© 2019 by Wine Country Rabbi

I am now in my fifth year as rabbi of Congregation Shir Shalom in Sonoma. In addition to serving my community, I enjoy officiating both Jewish and interfaith weddings here in California as well as destination weddings abroad.  

Allow me to share a little about myself and how I came to arrive here. I grew up in Long Beach, California, reared in the conservative movement. After graduating from high school, I ventured off to Israel and, at age twenty, I entered immigration status and settled in to kibbutz life. After two years, I was inducted into the Israeli Army and joined a combat unit where I eventually served as a platoon sergeant while enlisted and during my many years of reserve duty. After my military service, I returned to kibbutz where I ultimately became a member.  

 

My years on kibbutz were surrounded with both hard work and mystic charm. After my first few years working in agriculture, factory work, and the many “odd jobs” one can find themselves doing on kibbutz, I began my higher education, earning a BAEd in Linguistics and English Literature as well as teaching credentials.

Over the ensuing ten years, I taught elementary, middle, and high school English on our kibbutz and in Arab Christian and Arab Muslim towns and villages. As a guitar player, wherever I taught, I always made sure I had a song or two for my students, especially as a tool for learning English. It was on the kibbutz that I met my wife, Yaffa, and some years later, we married and started our family.

We decided to return to Southern California in 1999, and I began to work in the Los Angeles Jewish community as I furthered my education, earning a Master’s Degree in Education at the American Jewish University. A few years later, I was ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA.

My first full-time head rabbi position came as a surprise when I was offered a position in Mexico City, Mexico. I had an incredible experience serving in full capacity in all aspects of the religious and spiritual life of the community. When this contracted time came to an end, we returned to Los Angeles and very quickly after, I had the good fortune to answer “the calling” for yet another rabbinic position, here in the beautiful town of Sonoma, California with Congregation Shir Shalom.