wasserman Hall. 

Ross retired from the Federal Court System, where he worked for over thirty years, developing facilities and security policy for the Federal courts.  He played a significant executive  role in a $7.5 billion  program involving the construction and renovation of over 90 federal courthouses,  and in obtaining enhanced security for courts. 

In addition to his dedication to Adas Israel, Ross serves as a mentor to fourth graders at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in southeast Washington.  He also volunteers for the Travelers Aid Society at Reagan Airport, where he can be found on Sunday mornings assisting passengers.  He is an avid Nats fan. 

Laurie Aladjem, Vice President of Development and Financial Affairs
Laurie Aladjem joined Adas in 2001. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, Laurie has served on a number of Adas Committees and led the search for the current Gan Director. A lawyer by training, you are now most likely to see her behind a camera. She has a B.A. in Religion from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from University of California, Hastings. Laurie grew up in New York and now lives in Chevy Chase, DC with her husband Dan, their two daughters (both of whom are Gan graduates and now attend the Religious School) and their dog.
Sandra Eskin, Vice President for Education and Youth
Sandra and her husband, Andrew, who met on an airplane going to Israel, have been members of Adas Israel since 1987.  Sandra has served on various synagogue committees, and was VP for Education and Youth once before, from 2000-2002.  Between her two stints on the Executive Committee, she taught Kitah Bet for nine years in the religious school. A graduate of Brown University and UC-Hastings Law School, Sandra directs a food safety advocacy project at The Pew Charitable Trusts; before joining Pew, she spent twenty years as a public policy consultant specializing in consumer protection issues.  In addition to working to improve the safety of the food supply and to help make sure that the youth at Adas Israel are instilled with a love of their Jewish heritage, Sandra writes Purim Shpiels and plays for young audiences.  All three of Sandra and Andrew’s children attended the Gan, celebrated their B’nai Mitzvah at the shul, and graduated from the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Religious School.
Steve Rabinowitz, Vice President for Membership and External Affairs
Steve Rabinowitz, President of Rabinowitz Communications, is a seasoned media consultant, publicist and political event planner. He possesses a deep knowledge of campaign politics that goes back more than a quarter century; he has worked on the national staffs of nine U.S. presidential campaigns and has held various positions on other campaigns for every kind of political office.

Ricki Gerger, Vice President of Ritual, Programs and Adult Education
Ricki Gerger has been a member of Adas Israel for 20 years and is serving her second term in this position. She has been a member of our Chevra Kadisha and is a past chair of the Religious Practices Committee. She was the first Bat Mitzvah at Congregation Brith Shalom in Houston, Texas in 1959, many years before the JTS debated the status of women in the movement. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Ricki came to Washington in 1971 as press aide and speechwriter to then-US Congressman Bill Archer. She earned a Masters Degree in Political Affairs from GW while working in the Congress.

A respected real estate broker for over 35 years, Ricki is a sought-after speaker at local, regional and national real estate events on topics as wide-spread as Business Planning, Office Culture, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. She served as President of the DC Association of REALTORS(R) and as a Vice President of the National Association of REALTORS(R). She was named REALTOR(R) of the Year in 1992, which is the highest honor bestowed in the real estate industry.


Janice Mostow, Secretary
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.


Judy Bartnoff, Assistant Secretary
Bio Coming Soon

Alex Horowitz, Treasurer
Alexandra Horowitz joined Adas Israel in 2005. She is the proud mother of three Gan students — one who is currently enrolled and two graduates who now attend the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. In addition to serving on the board of directors, Alex has chaired the Gan Advisory Committee and served on the synagogue, Youth Commission, and on the Early Childhood Director Search Committee. Alex is a television news producer by training and spent ten years covering global business and financial news. She has an M.A. from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Brown University. Alex grew up in New York City and lives in Chevy Chase with her husband Michael, a lawyer, and their three children.
Steve Himmelfarb, Assistant Treasurer
Steve and his family have been Adas Israel members since 2005.  While much of his career was in Manhattan, Steve is a fourth generation Washingtonian with deep roots in our local Jewish community.  A graduate of University of Delaware with a Masters in Regional Planning and Land Development from University of Pennsylvania/Wharton School of Real Estate, Steve is a commercial real estate developer and advisor specializing in portfolio optimization for high net worth individuals and family trusts.  Positive disruption, sustainability, high standards, and soulful meaning are the pillars of Steve’s Jewish leadership and lots of why he keeps volunteering.  Steve is a former trustee of the Jewish Primary Day School and a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program.  He lives in Cleveland Park with his wife Lisa, a psychotherapist specializing in eating issues, and his daughter Sami, a Gan graduate, JPDS graduate and current CESJDS student.   

Arnold Podgorsky, Immediate Past President
Arnie grew up on Long Island, attended college and law school in upstate New York, and came to Washington, DC, in 1975 to work as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. He is the father of two daughters and is blessed with two grandchildren and a loving wife, Christy. Arnie has practiced law for more than 30 years, currently specializing in energy in the U.S. and international commercial law with a Middle East focus. Arnie served as Treasurer of Adas Israel before serving as President.  He enjoys davening, Jewish studies, reading about Middle East affairs, biking, travel, and hugging the grandkids.



David Bickart

Rhoda Baruch Jeffery Yablon Leah Chanin
Alan Bubes      



Meredith Weiner Cymerman
Alvin Dunn
Joel Fischman
Susan Kay
Samuel Fuchs
Amy Golen
Andrew Herman
Judith Heumann
Kenneth Ingber
Michelle Buzgon
Amy Schwartz
Jorge Kotelanski
Jodi Blecker Lowit
Nechama Masliansky


Herlene Nagler
April Rubin
Gail Roache
Amy Robbins
Cynthia Rosenberg
Mark Rosenberg
Rachel Rosenthal
Jennie Litvack
Janet Scribner
Abigail Sharon
Michael Sloan
Joyce Stern
David Strouse
Molly Levinson


Dr. Clement Alpert
Patty Perkins Andringa
Alvin Bernstein
Norman Bernstein
Toni Bickart
David Bubes
Leonard Burka
Jeffrey Cohen
Sheldon S Cohen
Stanley Cohen
Renée Fendrich
Eric Fox
Rhoda Ganz
Bernard Gewirz
Bernard Glassman
Arnold Hammer
Tamara Handelsman


Jack Herman
Estelle Jacobs
Dr. Irving Jacobs
Melvin Jacobson
Jack Kay (z”l)
Martin Kirsch
Ed Kopf
Jacob C. Lish (z”l)
Dr. Sander H Mendelson
Annette Morchower
Robert Peck
Donald Saltz
Bernard Segerman
Margaret Siegel
Russell Smith
Judith Strauch
Donald Wolpe



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 

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 

Thu, November 23 2017 5 Kislev 5778