Congregation Etz Hayim Looks Forward to Welcoming Rabbi Natan Freller!

The Congregation Etz Hayim Board of Directors and Rabbinic Search Committee are thrilled to inform the congregation that CEH has signed a contract with Rabbi Natan Freller, a recent graduate of the Conservative Movement’s west coast seminary, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. Rabbi Freller has served as a rabbinic intern at congregations in Georgia, California, and São Paulo, Brazil, and will bring to CEH experience teaching children and adults, staffing youth groups and summer camps, creating innovative family-oriented services, providing pastoral care, and leading large and small lifecycle events. Rabbi Freller’s rabbinic work will also be informed by his background in business administration, marketing, entrepreneurship, and nonprofit management.

Rabbi Freller is a native of São Paulo, Brazil and has been attending Ziegler under a student visa. We anticipate his immigration status will be updated over the summer, at which point we will announce Rabbi Freller’s start date and provide information regarding official welcome events for our new permanent Rabbi to get to know our congregation.

The Rabbinic Search Committee will now function as the Transition Committee and welcomes the engagement of CEH members who have ideas or would like to help in this role. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, we expect to hold a range of virtual and small, distanced, in-person (likely outdoor) meet-and-greet events. We also anticipate working to integrate the Rabbi into congregational committees and activities as well as into the greater Washington Jewish community and the Arlington/Northern Virginia community. If you have suggestions or are interested in helping to plan a welcome event or other transition activity, please email

Due to the immigration status constraints on Rabbi Freller’s engagement with the congregation at this time, we ask that any congregant who needs to contact the Rabbi before his official start date work through the Rabbinic Search Committee/Transition Committee. Email We will connect the Rabbi with each family that has an upcoming b’nai mitzvah in 2020 or 2021.

This is a time of momentous change for CEH, and we look forward to welcoming Rabbi Freller as our partner and spiritual leader moving forward.

Meanwhile, we are actively planning several opportunities for congregants to recognize and thank Rabbi Bass for many years with CEH. Please watch your email over the next few days for more information about these events.

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