A Conversation with Executive Director Lindsay Feldman

2022 Lindsay Feldman headshot

Interview transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. 

WHC: For people who don’t know you, you’ve been at Washington Hebrew for quite some time. But how did you first get to Washington and then how did you end up in this position?

Lindsay Feldman: I’m from a suburb of Kansas City. I went to the University of Kansas, and senior year I decided to do an internship here in D.C. I did it, and I was hired on afterwards. I decided to go get my Masters at Johns Hopkins while I was here.

Every two years, I kept saying I was going back to Kansas City. 16 years later, it has not happened. Eventually, I made my way over to Washington Hebrew. A lifetime congregant who at the time was on the board of directors, called me when they knew that I was looking and said, I’ve got the position for you. And the rest is history.

WHC: You have been the assistant executive director. What is something that you’re looking at as a short-term vision for the future?

LF: We are in such a time of transition, big time of transition. Our former executive director was with us for about 15 years. Our senior rabbi is retiring. So I think the best part for me to do is to take everyone’s hand and guide them on this transitional period.

WHC: And on a grander scale, once we get through this initial transition, do you have a vision for where you’d like to see things go here at Washington Hebrew, or things you’d like to implement?

LF: First of all, I want to do that with our new leadership together. This isn’t about Lindsay Feldman at Washington Hebrew. This is a collaboration. As we finish throughout this transition, I’d love to work with our new leadership and to talk about how we can innovate, how we can innovate and move forward.

With the pandemic, things changed. Even before then, what it meant to be a member of a synagogue was changing. Now, how we interact as human beings has changed. You know, people being able to stream in at any service, at any given time, people being able to participate in adult education classes. Every aspect of what it means to connect has changed.

So, let’s change with it. And I’d love to innovate at the same time, give respect to tradition. What that looks like? I’ve got a few ideas and I’ll work with our leadership team to see that through. But the main goal is to move forward, innovate, become a part of the community, and to meet the community where they’re at.

WHC: You said tradition obviously is very important. What are some of the things you think make Washington Hebrew special or sets us apart from other congregations?

LF: Well, look at our history. Our history, not just within the Reform Movement on a national scale, but our history within the Jewish community in D.C. sets us apart. And I can’t wait. I know at the high holidays we’re going to showcase some of our history, and that’s going to be such a great, great project to see through.

WHC: Is there anything else that you can think of that you’d like the congregation to know about you or your plans?

LF: I’m excited to move forward into a new world post-pandemic. I’m excited to move forward with our leadership and to do that in a collaboration, again, as I mentioned, with innovation. But there’s a lot to be saying, a lot to do. I’ve got a lot of motivation and I cannot wait for what the next few years bring.

WHC: I saw your office got a new paint job and you have a clean slate. How are you planning on decorating those walls?

LF: Decorating? Well, as we know, I love to accessorize. I really want it to be a comfortable setting, a warm and welcoming environment. Not to say that it wasn’t before, but definitely to add the Lindsay touch to it. I can’t wait to put my family photos, my growing family photos on the walls and bring that there.

But I’m looking for an environment where someone can walk in, sit down, feel comfortable, have a conversation because that’s what I want to do. I want to have conversations with everyone.

Want to know more about Lindsay? Here are 5 Fun Facts:

  1. She’s a Kansas City native and loves all things KC, including the Chiefs. (Sorry, not sorry, Washington football fans!) 😜
  2. She loves a good glass of wine and believes that any delicious meal, sunny day, cold day, relaxing day, time catching up with friends…should all be accompanied with a good glass of vino. 🍷
  3. She has an intense, crippling, and irrational fear of snakes. 🐍
  4. She cannot start her day without coffee. ☕
  5. She loves to paint. 🎨 (She’s not saying I’m good at it and wishes she had more time… 3 little kids and a full-time job doesn’t help!… but when she does find free time… sitting with a blank canvas, good music, and maybe a glass of one helps her find a sense of peace and calm in her life.)