Rabbi Neil Tow returns to Congregation Sha’are Shalom

Photo courtesy of Rabbi Neil Tow

Rabbi Neil Tow has landed a promotion of sorts — from associate rabbi at Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac to his own pulpit at Congregation Sha’are Shalom in Leesburg, a position he took on in July. It was a return, in a way. Tow was a student rabbi at Sha’are Shalom from 2005 to 2006.

“I’m very happy to have found my way back here,” Tow said.

The pandemic has made some activities challenging to pull off, but Tow said he is working on creative ways of getting to meet and know congregants safely, from making phone calls and small group meetings to making s’mores outdoors around a fire pit.

Tow’s wife, Rachel Schwartz, is also a rabbi, and serves as a chaplain. The couple has two children.

Tow grew up in Potomac, and his family belonged to Congregation Har Shalom.

“My first job as a teen was as a bar mitzvah tutor at our synagogue. I loved doing that, being a part of the community, coming to services regularly with my family. I loved learning Hebrew.”

Tow attended Tufts University in Boston, where he first realized his calling to the rabbinate.

“About halfway through college I was thinking seriously about what my direction was, and what I realized was that I was really devoting a lot of my time and attention and energy to the Jewish community on campus.”

Tow went on to attend the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, where he earned a master’s degree in Jewish education and his rabbinic ordination.

Tow said his latest tenure at Sha’are Shalom is off to a good start.

“There’s a really good energy, excitement about working together, it creates a wonderful enthusiasm. I’m really looking forward to the new year and celebrating the holidays with everyone.”

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here