Meet Our Rabbis
Rabbi Darryl Crystal
TBS is thrilled to announce the hiring of Rabbi Darryl Crystal as Temple B’nai Shalom’s Interim Senior Rabbi for two years beginning on July 1, 2018.
Rabbi Crystal is one of the leading Interim Rabbis in the Reform movement. Since 2004, he has traveled the United States, serving as Interim Rabbi for thirteen congregations that ranged in size from 230 to 975 households. He is the manager of the Interim Rabbi Program for the Reform movement, responsible for training and consulting with all Interim Rabbis.
Prior to his work as an Interim Rabbi, Rabbi Crystal served North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, New York for eighteen years from 1985 to 2003 as Assistant Rabbi, Associate Rabbi, and Senior Rabbi. He established a synagogue youth program which began with twenty members and grew to over 400 during an eight year period. He also created the Center for Adult Jewish Learning, which brought renowned speakers to North Shore Synagogue and led the congregation’s participation in the national project to revitalize worship and congregational life, Synagogue 2000. Additionally, the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) and Reform Camps have been an important influence in Rabbi Crystal’s life. He is a past chair of the Committee on Youth for the Central Conference of American Rabbis and was a member of the Youth Coordinating Committee that oversaw all of the youth programs for the Union for Reform Judaism.
Life-long learning is a passion for Rabbi Crystal. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985 and earned a BA degree from the University of Maryland. He studied at the PARDES Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem in 2003-04. He was one of the first rabbis to train with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, which teaches rabbis, educators, and lay leaders about spirituality through study of classic texts and Jewish meditation. Rabbi Crystal trained as a hospital chaplain at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago, and was an Eisendrath Intern at the Religious Action Center, the legislative office of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C. He has pursued advanced training in the area of organizational development at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Hauser Institute at Harvard University, the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western University, and Gratz College in Philadelphia.
As our Interim Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Crystal will fulfill all of the responsibilities of a congregational rabbi and work with TBS during this transition as we develop a vision for the future and search for a settled Senior Rabbi. Rabbi Crystal states in his personal statement, “As an Interim Rabbi I help synagogues affirm their ideals and learn about how to build a sacred relationship with their new rabbi.” We are excited to have such an experienced rabbi, and one who is a leader in his field, to help lead us over the next two years.
Rabbi Laura Rappaport, D.D.
Rabbi Laura Rappaport is thrilled to be able to creatively share her passion for Jewish growth, learning and values with the members of Temple B’nai Shalom as Associate Rabbi and Educator. She has a background as a pulpit rabbi, a Director of Congregational Learning, a board-certified hospital chaplain, a director of non-profits, an adjunct college faculty member, an educator for all ages in many settings, and the mother of two.
Rabbi Rappaport grew up in rural Northwest New Jersey and received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She received her M.A.H.L. and Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Jerusalem and Cincinnati campuses). She has also completed Masters’ level courses in Bio-ethics from Rush University and University of Washington and Doctoral level courses in Jewish Studies from Spertus College in Chicago.
Rabbi Rappaport’s diverse career has been characterized by the embracing of new opportunities and experiences at every stage; she encourages others to take this same approach on their own unique paths. She has lived in nearly every region of the country – from serving pulpits and running a sexual assault crisis center in the Shenandoah Valley to serving adjunct rabbinic functions in Omaha to working in pulpits, hospital chaplaincy and non-profit settings around the Pacific Northwest to running the family education program at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda to directing the educational program at her childhood synagogue, Temple Shalom in Succasunna, New Jersey.
Much of her adult life has been spent in Boise, Idaho, where she focused on serving small congregations around the Pacific Northwest including Sun Valley, Idaho; Great Falls, Montana; Bainbridge Island, Washington; Bend, Oregon in addition to working with her home congregation in Boise. While in Idaho, she was founding director of the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund, a statewide child abuse prevention foundation. She taught Introduction to Judaism classes at the College of Idaho. For ten years she worked as a Board certified chaplain at both of Boise’s acute care hospitals and the physical rehabilitation facility.
She is immensely proud of her two daughters, Tanya and Rosa. Tanya is a Registered Dietician, working for a non-profit in Seattle that advocates for a socially-equitable and ecologically-sound food system. Rosa is an Environmental Resource Engineer, currently living in Tel Aviv. Rabbi Rappaport enjoys running/working out, indie/alternative music, listening to The Moth and This American Life, hiking, occasionally playing the hammered dulcimer, and discovering cultural/educational/artistic experiences that seem cool, quirky and interesting.
Rabbi Amy R. Perlin, D.D.
Rabbi Amy R. Perlin is the Founding Rabbi Emerita of Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax Station, Virginia, where she has served since the congregation began in 1986.
Rabbi Perlin has an A.B. degree in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, Class of ’78 (Summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), and an M.A.H.L. (Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature) 1980 and ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in NY, 1982. She received her Doctor of Divinity degree from HUC in May of 2007. Rabbi Perlin is the first woman rabbi in America to start a congregation on her own. Temple B’nai Shalom has gone from 0 to almost 500 families in 31 years under her leadership. She is an ardent Zionist – spending time in Israel , taking members of our congregation for life changing experiences, and supporting the growth of our Israeli Reform movement and IRAC, the Israel Religious Action Center. She serves as a Governor of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and as the President of the Perlin Family Foundation.
Rabbi Perlin’s rabbinate focused on teaching (she was the teacher for our Bar/Bat Mitzvah program, Confirmation and Post-Confirmation classes) and counseling (with specialties in pre-marital, marital, grief, child-rearing, and illness counseling, as well as mentoring and serving the needs of rabbinic colleagues). She spent her career trying to create a caring community inside and outside of her congregation, and meaningful worship experiences that attract people of all ages to engage in prayer and study. She was always there for our members in times of joy, sorrow, sickness, and crisis.
In addition to being extremely proud that TBS has the best retention rate post-Bar Mitzvah than any congregation in America, Rabbi Perlin is also proud of the fact that B’nai Shalom has sent many students to become rabbis in the past 15 years. Since, 2002, seven B’nai Shalom members have gone to Hebrew Union College (HUC).
Rabbi Perlin received the Jewish Women International’s 2012 Women To Watch award. In February of 2013, she was inducted onto the Board of Governors of HUC’s Jewish Institute of Religion. TBS is proud that Rabbi Perlin was named by The Forward newspaper in 2013 as one of “America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis.” The Forward’s article profiles the rabbis who are shaping 21st century Judaism.
Above all, Rabbi Perlin is a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She has been happily married to her husband Gary for 41 years. The Perlins are committed to social justice and philanthropy in the Washington area and worldwide. Rabbi Perlin’s favorite title of “Savta” (grandmother, in Hebrew) to Micah, Goldie, Miriam, Shia, Ella, and Judah.
In her spare time, Rabbi Perlin is an avid reader of mysteries, enjoys cooking and entertaining, has a passion for home design and collecting vintage Art Deco, loves science and space exploration, and frequently travels the world, traveling 35,000 miles around the globe in both hemispheres last summer, and recently explored French Polynesia.
Rabbi David S. Widzer
Temple B’nai Shalom is excited to announce that the congregation has selected Rabbi David S. Widzer as its new Senior Rabbi and spiritual leader, effective July 1, 2020. Rabbi David S. Widzer has served as a rabbi for twenty years, bringing his love of Jewish learning and living to every community he has served. A gifted teacher of all ages, an engaged and inspiring worship leader, and a passionate pursuer of social justice, Rabbi Widzer is committed to creating connections and opportunities for families of all kinds who choose to live Jewish lives.
Rabbi Widzer served as the Rabbi of Temple Beth El of Northern Valley in Closter, NJ from 2012-2019. During his time at Temple Beth El, the Rabbi, in his own words, “promoted values-based decision-making, mindful engagement of our members, and education innovations that have strengthened the community and enriched the Jewish lives of our members.” He led the community in a process of assessing and planning for its future, resulting in the creation of Kol Dorot: A Reform Jewish Community, when Temple Beth El merged with Temple Beth Or in Washington Township, NJ. Rabbi Widzer presently serves as one of the two founding Co-Rabbis of Kol Dorot.
From 2006 to 2012, Rabbi Widzer was the Rabbi of Temple Etz Chaim in Franklin, Massachusetts, where he focused on reaching unaffiliated members of the Jewish community, developed programming to appeal to a wide range of demographics, and participated in interfaith collaborations. From 2000 to 2006 Rabbi Widzer served as the Assistant/Associate Rabbi at Temple Shalom of Newton in Newton, Massachusetts. There he focused on youth and adult education, and various tikkun olam programs, including a dialogue group with members of a nearby mosque. As a Student Rabbi, Rabbi Widzer served the Bahamas Jewish Congregation in Nassau, Bahamas, from 1998 to 2000.
Rabbi Widzer graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in Judaic Studies and Ethics & Political Philosophy. He attended the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, from which he received a master’s degree in 1999 and was ordained as a Rabbi in 2000. Rabbi Widzer has engaged in ongoing professional development, including CCAR and URJ programs and seminars, the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Clergy Leadership Program, 2017 to 2019, and the Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal (STAR), Professional Education for Excellence in Rabbis (PEER) Executive Leadership Program, 2003 to 2004. Rabbi Widzer has received numerous academic awards and professional recognition over his career. He has served the Reform movement on several commissions and committees. He is an experienced spiritual leader, educator, author, and scholar.
Rabbi Widzer is married to Karen Loewy, Senior Counsel at Lambda Legal. They have two children, Judah, age 14, and Elisheva, age 11.