Tifereth Israel hires new rabbi



Rabbi Michael Werbow. Photo courtesy of Rabbi Michael Werbow.

By Elisa Posner

Rabbi Michael Werbow will become rabbi of Tifereth Israel Congregation in Washington beginning July 1.

Werbow, 51, comes to Washington from Sarasota, Fla., where he led Temple Beth Shalom. Previously, the Buffalo, N.Y., native was rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh.

Werbow said he’s excited to come to Tifereth Israel, a Conservative congregation with 320 families.


“They really follow their values, and work on the really important parts of Judaism of creating community, welcoming people and living their tradition,” he said.

Werbow was motivated to become a rabbi when he worked in Boston as a synagogue youth director.

“I was being asked to be the rabbi for the teenagers, but didn’t feel like I had the training that I needed to do it well,” he said.

He studied for rabbinic ordination at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, a five year post-graduate program. There, Werbow studied Jewish liturgy, texts, history, philosophy, theology and hermeneutics, or the interpretation of biblical texts.

Tifereth Israel President Sylvia Horwitz said Werbow has “a lot of energy and spark. He has great leadership skills. He’s very community oriented, spiritual, ” she said.

The congregation’s outgoing rabbi, Ethan Seidel, is retiring after 28 years.  “It’s going to be a big change,” Horwitz said.

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  1. Rabbi Werbow and his family made a great impact on myself and our Sarasota community. He will be missed, but we wish Rabbi, Melissa, Maia, Lev, and Asher Werbow all the best as the continue to share their faith and values. With much love and respect, Miss Daryl


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