Tikvat Israel Congregation Rockville MD

A Friendly, Participatory and Egalitarian Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, Maryland


Sam Freedenberg, Executive Director

Sam has been Tikvat Israel’s executive director since May 2010. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., he brings to TI 28 years’ experience in nonprofit management, along with 7 years in competitive for-profit small businesses and 15 concurrent years in nonprofit volunteer leadership. Prior to TI he was director of communications for the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies and before that he was membership and chapter relations director at the Machinery Dealers National Association. He began his nonprofit career at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), working on Association Management magazine and as manager of the ASAE Foundation. Sam received a BA in English from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., and an MS in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he studied for one year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Sam and his wife Penina have two children (both TI b’nei mitzvah) and two grandchildren. Sam served as president of Tikvat Israel, as a vice president and as chair of the Religious Practices Committee. He has led weekday, Shabbat and High Holiday services and has been reading Torah and haftarah at services for 19 years.

Contact Sam by e-mail or phone 301-762-7338 ext. 111

Debbie Ungar, Director, ECC

Deborah L. Ungar, an experienced Jewish educator, was named the director of the Tikvat Israel Early Childhood Center in Spring 2021. She comes to TI with 16 years of experience as a director of the Silver Spring Learning Center and 25 years in the field of early childhood education. She also taught kindergarten at Park East Day School in New York City for six years.

Debbie earned her undergraduate degree in early childhood education from Yeshiva University and her master’s degree in education with a specialization in teaching science from Hunter College.

Debbie and her husband Michael have two adult children. She enjoys cooking and hiking and is an avid reader.

Contact Debbie by email or  phone 301-762-7338 ext. 129

Amy Matathias, Office Manager

Amy, joined the synagogue’s office in mid-2017 as member services/administrative assistant.  Her knowledge of synagogue life and the computer software programs used in daily synagogue operations has contributed to a smooth transition in the TI office. She knows many synagogue members and says she looks forward to meeting even more. As a volunteer, she was involved in various TI committees, including the Youth Commission as co-chair, membership committee and the board of directors. She currently serves on the TI Strategic Communications Committee, contributes to the Tikvat Israel Bulletin, and manages the website and the Facebook page. She grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Clark University with a bachelor’s in chemistry and from Case Western Reserve with a master’s in genetic toxicology. She worked for 20 years as a molecular biologist. She and her husband, Dan, have two adult children, Sam and Rebecca.

Contact Amy by email or  phone 301-762-7338 ext. 110