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A Team of Dedicated and Talented Professionals

Jerry Kiewe, Executive Director

Jerry has served as Executive Director of Ohr Kodesh Congregation since October, 2007. Jerry began his professional career serving as staff for the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) in Baltimore, then South Florida and then New Jersey. He went on to serve in various roles at PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, as Executive Director of a Baltimore-based Israel agency, and as Building Director for one of the two JCC facilities in Baltimore. Since 1995, Jerry has also maintained a part-time position as Educational Director of the Columbia Jewish Community School (CJCS). Jerry has participated in and led numerous Jewish educational trips to Israel, the former Soviet Union, Russia, and Poland. Jerry earned his B.A. in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in 1983. He went on to obtain three Masters degrees; in Social Work from the University of Maryland (1985), and in Judaic Studies (1985) and then Jewish Education (1997) from the Baltimore Hebrew University. Jerry resides in Baltimore with his wife, Suzanne, and two young adult children, Micah and Tamar.  An older child, Zephan Blaxberg, is married and resides nearby in Reisterstown, MD. 

Direct Line: (240) 450-3486 Email: JKiewe@OhrKodesh.org 

Joanie Smeltz, Director of the Ohr Kodesh Early Childhood Center

Joanie has been the Director of the Ohr Kodesh Early Childhood Center since 1991. She received a B.S degree from West Chester University in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Joanie lives with her husband Bruce in Columbia, Maryland. She has three married children and is the very proud and joyful grandmother (“GJ” Grandma Joanie) of six grandsons. The Ohr Kodesh Early Childhood Center (OKECC) in 2008, under Joanie’s leadership, was chosen as one of 12 pilot schools in the country to be awarded a three-year-grant to elevate the quality of Jewish Early Childhood Education.

Direct Line: (240) 450-3488  Email: jsmeltz@ohrkodesh.org

Rachel Lang, Director of Teen and Community Engagement

Rachel grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated with honors from Towson University with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. After graduating from college, Rachel worked for an educational non-profit in Baltimore City before moving to California. While in California, she entered into the world of Jewish Education when she went to work at Congregation Kol Shofar, in Tiburon, as a Hebrew school teacher, youth group adviser, and eventually the administrative assistant for the education department. Rachel became a member of the OKC staff, as the Director of Youth and Family Programming, in the summer of 2016. She currently lives in Rockville with her family.

Direct Line: (240) 450-0676 Email: rlang@ohrkodesh.org

Leah Miller, Director of Young Family Education & Programming 

Leah is originally from Sacramento, California and received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University. After discovering her passion for working with Jewish nonprofits, specifically synagogues, she moved to Baltimore and completed her Master’s degree in Leadership in Jewish Education and Communal Service at Towson University through the Baltimore Hebrew Institute. She has worked with several congregations across the country and has more than 10 years of experience working with youth, adults, and community-wide programming. Leah has worked in multiple JCC’s, synagogues, and camps. Her passion for community building and engaging the Jewish community is what motivates her every day. Leah also believes wholeheartedly in experiential education and Project-Based Learning (PBL). Most recently she was the Youth Engagement & Programming Coordinator at Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac. Please check-in or send Leah an email. She would love to meet you and learn more about your family’s hopes for Jewish life and learning at Ohr Kodesh . Leah lives in Germantown with her husband Michael, and their son Wesley.

Direct Line: (240) 450-3487 Email: lmiller@ohrkodesh.org

Rachel Evenson, Ner Tamid Fellow

Rachel joined the staff of Ohr Kodesh  in June of 2018. She is a graduate of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC where she got her bachelor of science in applied sociology. While at college she was the president of the student board of Hillel at ECU, and actively worked to grow the Hillel’s participation on campus.  She was involved in Jewish activities in and around Durham, North Carolina, and has a passion for work that will benefit the Jewish community. Today at Ohr Kodesh Rachel assists in all Youth & Family and Religious School programs as well as many more administrative and design tasks for the congregation.

The Ner Tamid Fellowship is a two to three year position that is offered to recent college graduates as an opportunity to learn synagogue administration from the inside, providing mentorship, guidance, and skills development, as well as assistance in applying to jobs or graduate school as the fellow plots out the next step in his or her career.

Direct Line: (240) 450-3483 Email: revenson@ohrkodesh.org

Tami Lautman, Administrator for Religious Activities & Communications

Tami has worked at Ohr Kodesh since February, 2009. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.A. in Chemistry. After spending many years (ten of them in Israel) as a stay-at-home Mom to her four sons, Tami went on to work at the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), and at the Jewish Information and Referral Service (JIRS) at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Tami lives in  Rockville with her husband, Mark. 

Direct Line: (240) 450- 3489 Email: tlautman@ohrkodesh.org

Ellen Feldman, Financial Manager

Ellen has extensive experience in all aspects of accounting operations, budgeting, analysis, and project management. As a Vice  President and divisional controller at Bank of America, Ellen continually focused on efforts to improve operational efficiency and also successfully implemented many acquisitions and divestitures. In addition to the banking industry, her career has included finance positions in advertising, investment banking, and property management. Ellen studied accounting at the University of Maryland, and has degrees in Economics and Psychology from the University of Rochester. Outside of the office, Ellen is involved with the leadership development and mentoring of young adults and also volunteers her time in Montgomery County schools. Ellen and her family live in Rockville, Maryland.

Direct Line: (240) 450-3484 Email: efeldman@ohrkodesh.org

Dennis Concepcion, Facility and Technology Manager

Dennis joined Ohr Kodesh in November 2011. Among his immediate priorities will be furthering efforts to upgrade our website and database, streamlining many of our routine event planning and helping to move forward a number of facility improvements. 
Dennis has had 14 years of experience in event management and customer services. His career included the successful delivery of a variety of events for organizations like the American Healthcare Institute and American Society of Appraisers. He also served as the Client Services Manager for a leading national provider of fundraising/membership database software and support services for the not-for-profit community. 

Direct Line: (240) 450-0672 Email: dconcepcion@ohrkodeh.org

Hagar Netser, Sh'lichah (Israeli Emissary)

Hagar is the Shlicha (Israeli emissary) to Ohr Kodesh Congregation. She served in the IDF as a Chief Sergeant in the Education and Youth Corps, creating educational programs and materials for soldiers. After her service, Hagar graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and Judaic Studies from Tel Aviv University and started teaching Judaic Studies at Ironi Aleph High School in Tel Aviv.

Before becoming a Shlicha, she was employed at Walla! News as a senior news editor while simultaneously working on her Master’s in Philosophy at Tel Aviv University.

Direct Line: (240) 450-0679 Email: hnetser@ohrkodesh.org

Mon, November 30 2020 14 Kislev 5781