As we count down to Rosh Hashanah, we’d like to introduce you to five new rabbis in the Washington area who are gearing up for their first high holidays here.
The events that led to Warner Ferratier’s decision to become a rabbi were a bit on the unorthodox side. He was considering attending rabbinical school when his father was dying.
After his father died, Ferratier found a letter his father had written to him many years before, predicting that he would likely become a rabbi. Ferratier took it as a sign and enrolled in the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary.
As the new rabbi of Congregation Beth Emeth, in Herndon, Ferratier says that his main focus over the next year or two will be helping to bring the synagogue community back together following the pandemic.
The first step is to get to know his congregants. In addition to calling them up, he has found that services and other synagogue events provide good opportunities for relationship building.
Ferratier said he’s grateful for the assistance he’s received from the synagogue team that was in involved in the rabbi search that ended with his hiring. It has since become “my transition-in committee.”
Ferratier grew up in the small Jewish community of Springfield, Ill. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois.
When looking for synagogues in need of a rabbi, Ferratier recalled that he had relatives in Northern Virginia who he used to visit. Northern Virginia, he concluded, would be “a really neat place to live.” When an opportunity opened up at Beth Emeth, “it seemed like an ideal spot.”
As synagogue life begins to accelerate with the end of the summer, Ferratier said he is looking forward to the chance to work with religious school and b’nai mitzvah students. He also eagerly anticipates the other types of duties typical of a rabbi, including pastoral care and attending sisterhood and men’s club events.