BETHESDA (MD)–– Tucked away on a quiet street, an unassuming-looking house is home to a community of dedicated Torah learners, and has been for 34 years. Like-minded professionals came together for fellowship, learning and davening back in those days and have kept it going ever since. While the numbers of men and women learning and growing in Judaism have waxed and waned over the years, commitment to growing a Jewish community here has remained steadfast and resolute.
Am HaTorah Congregation, in its present location on Marbury Road, is now at a crossroads, preparing to grow and serve the community for many more years to come.
The President of Am HaTorah, Alan Dorfman, recently reflected on the goals of expanding the congregation to serve more families in Bethesda.
“We are now embarking on an exciting new chapter of our history,” he said, “We have promoted our part-time rabbi, Rabbi Yehoshua Singer, to full time, and plan to expand our programming and classes. It is a very auspicious time for our members as we plan for an exciting future and welcome new members to learn and grow with us.”
Rabbi Singer follows in the footsteps of an impressive line of rabbis who have lead Am Hatorah, including Rabbi Dovid Rosenbaum who is currently at YISE in Kemp Mill, and most recently Rabbi Avrohom Sussman. He received his training at the Rabbinical Seminary of America in Queens, better known as the Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, and he is the Vaad secretary and administrator for the Vaad’s Beis Din for Conversion.
“Rabbi Singer brings a wide depth and breadth of knowledge, and an impressive educational, clergical, and teaching background,” said Dorfman.
Rabbi Singer is hard at work coalescing existing classes and creating new ones. In addition to a full Shabbos schedule each week and a Gemara class on Wednesday nights, Singer and his wife Serena have added new lectures and parsha discussions: the “Lunch and Learn” and “Brunch and Learn” programs.
The Lunch and Learn program, concentrating on the weekly Torah portion, meets every Monday on Woodmont Avenue in Downtown Bethesda and is well attended.
The popular Brunch and Learn series has been held in private homes as well as the shul and has covered a myriad of text-based topics such as loshon harah (forbidden speech), anxiety, and lifecycle challenges.
Rebbetzin Singer also conducts classes on understanding prayers and other text-based topics, and runs a popular book club for women. On Chanukah, the Singers organized a fabulous Chanukah banquet and auction. Along with their four adorable children, the Singers create a very welcoming and warm environment at Am HaTorah.