B’nai Shalom of Olney fills gap left by departed rabbi

Rabbi Scott Hoffman will be starting at B’nai Shalom of Olney on July 1. Photo provided

A month after its rabbi stepped down, Congregation B’nai Shalom of Olney has hired an interim rabbi to serve for one year at the Conservative congregation.

Rabbi Scott Hoffman will begin his tenure on July 1, according to Executive Director Monica Blum.

Hoffman grew up in Silver Spring and attended Shaare Tefila Congregation in Olney. His connection to the area was one reason the 400-family synagogue chose him to step in after Rabbi Dina Rosenberg left in May to lead a congregation in New Jersey.

“I would say [what appealed to us] was his overall kindness and warmth and his eagerness just to jump right in and get to work,” Blum said.


The synagogue announced Hoffman’s hiring on Wednesday, less than a week before his start date.

“I think sometimes circumstances just have a way of aligning. We will still searching and he was still looking [for a new synagogue]. “The timing was really perfect,” Blum said.

Hoffman’s contract includes an option for a second year. The synagogue is still searching for a permanent rabbi, Blum said.

“One of the things were going try to determine in the next year is what kind of person we want to lead our congregation forward.”

In February, Rosenberg who came to B’nai Shalom of Olney in 2017, told the congregation’s board that she was stepping down ahead of the expiration of her contract, according to board president Fred Lewis.

The board and Rosenberg agreed that she would leave in May. “We mutually agreed for her to move on,” Lewis said.

Hoffman was rabbi at Congregation Beth El of Bucks County, in Yardley, Pa., and Temple Israel of South Merrick in Merrick, N.Y.

“I do think he’s a really good fit for the community,” Blum said, “He understands the dynamics of the synagogue. He’s a people person [and] a relationship builder.”

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