IN HIS 13 YEARS as the spiritual leader of Congregation Shomrei Emunah, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb has splendidly combined two areas of expertise: religious scholarship and psychotherapy.
Under his dynamic stewardship, the Greenspring Avenue congregation has grown from 160 families to more than 400. The 61-year-old rabbi has become a sought-after speaker nationwide on such touchy social issues as domestic violence in Orthodox families.
Dr. Weinreb's skills now have received a further validation: He has been appointed the chief executive of the Orthodox Union, the New York-based central organization of 1,000 North American synagogues.
His selection is part of an overhaul of the Orthodox Union, which, it was discovered, didn't discipline a high-ranking male staff member after years of allegations that he had molested teenage girls enrolled in his programs. Dr. Weinreb's frankness on sensitive issues makes him uniquely equipped to continue the healing process.
His departure is a blow to the Baltimore Orthodox community, which has been growing rapidly in recent years. Also it is a setback to Shomrei Emunah, which is raising funds to triple the size of its building. Dr. Weinreb's Maryland roots, though, are so deep he won't be a stranger.