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A Message from the Committee

Dear Olam Tikvah Family,

Over the last several weeks, Olam Tikvah welcomed three Assistant Rabbi candidates into our community. Despite their various strengths, none of the three are the right fit for Olam Tikvah. Therefore, the Search Committee and the Board of Directors have decided to not extend an offer this year.

With the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies graduating unusually small classes this year, we always knew we might not identify the right “match.” Appropriately, we began thinking about what Olam Tikvah would look like next year with only Rabbi Kalender on our pulpit. While we have not yet ironed out every detail, you should know that we have planned for this outcome and more details will be forthcoming.

We thank you for your support throughout this process, and we encourage you to stay connected with Olam Tikvah and one another.

Wishing you continued good health and Chodesh Tov,

Michelle Pearlstein, Search Committee Chair
Brittanie Werbel, President
Rabbi David Kalender

Candidate Weekends

Join us on the following weekends to meet our assistant rabbi candidates:

February 21-23: Rabbi Jessica Fisher
March 6-8: Rabbi Deena Cowans
March 13-15: Rabbi Cornelia Dalton

Candidates will lead Friday night services, offer a D'var Torah on Shabbat morning and facilitate an adult study session on Saturday afternoon.

Rabbi Jessica Fisher

Rabbi Deena Cowans

Rabbi Cornelia Dalton

Assistant Rabbi Search Process

Eighteen years ago, Olam Tikvah established the position of Assistant Rabbi in order to provide more guidance, teaching and opportunities for engagement. Since then, we have welcomed four young rabbis into our kehillah; we have learned from and with them, we have both watched and helped them grow in their leadership and we have celebrated with them as they reached new milestones. This year, we began the process anew as Rabbi Ravski looks for his own kehillah to lead.


January 2020

  • Committee prepares a questionnaire to submit on behalf of OT answering "big" questions, like "who are you as a congregation, what challenges do you face, what types of programming do you run, describe typical Shabbat services," etc., as well as practical information supplied to any job candidate.

February 11

  • Michelle Pearlstein, Search Committee Chair, Brittanie Werbel, President, and Rabbi Kalender visit JTS for first round of interviews. Candidates sign up for one-hour sessions based on the questionnaire submitted.
  • Following the interviews, the delegation will invite 3-5 candidates to visit for a weekend for formal interviews and to meet community members.

February 21-March 20

Weekend Visits:

  • Bring 3-5 candidates to OT to interview on site (one per weekend)
  • Several opportunities to meet and learn with the candidates throughout the weekend.
  • Feedback is requested from the congregation at Please submit feedback no later than March 20 at 9:30am.

March 22

  • Committee makes candidate recommendation to the Board of Directors.

March 25

  • At 7:00pm, congregations may make their offers to candidates.

Before Shavuot

  • Contract negotiations (via Executive Committee)
  • Assistant Rabbi secured

Meet the Search Committee

Michelle Pearlstein, Chair

Michelle is passionate about Olam Tikvah and our broader Jewish community. She grew up at OT and her mom, Joan Isenberg, is still an active member. Michelle works as the Development Director for the Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia, was previously the Associate Director of Project Interchange at the American Jewish Committee, and taught Jewish and Israeli history at OT's religious school for several years.  She served on OT's Board for 9 years before joining the Executive Committee, chairing the Education and Membership committees, and serving as President of the preschool board. Michelle has been married to Dave for 21 years, her son Jacob goes to George Mason University, her daughter Sara is at Centerville High School, and her mother-daughter rescue dogs are named Lily and Stella.

Jeff Borenstein

Jeff joined Olam Tikvah nine years ago. He is the proud father of Dean and Ari and the proud husband of Leela Borenstein. Jeff co-owns King Street Chiropractic Wellness Center and speaks publicly throughout the community on the topics of health and wellness. Jeff was born in Israel and is passionate about his love of Israel and fostering strong community ties between Israel and Northern Virginia. He enjoys coaching and mentoring young athletes, playing soccer (he plays for the OT team when he can), and playing the piano.

Naomi Brown

Naomi and her husband, Yoni Saad, joined Olam Tikvah two years ago. They, and their children, Maddie and Nathan, and are excited to be a part of the community. Naomi grew up in a family very involved in the Northern Virginia Jewish Community and works as a Clinical Social Worker and Synagogue Liaison for the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA). She previously worked as a school social worker, a high school teacher, and was the program coordinator at the iCenter, an Israel education organization based in Chicago. Naomi and her family love how warm and welcoming the congregation is to children and adults of all ages.

Arnold Golub

Arnold and his wife, Barbra, have been members of Olam Tikvah since 2003. Their children, Jarod (22 and now at University of Maryland) and Hannah (18 and now at Clemson University), attended religious school at Olam Tikvah and had their B’nai Mitzvahs here. Arnold is Deputy General Counsel at Nasdaq, Inc. In down time, he and Barbra enjoy hiking with their rescue dog, Beau.

Walter Meyer

Walt joined OT 10 years ago, following retirement, having been an active member of The Jewish Center of Princeton, where he served on the board and several committees. His career spanned being a college counselor, director of counseling, grant writer, associate professor of psychology, and director of the college's Center for Training and Development. He also served as a quasi-public quasi-private association's Director of Training and retired as its Director of Association and Business Development. He has been an active volunteer and board member in several organizations, including serving 11 years as a member and president of a Regional Board of Education, in central NJ. He spends his "golden years" playing golf and bocce, acting in a little theater company, volunteering at Dulles Airport for Travelers Aid, and occasionally consulting for not-for-profit organizations on strategic planning and board member roles and responsibilities. He has been married to Linda for almost 53 years. They have three children, Rochelle Goldberg, Rebecca Steinman, and Marc Meyer and four grandchildren, Molly, Nathan and Jacob Goldberg, and Mabel Meyer.

Sara Silverman

Sara Silverman is a Northern Virginia native and has been a member of Olam Tikvah since 2015. Previously, she was a member at Agudas Achim. She is married to Eddie Silverman. They have 2 children, Jeremiah (9) and Miriam (6), who are enthusiastic OTRS students. She lives in Chantilly and works as a local government attorney.

Judy Werbel

Judy and her family immediately joined Olam Tikvah upon moving to Virginia in 1971, and she has had the great pleasure of watching her children and grandchildren grow up in its warm and caring environment. She quickly became involved in Sisterhood and served as president from 1976-1977; under her leadership Sisterhood rejoined Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. Judy is a retired high school math teacher who taught every subject from Algebra I through Calculus at Annandale High School. Throughout the years, during celebrations and sadness, Olam Tikvah has become a second home.

Learn More

If you have questions or comments for the Search Committee, please send them to

To learn more about the Search Committee and process, check out page 3 of the January Contemporary.

Thu, July 16 2020 24 Tammuz 5780