Rabbis Daria and Josh Jacobs-Velde
Rabbis Office Hours: Virtual only due to COVID restrictions. Monday and Tuesday: 12-3 pm. Thursday: 1-4pm. Other hours by appointment; RabbiDaria@oseh-shalom.org, RabbiJosh@oseh-shalom.org, 301-498-5151.
To be sure one of us is available, please schedule your meeting. Before COVID restrictions, we were in the building before and/or after these hours as well. If you need to reach us other times, please reach out. During the Oseh Religious School year, Rabbi Daria is usually at Oseh on Sunday morning.
We enjoy working together as a team, sharing the spiritual leadership of this community. Our mission includes refining the big picture vision to leading heart-opening prayer experiences, supporting people in times of challenge and much more. Together, we bring a much greater range of strengths and skills to our work than we each would on our own. We share a passionate commitment to Judaism as a spiritual practice that can enrich and potentially transform our lives. We engage Judaism’s potential through a variety of formats, such as music, prayer, meditation, text study, bibliodrama, and connection to the natural world. Each of us has significant training in pastoral care. We bring both a warm and compassionate presence and deep attention to the uniqueness of each person’s story. Our focus is always on nurturing and deepening relationships as the key to growing leadership and strengthening community. Learn more about us:
I grew up in St. Louis, MO in an intermarried family and graduated from the University of California-Santa Cruz with a BA in Cultural Anthropology. Alienated from Judaism as a teen, I re-engaged with Judaism after a spiritual search that lead me through other paths, including Zen Buddhism. Before rabbinical school, I worked for the Reconstructionist movement doing social justice work, studied in ulpanim and yeshivot in Jerusalem, spent time working with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and completing an MA in Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. After rabbinical school at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Daria and I served as co-rabbis at Congregation Ohev Tzedek in Ohio and founded Zmanim (Seasons), which built nature-connected, spiritual Jewish community in Sonoma County, CA. I am a member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association as well as Ohalah, the Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal.
I have a wide range of interests, including conscious parenting, hiking/backpacking, qigong, playing acoustic guitar, yoga, ecological healing and sustainability, practicing and teaching meditation and contemplative Jewish prayer, Jewish-Muslim dialogue, and learning about local wild edible and medicinal plants. To reach Rabbi Josh, call the office at 301-498-5151 or email RabbiJosh@oseh-shalom.org.
Raised in Greater Boston, I grew up a cultural Jew who celebrated Hanukkah and Passover every year. As a Hebrew school dropout (6 months was enough for me), I found very little meaningful and accessible practices or language when I went to synagogue.
Clearly things have shifted along the way! The question that followed me was “Why be Jewish?” That journey ultimately led me into a deep connection with Judaism. Along the way I lived in Israel and Japan, completed an Ed.M. at Harvard University, a B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis, and was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. As I explored this question, I gained experience in multiple avenues of learning and teaching. I also gained experience with learners at many different stages of life, from elementary school to high school, and with adults from varied backgrounds.
I love opportunities to see things from new angles and enjoy bringing new ways of the personal relevancy of Judaism. Some of these modalities include bibliodrama, meditation, teaching Hebrew and teaching the transformational spiritual ethical practice of Mussar.
I also love being outdoors and walking, hiking, cycling, dancing, yoga or just sitting still- being and listening. I deeply love singing, chanting, drumming and opening my heart, by myself and in community, through these powerful musical avenues. To reach Rabbi Daria, call the office at 301-498-5151 or email RabbiDaria@oseh-shalom.org.
Rabbi Rebecca graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in the same class as Rabbi Josh. In addition to her experience as an interim rabbi in Baltimore, she served as a congregational rabbi/adult education teacher and director of education in New Jersey. Rabbi Rebecca brings a wealth of educational experience to Oseh Shalom. She was a director of admissions and led a large congregational religious school. She also worked in Fairfax County Public Schools for a decade, leading programs, advising students, training teachers in best practice teaching techniques, and crafting curricula and adult education legislation alike.
She’s experienced at connecting with populations of all ages, from improv workshops on bullying and conflict resolution for young children, to Eco-Judaism for teens through Interfaith Youth for Climate Justice, to chaplaincy work for senior citizens in rehabilitation or struggling with dementia. Rabbi Rebecca had this to say about what religious school can offer today’s students:
“I think of Judaism as this gift that everyone gets, but not everyone opens it. At religious school, you get to open it together and say ‘Oh, wow, what’s in here? What does this have to offer?’ There’s something amazing about being able to open that gift together.”
To reach Rabbi Rebecca, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rebecca or assistant Jovett Solomon at 301-498-7004.
Questions about dues, donations or other money issues? Contact Steve Papier, our outstanding bookkeeper. He’ll solve your problems quickly and efficiently. Call 301-498-5151 or email email@example.com.
Jovett is our friendly, efficient part-time administrative and school assistant. She can help you with a range of questions about our synagogue and it’s Religious School. Call 301-498-5151 or email JSolomon@oseh-shalom.org.
Our cantor emeritus, Charles Bernhardt, continues to lend his voice and spirit to our services as he has since 1983. He is currently bridging the gap until our new cantor joins Oseh later this year. Cantor Charlie draws on many aspects of Jewish musical tradition, including classical chazzanut, chasidic, Israeli, and modern American folk music, in addition to his own compositions as a recorded artist, to create an atmosphere that is both comforting and exciting.
Rabbi Doug Heifetz served as Oseh’s spiritual leader from 2006-2017. He also has served as the Vice President of Programming for the Washington Board of Rabbis and on the Steering Committee of Interfaith Worker Justice Maryland. Together with Oseh Shalom, Rabbi Heifetz founded the Jewish Geography Facebook app for Jewish connectivity. He has participated in selective year long professional development programs such as Rabbi Without Borders, the STAR-PEER Executive Leadership Program for Rabbis, and Tzey U’lemad.
Rabbi Emeritus Gary S. Fink, D.Min., D.D., came to Oseh Shalom in 1980 as our first full-time rabbi. Under his leadership, Oseh Shalom’s membership grew more than threefold. In 2006, Rabbi Fink retired from the full-time pulpit to focus on pastoral care and end-of-life counseling, working with individuals and families experiencing life-limiting illness and bereavement, while remaining rabbinically and personally connected to our synagogue community.