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Rabbi David Spinrad

Rabbi David Spinrad is guided by Beth El Hebrew Congregation’s mission to be a sacred Jewish community for all who seek connection, meaning, and healing. In collaborative partnership with fellow clergy, staff, and congregational leaders, he finds joy in helping the historic Alexandria congregation to grow as a center of vibrant Jewish living and learning in Northern Virginia. He especially appreciates sharing his love of timeless Torah wisdom and its benefit to living more meaningful, satisfying lives today.

Prior to joining the congregation, Rabbi Spinrad served from 2013-2018 at The Temple in Atlanta. His portfolio there included his role as the founding director of the Rothschild Social Justice Institute and co-founder of The Well, Atlanta’s premier young adult Jewish community.

Rabbi Spinrad has served the Reform Movement in a number of national capacities, including as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and on its National Convention Planning Committee. Currently, he is a member of both the CCAR’s Peace, Justice and Civil Liberties Committee and the Religious Action Center’s Commission on Social Action.

Locally, Rabbi Spinrad serves on the Board of Trustees for Alexandria’s community foundation, ACT for Alexandria, and on its Racial Equity Committee. He is also on the Steering Committee of the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) and chairs its Soil and Marker Committee. In collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative, the ACRP aims to tell the truth about and reconcile with the lynchings of two Black teenagers that took place in Alexandria in the late 1890s.

Before entering the rabbinate, Rabbi Spinrad spent over a decade as the owner of a San Francisco personal training business. And while the multifaceted Jewish tradition offers a richer palette from which to draw, the same three questions that guided his training practice inform his rabbinic perspective: What gives meaning to our lives? How do we live in healthy relationships with ourselves and with each other? How do we use the gifts of our lives to shine in the world?

In the depths of navigating the pandemic as a husband, father, and the spiritual leader of Beth El, Rabbi Spinrad remembered how important it is to care for himself as well. This led to the rediscovery of a childhood hobby that flowered into a personal passion: sports card collecting. Three of his favorite cards in his collection are a 1954 Jackie Robinson, a 1971 Roberto Clemente, and the 1981 rookie card of his all-time favorite 49er, Joe Montana.

Rabbi Spinrad lives in Alexandria with his wife and their two children.

DSpinrad@bethelhebrew.org


 

Cantor Jason Kaufman

Cantor Jason Kaufman received Cantorial ordination from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York City, where he also received a Master’s in Sacred Music in 2010. A native of Monsey, New York, Cantor Kaufman holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the State University of New York, University at Fredonia, where he majored in voice and minored in Jewish Studies.

Cantor Kaufman’s love of the Cantorate and the Jewish community has taken him to congregations and Jewish communities across the country, including New Orleans, Chicago, and now Alexandria, Virginia, where he has served as Cantor at Beth El Hebrew Congregation since 2013.

In addition to his post graduate work, Cantor Kaufman is particularly proud to have served as a Cantorial Intern at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest LGBTQ congregation, and with the Progressive Jewish community in Melbourne, Australia during his studies at HUC-JIR.

Cantor Kaufman has a love for music of all styles which are sincere, joyful, and speak to the soul. His annual concerts have raised funds for important causes, such as the URJ Racial Justice Campaign, HIAS (formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), and Beth El’s own Civic Engagement Campaign.

In addition to his work at Beth El Hebrew Congregation, Cantor Kaufman serves the Jewish community with leadership roles throughout the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ), most notably in the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) and the Religious Action Center (RAC). Cantor Kaufman sits on the Executive Board of the American Conference of Cantors, where he is the co-chair of the Social Action and Justice Committee. Through his various leadership positions in the ACC, he has partnered with cherished colleagues to ensure a strong and vibrant Cantorate. In 2019, Cantor Kaufman was awarded the ACC President’s Award for Volunteerism and the ACC Ba’al Chazon award for Social Justice.

Social justice is a strong Jewish value at the heart of Cantor Kaufman’s cantorate. He is incredibly proud to serve on the URJ Commission on Social Action where he has helped to shape the social justice work of the URJ. Voting Rights is a particular issue of deep importance to Cantor Kaufman. He created the Beth El Civic Engagement Campaign with a group of Beth El leaders to fight for the voting rights of marginalized communities across our country. Nationally, he was the clergy-co-chair of 2018 RAC Civic Engagement Campaign and is presently a member of the leadership team of the RAC 2022 Civic Engagement Campaign.

In addition to voting rights, Cantor Kaufman is passionate about the rights of immigrants and those seeking asylum in our country. He has served on the RAC Immigration Justice Leadership team and has traveled around our nation as well as Mexico to learn, protest, and advocate in partnership with the immigrant community.

With a strong belief in the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security, Cantor Kaufman serves on the clergy cabinet for J Street, where he frequently advocates on Capitol Hill on issues of moral importance to Israel and the Jewish people. 

In his personal capacity, Cantor Kaufman has volunteered with numerous national, statewide and local campaigns, though he is most proud of his volunteer work for the 2016 Hillary Clinton Campaign Presidential campaign as well as his husband Kirk McPike’s successful campaign for Alexandria City Council. 

In his spare time, Cantor Kaufman loves to travel, spend time in his garden, and watch the latest MCU or Star Wars movie. He also is an avid runner. He has run countless races throughout the United States and has run 11 marathons, including the Chicago Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon. He also holds the distinction of being a four-time Dopey Challenge Finisher at Walt Disney World, which entails completing a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon over the course of 4 days.

He lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his husband, Kirk McPike, and their adorable beagle, Punky.

jkaufman@bethelhebrew.org

Rabbi Bailey Romano

Rabbi Bailey Romano is a rabbi, singer, educator, and poet. She grew up outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, and attended Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. She then headed to Cincinnati, OH to study American Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institue of Religion. Her work focused on the impact yellow fever epidemics had on Jewish communities in the South as well as on the experience of Jewish women in the American West in the 19th century. She fell in love with Jewish education while teaching 5th grade at Isaac M. Wise Temple, and she still mentors two of her first students to this day. Rabbi Romano found her calling to the rabbinate while in Israel on Birthright in 2013, where she began fielding questions about Reform Judaism and God for Israelis and Americans alike. She returned to HUC-JIR in Cincinnati after her year in Israel and served as a student rabbi, fellow, and intern at a number of congregations in Ohio and beyond. Rabbi Romano believes that Jewish Education is good education, so she pursued her MA in Jewish Education Administration through Xavier University and HUC-JIR where she learned from experienced educators and rabbis. She was ordained in 2019 at Plum Street Temple, and she serves as the Director of Education right here at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, VA. When not at Beth El, she enjoys singing with her husband and songleader, Ben Pagliaro, playing with their cat, Motzi, and reading fiction and poetry. Rabbi Bailey, as kids and families call her, is committed to helping those she serves to pursue meaningful lives filled with joy, compassion, and a love of learning.

bromano@bethelhebrew.org

Rabbi Emeritus Brett Isserow 

Rabbi Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus once told me, "If you don't like Jews, don't become a Rabbi!" As the years pass, those words take on an ever greater significance and I have found that it is indeed my deep love of the Jewish people and Judaism which sustains my life as a Rabbi.

My decision to become a Rabbi began as a desire to explore my own Jewish heritage and learn more about Judaism's many facets. It has been, and continues to be, a fascinating journey, one that enriches and fulfills each new day.

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was raised in a family which, although very aware of its Jewishness, was not particularly observant. We "did" all the holidays and celebrated Pesach seders with lots of family and friends but rarely attended Shabbat services. Under my mother's "shul or school" rule, I spent most of the festivals sitting in the sun on the stairs in front of our local Orthodox synagogue.

Post-Bar Mitzvah my formal Jewish education came grinding to a halt. Thereafter, college and building a career as a Chartered Accountant further intervened.

Over a decade and a half later, I became re-engaged in a Reform congregation and soon found myself on the Board, Executive Committee, and serving as Treasurer. It occurred to me that I really knew very little about Judaism and so I began a journey of exploration and learning that continues to this day.

In the mid-1980s I applied to Hebrew Union College and spent the first year of the course in Israel. Studying at HUC in Cincinnati was a true gift even for someone rapidly approaching middle age! After all, my teachers were the ones who wrote the books! And besides, I met my wife, Jinny, while we were both at HUC.

Eleven years as an Assistant/Associate Rabbi at The Temple in Atlanta honed my rabbinic skills. Our children, Anna and Jesse, enlarged our family circle and, yes, radically changed our lives!

Late in 2001, it was time to look for a Congregation at which I could find a home as Senior Rabbi and, hopefully, serve in for many years. Beth El Hebrew Congregation has become that home. The challenges are many, but the rewards are great. I count myself most fortunate to be surrounded by good and decent people who truly want to make this a kehila kedosha, a holy community, for whom Jewish values take on real meaning. One only has to walk into the building to get a sense of its warmth and depth.

Beth El has afforded me the opportunity to get involved in the wider community—as a Board Member of the JCCNV, as a member of the Ethics Committee of Inova Alexandria Hospital, as a vice president of both the Washington Board of Rabbis and the mid-Atlantic CCAR Board, and in a number of other interfaith and Jewish organizations.

At the moment of ordination I was asked, "Are you ready to serve the Jewish people?" Nearly 20 years after ordination, my answer to the question is still a resounding "Yes!" You see, I love being a Rabbi and that, for me, makes a world of difference! --Rabbi Brett Isserow

bisserow@bethelhebrew.org

Sun, December 4 2022 10 Kislev 5783