Rachel Gross, Executive Director
Temple Micah is an innovative, smart, fun congregation, and our Executive Director Rachel Gross happily supports us in that. As Executive Director, Rachel works with staff and lay leaders to oversee the administration of the congregation. Rachel graduated from the University of Maryland with Bachelor’s degrees in English and Jewish Studies as well as a Master’s degree in English. Rachel joined Temple Micah in 2011 after working for 15 years at the Germantown Jewish Centre in Philadelphia. She has served on the NAASE board of directors, and is currently serving on the NATA board of directors.
Her love and knowledge of Judaism run deep: some of her favorite times have been spent studying in Israel, including a year at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and a year on Nativ. She is passionate about building community and making Judaism meaningful and relevant, and her precise organization keeps Micah running smoothly. She also brings to the table the suggestions that make us who we are—she knew she had come to the right place when she suggested to the staff that we celebrate offbeat holidays like Talk Like a Pirate Day, and everyone responded, “Arrrr!” When not camping or traveling, Rachel can be found searching for the next great book to read or mediocre movie to watch.
Contact Rachel Gross:
Meryl Weiner, Cantor
Meryl has been serving as Cantor for congregations in the DC area since 1987, and for the Temple Micah community since 1998. In addition to leading prayer, Meryl brings her skills as an educator to teaching children, b’nai mitzvah students, and adults as they immerse themselves in their Jewish journeys. She also guides a number of interest groups as they explore the complexities of building community and studying together. Her love of music, ritual, and people, her lifelong commitment to Reform Judaism, and her experience as a folk singer and a NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) song leader in the 1960s combine to fit perfectly into the mission of Temple Micah, a congregation passionate about singing, social justice, and the future of American Judaism.
Meryl has been responsible for establishing and leading a number of adult and youth choirs – at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia and at a synagogue in Northern Virginia where she also served as Education Director. She has sung in numerous benefit concerts with colleagues, and devotes as much time as possible to mentoring adults interested in Jewish music and liturgy.
Before moving to Virginia from New York in 1976, Meryl worked as a middle school learning disabilities specialist and then as a mental health caseworker. Soon after moving to Virginia she was asked to help develop a growing speech pathology practice and from that experience went on to build her own public relations business. She was then encouraged by a number of people to pursue a career in the Reform Cantorate and the rest is history.
During her time off, you can find Meryl walking around her neighborhood track, kayaking, at the movies, the theater, the beach, or a museum. Many vacations with her husband involve excursions to Northern New Jersey to visit their daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren. You can often find them at Union and Penn Stations, hovering near the train departure boards…
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Teddy Klaus, Music Director
Teddy has served as Temple Micah’s Music Director since 1985. He conducts the choirs and instrumentalists, plays the piano, teaches music in Machon Micah, and tutors b’nai mitzvah students. In addition to his work at Temple Micah, he has taught music at a number of schools in the Washington, DC area. He delights in transmitting our Jewish musical heritage, and enjoys writing new music for the synagogue. Temple Micah incorporates many of his arrangements for singers and bands into our services.
Teddy’s love of music is far reaching. He is a past President of the Guild of Temple Musicians, a national organization of music directors, organists, composers, and singers, affiliated with the American Conference of Cantors and, has served on the board of the American Conference of Cantors, the Joint Commission of Synagogue Music of the URJ, and Transcontinental Music Publications.
He is also involved in the world of dance and theater and has received commissions from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, CrossCurrents Dance Company, and Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, as well as from many other Washington area dance companies. He directed the music for the Catholic University production of Joshua Sobol’s Ghetto, directed by the playwright. When not at Temple Micah or making music, he enjoys bicycling, kayaking, and car repair.
Contact Teddy Klaus:
Ilana Goldman, Student Cantor
Ilana Goldman is currently in her second year as a cantorial student at the HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music in New York City. Originally from Ocean Township NJ, she spent her senior year of high school at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan studying music and voice. Ilana went on to continue her education at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin where she received her BA in Music and Religious Studies, and minored in psychology. Her love of music, Judaism, and social justice led her to spend one summer in Novafeltria, Italy with La Musica Lirica, an opera training program, and one summer in DC as a participant in the Religious Action Center’s Machon Kaplan program where she interned at the gun violence prevention organization, the Violence Policy Center. Back on campus, she served as the President of her Hillel where she initiated and led Shabbat services. She continued her Jewish campus work at Hillel International in Washington DC, where she worked as a Development Associate. Last year Ilana spent the year living and studying in Jerusalem as part of HUC’s Year-in-Israel program.
Ilana’s perfect day would consist of going on a long run on the boardwalk with her husband Alex, eating a potato knish at a Yankee game, and then attending an opera at Lincoln Center. This summer she will be serving as a Chaplain Intern at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is thrilled to be the student cantor at Temple Micah!
Contact Ilana Goldman: