Meet Our Rabbis
Rabbi Amy R. Perlin, D.D.
Rabbi Amy R. Perlin is the Senior Rabbi of Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax Station, Virginia, where she has served as its founding rabbi, 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 focuses on teaching (she is 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 has 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 is 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 and Ella.
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 exploring French Polynesia during her winter sabbatical.
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 in a graduate program in nutrition with an interest in public education and health, and Rosa is an Environmental Resource Engineer, traveling the world post-college. 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.