Meet Our High Holiday Service Leaders

The Beth El community is blessed to have community partners and lay leaders that help us, and our clergy, celebrate the High Holidays in several different ways. Keep scrolling to learn more about this year’s service leaders.

Name: Rabbi Rami Schwartzer
Service: Kol Haneshama

Rabbi Rami Schwartzer has spent the last decade serving Jewish people and communities across the U.S. and Israel. He has directed summer camps, led congregations large and small, accompanied hospice patients through their final days, and pioneered new paradigms of spiritual community in the start-up sector, including the Den Collective, which he founded here at Beth El in 2016. He is an artist, a consultant, a facilitator, and an alumnus of four fellowships in rabbinic entrepreneurship.

Rami holds degrees in philosophy, Talmud, and scriptural interpretation from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and a certificate in psychedelic-assisted therapy from the Beckley Foundation in London. Born in Kentucky, raised in New England, and an immigrant to Israel, Rami is a nomad local to Tel Aviv, New York, Washington, D.C., Colorado, and the camper van he built and drives across America. He is an uncle, a partner, a brother, a son, a dog-dad, and a goat herder, and he loves learning, dancing, and hiking barefoot.

Learn more about Rami and his work at www.thebarefootrabbi.com.

Name: Josh Dickstein
Service: Outdoor High Holidays

Josh Dickstein has been an active participant in Congregation Beth El since 2008. His journey in leading High Holiday services began in 2002, at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

In 2009, Josh brought his leadership to our community, leading the Shacharit prayers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In 2017, he expanded his role, leading most aspects of the High Holiday services.

Josh lives in Chevy Chase with his wife, Lauren, and their two sons, Henry and Andrew.

Josh is a regular participant in the early morning service at Congregation Beth El, often leading Shacharit and Musaf. Professionally, he owns and operates a private physical therapy practice in downtown Bethesda, Dickstein Physical Therapy.

In addition to his professional and religious commitments, Josh serves on the board of the North Chevy Chase Swimming Pool Association and is an enthusiastic pickleball player.

Name: Matthew Jacobson
Service: Outdoor High Holidays

Matthew Jacobson grew up in Montgomery County, coming to Beth El for as long as he can remember. Worship at Beth El, as well as the formation of meaningful relationships among peers and the clergy, contributed to his strong sense of Jewish identity, and led him to pursue a career in education. Entering his fifth year teaching at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Matthew is excited to continue pursuing passions of education and Judaism, and is looking forward to another incredibly meaningful high holiday season.

 

 

Name: Ben Miller
Service: Outdoor High Holidays

 

Name: Karen Berman
Service: Family Service for Families with Young Children (ages birth to Pre-K)

This year will be Karen’s 22nd at Beth El Preschool, and her 9th year as the music teacher. Before she had her 26-year-old twins, she taught kindergarten and first grade in MCPS. Karen’s favorite things are her dog, her family, musicals, and spending time with preschoolers- definitely not in that order!

Name: Dan Goldman 
Service: Family Service for Families with Young Children (ages birth to Pre-K)

Dan Goldman is excited to welcome the High Holidays and lead kids’ services for his 19th year. He is a proud graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (sometime in the 80s) and Beth El Preschool (sometime in the 70s). He and his two children are longtime congregants at Beth El. In his free time, he enjoys travelling with his family, friends, and girlfriend, trying new Bethesda restaurants, and cheering for the Washington Capitals (was at T-Mobile for The Save in 2018 Stanley Cup Finals).

Name: Anne Prusky 
Service: Family Service for Families with Children Ages K-5th Grade

Anne Prusky is an educator, storyteller, and community builder who is honored to be leading Beth El’s intergenerational family services this holiday season. Anne is currently a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociocultural Linguistics from Brown University. Anne is particularly passionate about social justice causes including women’s rights and immigrant rights, and has served as a Board Member of JCADA and the Washington English Center. For the past five years, Anne has also worked as a full- and part-time Jewish educator, working with people of all ages to inspire a love of tradition and ritual made modern. It is in this capacity that she met Rabbi Jessica Minnen, her friend, colleague, and mentor, who has led Beth El’s family services since 2012. Anne lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Dayton, and their cats, Schlimazel and Thibodeaux.