Oseh Shalom

Rabbis & Staff

Our wonderful synagogue administrator, Mark Cook, is your first stop for most questions about Oseh, but feel free to contact any of our staff directly.  Call 301-498-5151 to reach the office or email osehshalom@oseh-shalom.org.

Rabbis Daria and Josh Jacobs-Velde

Rabbis Office Hours: 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 that one of us is available for a meeting, we recommend scheduling your meeting with us in advance. We are usually in the building before and/or after these hours, but, except for unusual circumstances, these are the fixed times you can find us in the office. Additionally, during the Oseh Religious School year, Rabbi Daria is usually at Oseh on Sunday morning.

Rabbis Joshua and Daria Jacobs-Velde

Rabbi Joshua and Daria Jacobs-Velde

We enjoy working together as a rabbinic team, sharing the spiritual leadership of a community. This ranges from holding 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, various prayer modalities, meditation, text study, bibliodrama, and connection to the natural world. Each of us has significant training in pastoral care, and we bring both a warm and compassionate presence and deep attention to the radiant uniqueness of each person’s story. We are excited about the innovative work we have done through our community in Sebastopol, CA (Zmanim), building nature-connected, spiritual Jewish community from scratch. Throughout all of our rabbinic work, our fundamental focus is always on nurturing and deepening relationships as the key to growing leadership and strengthening community. Learn more about us:

Rabbi Josh

Rabbi Josh

Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde

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 during my adolescent years, I re-engaged with Judaism after a spiritual search that lead me through other paths, including Zen Buddhism. Prior to rabbinical school, I worked for the Reconstructionist movement doing synagogue social justice work, studied in ulpanim and yeshivot in Jerusalem, spent time working with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and completed 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.

Rabbi Daria

Rabbi Daria jacobs-Velde

Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde

Raised in Greater Boston, I grew up as “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 and that I followed over the decades 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, as well as 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 exploring one’s connection to the personal relevancy of Judaism. Some of these 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 also 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.

Cantor Charlie Bernhardt

Cantor Charlie Bernhardt

Cantor Charlie Bernhardt

Our cantor, Charles Bernhardt, has been singing at Oseh Shalom since 1983. His voice and guitar add spirit and joy to our services and life cycle events. 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.

“I cannot remember a time when I was not singing,” Cantor Charlie said. “For thousands of years, Jews have used music in their worship of God and to express the broad range of emotional reactions to the gift of life. We have been blessed with such a variety of Jewish music that I try to use as much of it as I can in our services.”

Recently retired from his “day job,” Cantor Charlie spent nearly 40 years as a union representative for employees of the federal government. Following his leadership, Oseh Shalom takes part in the nationwide “Labor on the Bima” program each September in which the Jewish community and the labor movement celebrate their common bonds of social justice, human dignity and fair treatment in the workplace.

Cantor Charlie lives with his wife Marilyn in Marriottsville, MD.  They have four grown children and two grandchildren, along with five grand-dogs and three grand-cats.  To reach Charlie, call the office or e-mail: cantorcharlie@icloud.com.

Religious School Director Rabbi Rebecca Gould

Religious School Director Rabbi Rebecca Gould

Religious School Director Rabbi Rebecca Gould

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 rgould@oseh-shalom.org or call Rebecca or assistant Jovett Solomon at 301-498-7004.

Mark and Wyatt Cook with American Bison

Mark and Wyatt Cook with American Bison

Mark Cook, Administrator

Mark Cook has an extensive array of experience with non-profits, business and governments for improving their effectiveness.
A devoted father and husband, Mark’s family has been a member of Oseh Shalom for years.  You regularly see him on Sunday’s at Religious School with his 11 year old son Wyatt, who had his bris at Oseh.
Mark and his family are excited about his role as Synagogue Administrator and contributing more to our community in his new role.  Call 301-498-5151, extension 101.

Renee Katz, Bookkeeper

Questions about dues, donations or other money issues? Talk to Renee Katz, our outstanding bookkeeper. She’ll solve your problems quickly and efficiently. Call 301-498-5151 or email rkatz@oseh-shalom.org.

Jovett Solomon

Jovett is our friendly, efficient part-time administrative 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.

Rabbi Emeritus Doug Heifetz

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 Fink

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.