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Our Rabbi & Staff

Rabbi Hyim Shafner


Rabbi Hyim Shafner began as Rabbi of Kesher Israel in August 2017. Prior to coming to Kesher Israel, he served as Rabbi of Bais Abraham Congregation in Saint Louis, Missouri, for 13 years, as Campus Rabbi at the St. Louis Hillel at Washington University for eight years, and for a year as Rabbi of India under the auspices of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.  

Rabbi Shafner has Smicha (rabbinical ordination), a Masters degree in Social Work (MSW), and an MA in Jewish philosophy, from Yeshiva University in New York City. Additionally he also holds a Certificate in Advanced Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute.  

Rabbi Shafner is the author of the Everything Jewish Wedding Book (2nd edition), as well as many articles in the area of Talmudic narrative, Jewish law and thought, and community building and vision.  

Contact Rabbi Shafner by email at, or by calling the Shul Office at (202) 333-2337.


Laura Kamer-Israel
Director of Operations


Born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Baltimore, MD, Laura moved to the DC area shortly after receiving her MBA in finance. For 11 years, Laura worked for the local branch of Aish HaTorah, a Jewish outreach organization. Laura and Benjamin, her husband of 28 years, live in Potomac. They are proud parents of two amazing kids, Jake, a medical student at Georgetown University, and Ariella, an analyst at J.P. Morgan in NYC.  

Contact Laura by email at, or by calling the Shul Office at (202) 333-2337.




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Wed, April 17 2024 9 Nisan 5784