Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Steve Pershing

The son of a sabra and the grandson of kibbutzniks, Steve grew up in New York City, where he pursued Jewish learning (or it pursued him) as far as a flop of a semester in the Jewish Theological Seminary high school program. He played the violin (still does), became a public radio producer and then a civil rights lawyer and law teacher, and has lived in Virginia and D.C. since the early 1980s. He’s been a ba’al koreh (the fancy term for a Torah reader) at Agudas Achim in Alexandria, and at Adas Israel, the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, and the Hill Havurah in D.C. He and his cellist spouse Emily Toll came to Kol Ami with their son Noah in 2013, drawn to JCEP in particular. (Noah’s Bar Mitzvah was at Kol Ami in 2017.) Steve taught Hebrew to a small JCEP class of “older beginners” in 2013-14, and has taught more advanced Hebrew and Jewish studies since then, always looking for fun ways to demystify our language and tradition and make them more interesting.

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