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Rabbi Daniel J. Swartz

Our Spiritual Leader Rabbi Daniel J. Swartz

Rabbi Daniel Swartz has served as the spiritual leader of Temple Hesed since August 1, 2006. He considers it his greatest blessing that he has been accompanied on this journey by his daughter, Alana, and his spouse and best friend, Rabbi Marjorie Berman. Rabbi Daniel has brought his passion for Tikkun Olam, the repair of our world, Talmud Torah, the teachings of Jewish traditions, history and thought, Gemilut Hasadim, acts of lovingkindness, and Yirat Hashamayim, awe of the Divine Presence, not only to Temple Hesed but to all our surrounding area. He is noted worldwide for his expertise on faith and the environment, taking a leading role in an interfaith dialogue on climate change at the Vatican and speaking at global gatherings on environmental issues. But he’s just as excited to help a special needs child prepare for becoming bar or bat mitzvah, or to visit and cheer up a congregant in the hospital. And he’d be very happy to talk with you and explore how you could connect with Judaism and the Temple Hesed community. He has said, “I have helped people find a passion for their faith because I am passionate about Judaism. I believe our tradition calls on us to build a world that is not only more just but also where love for our fellow human beings can blossom.”

Rabbi Daniel has brought a wide range of programs and activities to Temple Hesed and the broader community: innovative celebrations of Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Tree; hilarious and topical Purim shpiels on themes ranging from Barbie and Shakespeare to climate change; interfaith classes on the 10 commandments and the meaning of faith today; adult ed programs on dozens of subjects, from Jewish food to Yiddish as a global culture; creating welcoming spaces for the LGBTQ+ community and Jews of color, and spiritual explorations through his twice-monthly chanting circle. He is always open to new ideas, so if there’s something you’d like to learn about or a program you’d like to see, just ask!

His work at Temple Hesed is a continuation of what he has undertaken for many years: as the executive director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, at Temple Shalom of Chevy Chase, where he served a variety of functions, including Family Educator, and at a variety of social justice organizations, Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light, (GWIPL) the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, (NRPE), and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Reform Movement’s Washington Office and social action arm.

Rabbi Daniel is the author the children’s book Bim and Bom: A Shabbat Tale, which has been a featured selection of PJ Library. He was also selected by PJ Library to take part in a special “summer camp,” designed to promote the writing of quality Jewish children’s books. He is also the lead author and editor of To Till and To Tend: A Guide for Jewish Environmental Study and Action, published by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, as well as “Faith Communities and Environmental Health: From Global to Local,” for which he won the 2005 Award for Excellence in Professional and Scholarly Publishing from the Association of American Publishers.

Rabbi Daniel holds degrees from Brown University in Geological Sciences and in Environmental Policy and has received numerous academic honors, including several prizes from the Hebrew Union College, the Senior Prize in Environmental Studies from Brown, and election to both Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi.

Office Staff

Marlene Gianzanti – Office Manager (
Edward Snitko – Director of Music
Jeffrey Heilbrunn – Webmaster (
Jennifer Novak – Social Media Coordinator