Rabbi Laura Rappaport is Associate Rabbi and Educator for Temple B'nai Shalom in Fairfax Station, VA.
Rabbi Rappaport's rabbinic style is marked by a joyful enthusiasm for new experiences and opportunities for growth, deep interest in and curiosity about the stories of others, a passion for creatively weaving Jewish values into diverse projects, programs and events and the expression of personal warmth and humor to help people of all ages feel welcomed and valued.
She feels blessed to be able to connect with others, whether it be in a middle school classroom, a one-on-one session with a Bat Mitzvah student, a text study with an empty-nester group, a creative Shabbat worship experience, a healing visit to a sick bed, a middle-of-the-night scavenger hunt at a youth group lock-in, a spirited musical session with preschoolers or a deep and impromptu conversation about Jewish theology at an Oneg Shabbat.
Rabbi Rappaport's professional background is quite diverse. Her experience includes:
- Pulpit rabbi
- Director of Congregational Learning
- Family Education Director
- Founding Executive Director of two non-profits: a regional sexual abuse center and a statewide child abuse prevention foundation
- Adjunct Faculty member, teaching Introduction to Judaism to college students in rural Idaho.
- Itinerant rabbi serving small and rural communities around the Pacific Northwest which included many intermarried couples/families and Jews by choice
- Professional hospital chaplain to non-Jews, offering them and their families compassionate support, advocacy, prayer and ritual in keeping with their own faiths and traditions.
- Hospital ethics advisor and instructor - helping to guide families and staff through difficult and emotional medical crises
This wide array of work experiences has given Rabbi Rappaport a special sense of openness to those who may feel themselves outside the Jewish mainstream: people with difficult backgrounds, children and adults with special needs, the intermarried, gay and lesbian couples and singles and Jews by Choice. Her rabbinate is driven primarily by a sacred sense of respect for each unique soul.