Rabbi 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, 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 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: Due to the large number of requests Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb receives to officiate at weddings and other life cycle events, he is generally able to officiate only at those of members of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, and their children. Having an open and inclusive yet traditionally-oriented attitude toward ritual (i.e. intermarriage when the choice has made to create a primarily Jewish household, supportive of same-sex couples, not doing weddings on Shabbat or holidays, etc), he requires an in-person meeting with couples before agreeing to officiate at any wedding. If you have any questions concerning your upcoming Jewish wedding, please feel free to contact the office of Rabbi Dobb, at 301/767-3333 x108.