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Our Spiritual Leader

Rabbi Elhanan “Sunny” Schnitzer is one of the few spiritual leaders in the country to hold a dual ordination as both Rabbi and Hazzan (cantor). Ordained as Rabbi by the Alliance for Jewish Renewal (ALEPH) and Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi in 2010 and as Hazzan in 1997 by the Academy for Jewish Religion, Rabbi Schnitzer has led BJC since 2001. His first service with the congregation was on September 12, 2001, a memorial service for the victims of the attacks of September 11. 

BJC has long believed that a congregation must be a healing presence in the world far beyond its walls. Rabbi Schnitzer is the Executive Director of the Cuba America Jewish Mission and is a leader in rebuilding the Jewish community on the island. With his leadership, over 80 members of the congregation have journeyed with him to Cuba since 2003. Rabbi Sunny is also active in interfaith work and is active with the Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society of Montgomery County, and is a member of Rabbis for Human Rights. 

He also is the first rabbi to worship with, and address, the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly and is deeply engaged in continual dialogue with PCUSA in its approach to Israel-Palestinian relations. Rabbi Schnitzer has served congregations in Virginia, Long Island, and Baltimore, MD, mixing both traditional and contemporary forms of worship. 

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Judaic Studies from Baltimore Hebrew University, where he received awards for scholarship and biblical text study and was class valedictorian. Rabbi Sunny has also served in the chaplaincy program at Sloan Memorial Cancer Center in New York City.


Each year, Rabbi Sunny joins in leading interfaith Thanksgiving.

Rabbi Sunny helps BJC's children in getting up close with Torah.

Ordained as both a Hazzan and Rabbi, Rabbi Schnitzer infuses music into the soul of BJC.

Sun, May 29 2022 28 Iyyar 5782