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.
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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.
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Debra Winter, Worship Music Artist
When Debra was 17, she was absolutely certain that she was going to be a high school choir teacher. That is, until the summer of 2006; when, between semesters studying classical voice and music education, she returned as a staff member to her childhood home of Camp Harlam and quickly discovered the power of Jewish communal music to bring people together. For the 13 years that followed, Debra has devoted herself to working with Jewish communities in synagogues, day schools, camps, youth groups and community gatherings across the country and around the world.
Debra comes to Temple Micah as Worship Music Artist while simultaneously completing her term as Associate Music Director for the URJ’s Biennial Conference, which will be held in Chicago in December of 2019. Debra has also served on faculty for Hava Nashira, LEV: Lift Every Voice, and NFTY’s Nashir Songleader Training Conferences, where she has been tasked with training other musical leaders to more effectively engage their communities in song. In the realm of youth work, Debra has been a featured musician at the International Conventions of both BBYO and USY, Music Director of NFTY Convention; and Youth Engagement Coordinator right down the street at Temple Emanuel of Kensington, MD from 2012-14. Debra is thrilled to return to Washington, DC and to be working with such a thoughtful and engaged community as Temple Micah.
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Sharon Tash, Education Director
Sharon is passionate about finding creative and engaging ways for students and families to connect with the richness and variety that is inherent in Jewish culture.
Sharon holds an M.A. in History from Columbia University, a B.A. in English and History from the University of Maryland, College Park, and she was a doctoral student in Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Maryland, College Park. Sharon worked as an historian on the ID Card Project at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and as Upper School Faculty in the Jewish History Department at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland. Sharon also “moonlights” as a Teaching Specialist at the AFI Silver, where she can indulge her love of film and teaching at the same time!
Sharon and her husband Nathan have three grown children. Outside of work Sharon enjoys theatre, films, traveling and reading.
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