Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, D.Min.

3222018FSDRabbi Fred started at Adat Shalom when the synagogue was only eight years old, and meeting at the JCC – he was still in rabbinic school, Founding Rabbi Sid was part-time, Shabbat morning services were every other week, and cell phones hardly existed. Upon ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1997, he became its first full-time rabbi, and has joyfully served here ever since.

CONGREGATION: Fred has grown with and alongside the members of this exceptionally involved and committed community. He is proud to serve this Jewishly-anchored EPA Energy Star Congregation, which organized early around marriage equality and LGBTQ inclusion, stands with HIAS and those upholding America’s heritage as a nation of immigrants, and offers spiritual strength to those working toward justice and sustainability in our nation and world – even as Adat Shalom intentionally puts connections at the center, whether through its weekly rotating co-op Oneg luncheons, inclusive ethos, warm community, or special initiatives. Grateful to the incredible staff and dedicated volunteers who comprise the community, he is especially honored to have worked alongside Hazzan/Rav Rachel for over two decades, and to have helped create the conditions for her and others’ leadership to blossom.

Recent communal highlights include working with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for seven years now in hosting a dynamic pluralistic young Israeli shaliach or shlicha (emissary/educator); spearheading our recent long-range planning process and the crafting of our thoughtful and allusive mission statement; and turning shmita / שְׁמִטָּה, the biblically-ordained sabbatical year (with its deep spiritual, social, and ecological teachings), into a vernacular English word and concept. Among Adat Shalom’s many well-known green projects, he is particularly proud of our 43kw solar panel array (largest of any religious institution in greater Washington when installed in 2012), our onsite organic community-driven Mishnah Garden, and our pioneering partnership with Interfaith Power & Light and the National Wildlife Federation in re-wilding some of our land as “Sacred Grounds.” In 2018-19, he looks forward to focusing on feminist and womanist interpretations of Torah and liturgy; integrating the ethical-spiritual-self-searching practice of mussar / מוּסַר into the life of the community, and offering a platform for the new Judaic voices of an RRC rabbinic student and our next shaliach.

COMMUNITY: Rabbi Fred’s leadership extends far beyond Adat Shalom, as well. He currently serves as Chair of the National Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and is on the boards of both the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and Interfaith Power and Light (The Regeneration Project). Fred has also been deeply engaged in social and racial justice (including Jews United for Justice), multi-faith (a past board member of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington), and Israeli-progressive (J Street and more) efforts. He has previously served as President of the Washington Board of Rabbis, Chairperson of Maryland / Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light, Co-Chair of Religious Witness for the Earth, and on the boards of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Shalom Center. For a decade now, Fred has served as a summer faculty member for Camp Havaya (JRF). He writes and teaches widely on eco-Judaism, and contributes regularly to Moment Magazine among other publications.

LIFE: Fred is a product of Jewish summer camp and youth group, his mother’s love, and a supportive community. A graduate of Brandeis University (Magna Cum Laude, 1991) and a Wexner Graduate Fellow, he earned his Doctorate of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary (2009). Fred lives in Washington DC with his wife Minna Scherlinder Morse and their two glorious children; his favorite pastimes include playing and talking with the kids, bicycling, hiking, low-carbon travel, and having fun with good people while doing tikkun olam (Jewishly-inspired efforts to repair the world).

Wedding (and other Life Cycle) Officiation

Rabbi Fred's Sermons, 360s and Scroll Articles


Rabbi Hazzan Rachel Anne Hersh

HazzanRabbiRachel2017Rabbi Hazzan Rachel has served Adat Shalom since 1996, delighting in the growth and evolution of a community she first encountered in her own search for a spiritual home. She takes great pride in the community’s blossoming from a church basement to our own beautiful home and full, expansive program of maximal, progressive Jewish life, learning and service. In addition to her leadership from the bimah, she is active in the community as a teacher for adults and young people and as a pastor and life cycle leader.

An enthusiastic student of Jewish text, thought and practice, her academic and professional training includes Bachelor of Arts in Music and Master of Social Work degrees, both from the University of Maryland and a Master of Judaic Studies degree from Baltimore Hebrew University as well as years of private cantorial training. In 2002, she was invested as hazzan by the Cantors Assembly, the cantorial arm of the Conservative movement. In 2017, she graduated from the seminary program of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and was ordained as a rabbi. She is a devoted student, practitioner and certified teacher of hatha yoga and a curious explorer of full-bodied Jewish practice. Rachel and her husband, Jonathan Epstein, are the proud parents of three sons Gabriel, Gideon and Koby.

Rabbi Hazzan Rachel Hersh Articles

Rabbi George Driesen, Senior Scholar

Rabbi George Driesen is a founding Board Member of Adat Shalom. George George graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in June 1999. He previously served as the Adjunct Rabbi of Temple Isaiah (Reform) in Columbia, Maryland (2000-2003) and as Interim Rabbi of the Columbia Jewish Congregation (Reconstructionist) in Columbia, Maryland (1999-2000). 

In addition to his work in the Jewish community, Rabbi George is an Adjunct Professor at the Washington Theological Union, a Catholic institution that trains aspiring priests and nuns. The Union also offers advanced degrees to Catholic laymen who intend to serve the Church in administrative, teaching and para-clergy roles. At the Union, George teaches "Judaism In New Testament Times," a survey of Jewish civilization from the Return from Babylonian Exile until the closing of the Mishnah.

George is pioneering a new initiative to bring science into Jewish religious life, a venture he has written about and began while serving as Adat Shalom's Interim Rabbi. He is the Director of Adat Shalom's Institute for Science and Judaism.

Rabbi George entered rabbinical school after more than 30 years' teaching and practicing law for the U.S. Government, unions, and individual employers. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College from 1985 through 1999.

Rabbi George's Sermons and Scroll Articles

Founding Rabbi Sidney Schwarz

Rabbi Sid

Rabbi Sid Schwarz is Adat Shalom's founding rabbi, serving the congregation for its first eight years, from 1988-1996. He continues to provide spiritual leadership for Adat Shalom in a variety of ways including leading services, teaching and giving a sermon on the High Holydays.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz is a social entrepreneur, author and teacher. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Hazon, a national organization based in New York playing a leadership role in promoting Jewish inspiration and sustainable communities.

Rabbi Sid founded and led PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values for 21 years, an organization that focused on Jewish values and social responsibility. Dr. Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history and is the author of two groundbreaking books--Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue (Jewish Lights, 2000) and Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World (Jewish Lights, 2006).

Rabbi Sid currently directs the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a program that trains rabbis to be visionary spiritual leaders. He also created and directs the Kenissa: Communities of Meaning Network which is building the capacity of emerging spiritual communities across the country. Sid was awarded the prestigious Covenant Award for his pioneering work in the field of Jewish education and was named by Newsweek as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in North America. Sid's most recent book is Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future (Jewish Lights, 2013).

Rabbi Sid's Sermons and Scroll Articles

Adat Shalom Remembers Rabbi Ira Eisenstein, z"l
On July 1, 2001, funeral services were held for Rabbi Ira Eisenstein at Adat Shalom. It was ironic, painful, and yet somehow appropriate that the first funeral to be held in our new home was for Ira.

Eulogy delivered by Rabbi George Driesen
Eulogy delivered by Rabbi Richard Hirsh
Eulogy delivered by Rabbi David Teutsch