Rabbi Matthew H. Simon
301-881-6550 ext. 570
Matthew H. Simon was elected the Senior Rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation on March 10, 1973, and became Emeritus Rabbi after three decades of service on July 31, 2002.
He is a past president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and has been its Campaign Chairman and Treasurer. He was chairman of the Legacy Society of the United Jewish Endowment Fund of The Jewish Federation, and was Chairman for four years of The Jewish Federation’s Interagency Forum on Aging.
He is a life member of the Board of the Jewish Social Service Agency, was the founding Chairman of Jewish Vocational Services, and has been an advocate for its Chaplaincy and Hospice programs. In 1988 JSSA presented him with their Lehrman Pikser Award for outstanding volunteer activity.
He is past president of Hillel of Greater Washington, past vice president of Capital Camps, the Board of Jewish Education, and the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning. He serves on the Endowment Committee of The Jewish Federation, The Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, and Senior Advisory Committees of JSSA and The Jewish Council for the Aging.
In 2004, The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington awarded him the Ourisman Memorial Civic Award, and in 2009 he merited the First Humanitarian award presented by the Jewish Council for the Aging.
Rabbi Simon attended the University of Chicago and California State University, Northridge. He earned a Master of Political Science, a M.H.L. in Hebrew Literature, and a D.H.L. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1958, which awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1984. Following his ordination, he served as a U.S. Navy Chaplain, and retired from the Navy as a Captain after 28 years of service. He serves as a volunteer rabbi to the Walter Reed Military Medical Center, in Bethesda.
From 1960 to 1967, Rabbi Simon served congregations in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, then he became the Director of the United Jewish Appeal in the Jerusalem office. He was the Interim Rabbi at Temple Har Zion in Greater Philadelphia from 2002 to 2004. He is a founding member of Mercaz, the Zionist Movement of Conservative Judaism, and was its president; he was also president of Masorti, its international synagogue organization. For the Masorti Movement’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah program for Children with Special Needs, the Simon family sponsored its prayer book, Yehoshua Hazak, in memory of their son, Rabbi Joshua Rubinow Simon.
He has been Chairman of the Joint Retirement Board for Conservative Judaism three times, and a board member for over forty years. Twice he was the National Chairman of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal, and is presently the Honorary president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of The Jewish Federations of North America, and was Chairman for five years of its National Funding Councils. He was Chairman of the Jewish Welfare Board – Jewish Chaplains Council. He is a past national president of ZBT Fraternity, and a past president of the Washington Board of Rabbis.
Rabbi Simon is married to Dr. Sara Rubinow Simon. Their children are Ethan, who is married to Sandy Katz, and have two children, Molly and Ezekiel; Betsy, who is married to Colonel Jeffrey L. Cowan, USAF, and have two children, Maggie and Buddy; and the late Rabbi Joshua of the Actors Temple of Manhattan, who was married to Dr. Miriam Bensimhon; their twin sons are Dylan Rafael and Marley Reuven.