Meet Our Rabbis
Rabbi David S. Widzer
Rabbi David S. Widzer is the Senior Rabbi and spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Shalom. He 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.
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.