David Spinrad was officially installed as the sixth senior rabbi of Beth El Hebrew Congregation at the Oct. 5 Shabbat service.
In the 159 years since Beth El Hebrew Congregation was formed in 1859 — making it the oldest Reform synagogue in Northern Virginia — only five senior rabbis have served the congregation.
Julienne Bramesco, president of the congregation, said “We look forward to cultivating this new relationship and starting a new chapter in Beth El’s history.”
Preceded by a congregational dinner, the Shabbat service and installation featured music led by Cantor Jason Kaufman along with clergy friends and mentors of Spinrad as well as Beth El Rabbi Emeritus Brett R. Isserow. Rabbi Peter Berg, senior rabbi of The Temple in Atlanta, Ga., led the installation and Rabbi Ken Kanter was the guest speaker. Berg, named by Newsweek and the Daily Beast in 2013 as one of the top 50 most influential rabbis in the United States, has a long history of social justice. Kanter is the former associate dean and director of the rabbinical school at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. He currently directs the Society for Classical Reform Judaism and is known for his work on the Jewish contribution to American popular music from the 1840s to the 1940s.
Before coming to Beth El in July of this year, Spinrad was an associate rabbi at The Temple in Atlanta where he oversaw congregational social justice initiatives as the director of the Rothschild Social Justice Institute. He said, “I am honored to assume the responsibility to serve as Beth El’s senior rabbi. I look forward to a bright future in partnership with our lay leaders, clergy, professional staff, and Northern Virginia’s interfaith, political and civic communities.”
Spinrad, his wife Gal, and children Dahlia and Judah live in the City of Alexandria.