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Our Staff

 Matthew Oziel, Executive Director -, 301.869.9842 x115

Matt joined the Shaare Torah community as its first Executive Director in May of 2015.  Matt wears “many kippahs” and sits on most committees. Shaare Torah is committed to empowering its members to connect to one another and create positive experiences.  Finding ways to support this mission while driving intentional, organizational change as we grow, is what excites him most about his position. Matt and his wife Rachel celebrated the birth of their son Henry, in late 2018. Henry is a regular shul goer and will soon be attending the Early Childhood Center.

Deb Geiger, Engagement Director-, 301.869.9842 x112

Deb first became affiliated with Shaare Torah as a youth service leader while working full time for Hillel. She came on board as a full-time member of Shaare Torah’s Senior Staff in 2013.  Deb and her husband Adam have two daughters, Ellie who enjoys being in our Religious School and Zoe who spends her days in our Early Childhood Center. Among her many responsibilities at Shaare Torah, she helps every member of our community find their place and welcomes new people.

Allison Colker, Education Director -, 301.869.9842 x117

Allison joined the Shaare Torah community as Education Director in June of 2015.  Allison directs our Religious School, Early Childhood Center, and ECC Summer Program.  Allison’s passion as a Jewish educator is to help children and families find their own individual sense of Jewish identity, community, and connectedness.  She strives to build a solid foundation of Jewish tradition and practice, and create joyful learning experiences, combined to lead to a lifetime of doing Jewish in one’s own unique way.  “Learn It to Live It!” Allison and her husband Ryan both grew up in active synagogue families, spending summers at Jewish sleepover camp, were actively involved in Jewish youth group and later in Jewish life on campus, and started teaching religious school as teenagers.

Aaron Berner, Engagement Associate-, 301.869.9842 x345

Aaron joined the Shaare Torah community as the new Engagement Associate in September 2019.  Aaron’s role is to engage the residents of the Upcounty region of Montgomery County and to support Shaare Torah’s other programming and engagement efforts. Aaron’s most transformational experiences have all taken place in Jewish communal settings. He started as a camper at Perlman Camp in Pennsylvania in 2004 and hasn’t missed a summer since, working as a Division Leader for five straight summers. He studied in Israel as a fellow of The Nachshon Project, which aims to grow and develop the next generation of Jewish community leaders in North America. Aaron grew up in Northern Virginia where he was active in BBYO and currently lives in Woodley Park, DC with his girlfriend, Sarah. 

Rotem Ur, Shelihah, Emissary from Israel,, 301.869.9842 x116   

Rotem joined Shaare Torah’s family in August 2019 as the new Shlicha (emissary) from    Israel. Rotem was born and raised in Israel (don’t let her accent fool you) and has come to our community to bring a connection to Israel in any possible way. ECC lessons, Religious school classes, teen activities, adult lectures and classes, family programs, meals and any other thing that comes to mind are all part of her work here at Shaare Torah.

Kelli Kahalas, B'nai Mitzvah Coordinator -

Kelli and her family became affiliated with Shaare Torah when they enrolled their son in the very first nursery school class. Since then she has been involved on many levels of the synagogue including the board of directors where she served as a trustee and as Membership Vice President. She loves working with the b’nai mitzvah families during this very important and exciting time in their lives. Kelli and her husband, 3 kids a dog and a cat live in nearby Darnestown.


Tue, August 11 2020 21 Av 5780