Jewish communal life is undergoing a sweeping metamorphosis. With advances in technology and the traumatic impact of the pandemic, all constructs are changing and rearranging. Adat Ari El recognizes and embraces these new realities, poised to evolve into the creative, connected, experimental community that today demands a vibrant and growing Jewish life. Yet, with all these changes, we continue to hold fast to a framework of Jewish tradition and practice, values borne out through Shivim Panim L’Torah (Seventy Faces of Torah), community bonding and engagement, Shabbat and holiday observance, education, social justice, and a belief in Zionism and support of Israel as a Jewish state, regardless of our individual political leanings. We are an open community that embraces the totality of Jewish lifestyles.
We are led by our Senior Rabbi, Brian Schuldenfrei, selected for his Jewish knowledge, intellect, passion, humanity, creativity, openness and big idea thinking about new Jewish constructs. Our Executive Director, Eric Nicastro is a full partner with Rabbi Schuldenfrei on this journey. Together, they are supported by a committed and diverse group of lay leaders and a highly skilled team of synagogue professionals.
We are looking for a passionate leader, a rabbi, to join our team — an individual who will be excited and energized by our community’s vision, who will enjoy engaging with our community, and who will work tirelessly in the framework that our spiritual community is now creating.
Tachlis: The Job
Our new rabbi and Director of Adult Engagement will have the opportunity to demonstrate initiative, collaborative values and creativity. Working with our senior staff and lay leaders, our new rabbi will have direct responsibility to build a new Beit Midrash/Adult Education Center, infusing it with energy, a love of Talmud Torah and rich, quality learning. Leveraging our community’s resources and location in the heart of the San Fernando Valley with easy access to a wide variety of Jewish educational and cultural institutions as well as the entertainment industry, our Beit Midrash will provide the foundation for a cohesive and comprehensive approach to learning. It will create adult social/educational networks and programming to engage all levels of learners. Our new rabbi will also work on the development side to promote the activities of the Beit Midrash, with support from the Senior Rabbi and Executive Director. In addition, our new rabbi will play a leadership role in developing a new Adat Ari El Wellness Center in collaboration with other senior staff.
Our new rabbi will also assist our Senior Rabbi with all pulpit responsibilities, should be a skilled Torah reader and leader of services, and will upon arrival become a valued member of our senior staff, collaborating fully and freely with other staff and lay leaders and demonstrating a commitment to building and sustaining collegial and supportive relationships.
From the standpoint of personal development, Adat Ari El has always been a warm, nurturing community. Our Senior Rabbi values collegiality, collaboration and mentorship. He has served both as a mentee and mentor and is sensitive to different styles of serving as a rabbi. He works best with individuals who are self-starters and leaders, but who also value support from others and collaboration. He will be there for our new rabbi to provide support, as well as to guide, collaborate, celebrate successes and help learn from setbacks.
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About Adat Ari El
Founded in 1938 as Valley Jewish Community Center and Temple, Adat Ari El is the original synagogue in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, home to 1.7 million individuals. For more than eight decades, our historic, yet progressive egalitarian congregation has served as a pioneer in the Conservative movement, holding the first Bat Mitzvah on the West Coast, employing the first Conservative female rabbi in a major congregation and the first openly gay Conservative rabbi in Los Angeles. As a medium to large size synagogue, we have also been blessed with a dedicated, deeply committed and collaborative clergy, including the four senior rabbis who have led our congregation over the past 83 years. All have served as true spiritual leaders and role models. Our rabbis have supported Israel since its founding, marched against racism with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., protested the plight of Soviet Jewry, and pursued justice in every context. Our members and alumni have played leadership roles in virtually every Jewish social service and social justice organization in Los Angeles, from the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation to JQ International and the Los Angeles BJE.
We have always been a multi-generational community of Ashkenazi, Israeli, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews with various levels of observance and connections to Judaism and the Jewish people. Through the decades, Adat Ari El has promoted lifelong Jewish learning. We have cultivated active community and lay leadership, including members who lead our prayer services, read Torah, and give sermons through our pioneering Darshan/Darshanit program. In addition to our twice daily Minyan, Adat Ari El has championed innovative prayer services including Shabbat Healing Services and our musical N’ranena services led by our beloved Cantor Judy Dubin Aranoff.
Adat Ari El has pioneered the concept of voluntary dues, and seeks to optimize the communal uses and resources provided by our large, strategically situated suburban campus. A community on the upswing, we are looking at increasing our impact and expanding our opportunities for communal engagement. With the energy and creativity of our senior staff, Adat Ari El is well poised for the future. We believe that now is once again the time to revolutionize and revitalize our congregation.