The  AJRCA Clergy and Alumni Association is a professional organization of our graduates. As an alumni organization, it sustains an enriching lifelong connection between alumni and the Academy, whose purpose is to further the excellence of the Academy by fostering an enduring and mutually beneficial relationship. As a professional association, it includes a code of ethics by which its members must abide, in accordance with requirements of most professional clergy associations. As an alumni support group, it offers a supportive community as each graduate faces the challenges of making Judaism more meaningful and relevant in today’s society. Alumni help one another to find resources to support their spiritual development and growth in leadership skills, while also creating a collegial forum for scholarly interchange.

2014-15 OFFICERS:

Co-Presidents:   Rabbi Avivah Erlick and Chaplain Muriel Dance

Secretary: Chaplain Claire Gorfinkel

Treasurer: Cantor Ed Robin

Board Representative: Chaplain Muriel Dance

The following are graduates of AJRCA’s Rabbinical, Cantorial and Chaplaincy Schools:


Chaplain Ronnie Abrams (2013) serves as Chaplain at the Jewish Healing Center of Los Angeles (JHCLA) in Los Angeles.

Amy_Altshuld-ChapChaplain Amy S. Altshuld (2010) serves as a Chaplain and Spiritual Care Counselor at Skirball Hospice, a program of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, and teaches Jewish studies to seniors at Westwood Horizons Retirement Living.

Hazzan Marsha Attie (2014) serves as Cantor at Congregation Emanu-El, a Reform congregation in San Francisco that is one of the two oldest congregations in California.

TannozBahremandHazzan Tannoz Bahremand Forunzanfar (2009) is the first Persian woman to be ordained as a Cantor in the United States. She now serves as a Cantor at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Bel Air, California.

Michael-BarclayRabbi Michael Barclay (2007) serves as Rabbi of The New Shul of the Conejo in Agoura Hills, California. He is a recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the B’nai Zion Foundation, and author of Sacred Relationships:  Biblical Wisdom for Deepening Our Lives Together.

TsviBarDavidRabbi Tsvi Bar David, PhD (2008) has a private spiritual counseling practice and teaches adults in Jewish communities in northern California.

David-Baron_2012Rabbi David Baron (2012) continues in his primary profession in the high tech industry, driving innovation developed by Hewlett-Packard teams in Israel. He teaches in the San Diego Jewish community.

Hazzan Phillip Baron (2005) serves as a Hazzan at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS), a Conservative congregation in Encino, California.

Hazzan Wendy Bat-Sarah (2014) serves as Cantor and Musical Director at Weizmann Day School in Pasadena, California.

Rabbi Roberta “Birdie” Becker (2010)serves as Rabbi of Temple Emanuel, a Reform congregation in Pueblo, CO. She is also Program Director for “Storahtelling Colorado.”

Chaplain Ruth Belonsky (2006), a Board-Certified Chaplain (APC), serves as Jewish and Interfaith Chaplain at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, California.

Hazzan Alexander Berkovitch (2014) serves as Cantor at Hollywood Temple Beth El, one of the oldest congregations in Los Angeles and a modern Conservative congregation.

Hazzan Sandy Bernstein (2013) serves as Hazzan at Congregation Beth El Ner Tamid, a Conservative synagogue in Broomall, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia).

Rabbi Elisheva Beyer (2006) is the founding Rabbi of Temple Beth Or in Reno, Nevada; serves as spiritual leader of the Jewish Community of Elko County (JCEC), a Conservative congregation in Elko, Nevada; and is Rabbi of  North Tahoe Hebrew Congregation in Tahoe Vista, California.

Rabbi Janet Bieber (2005) is Rabbi and Director of Education at The Jewish Community and Learning Center of the Foothills, serving an area from Tujunga to La Canada, California.

Rabbi Bennett Blum, MD (2007) created The Caring Clergy Resource Association which is dedicated to addressing the psychological and spiritual needs of family caregivers. He continues working in his primary medical forensic practice.

Rabbi Neil Blumofe (2009) serves as the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Agudas Achim, in Austin, Texas, a position that he has held since 1998. He also received ordination as Cantor and later as Rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Rabbi Lisa W. Bock (2012) teaches in the Florence Melton School of the West Valley, and is a facilitator with the Mussar Institute.

Rabbi Rob Bonem (2008) serves as Interim Rabbi at the Jewish Home for the Aging, Reseda, CA.

Rabbi Lynn Brody Slome (2005) is a member of the Board of Governors of the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din as well as an active board member of SHARE, a non-profit organization, which funds facilities for developmentally and physically disabled, abused, and at-risk children.

Chaplain Efrat Brayer (2014) serves as a chaplain at the Jewish Healing Center, at PEC Hospice, and at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, California.

Rabbi Randall Brown (2010) is Rabbi/Chaplain of Fort Belvoir Congregation & Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Hazzan Paul Buch (2005) serves as Cantor of Temple Beth Israel, a Union for Reform Judaism-affiliated synagogue in Pomona, California.

Hazzan Frances N. Burgess (2012) is serving as Cantor of Temple Beth Hillel, a Reform congregation in Richmond, California, and is guest cantor at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley for 2014-15.

Rabbi Meredith Cahn (2011) serves as Director of the Community School for Jewish Learning, a collaboration of B’nai Israel Jewish Center in Petaluma, California and Congregation Ner Shalom in Cotati, California (Sonoma County).

Hazzan Sharon Colbert (2009) is Cantor of Temple Beth Am, a Reform congregation with over 500 member families in Williamsville, New York (a suburb of Buffalo).

Chaplain Muriel Dance, PhD (2011) serves as Chaplain at Skirball Hospice, a program of the Jewish Home for the Aging. .

Rabbi Marcy Delbick (2009) serves as Rabbi of Temple Beth El, a Reform congregation in Salinas,

Rabbi Avivah W. Erlick, B.C.C. (2009) is the founder and president of L.A. Community Chaplaincy Services, a referral service for freelance chaplains and clergy. She is a Board Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Rabbi Diane Elliot (2006) directs Wholly Present, a center for embodied Jewish spirituality, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the founding director of the ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal’s “Embodying Spirit, En-spiriting Body” movement-based Jewish leadership training program. She also teaches nationally and serves as a spiritual director. /

Rabbi Anthony Elman (2007) served as the Rabbi of the Grancell Village campus of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging until his retirement in 2014.

Hazzan Seth Ettinger (2014) is Hazzan Sheini at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the oldest congregation in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Andrew Feig (2007) is School Rabbi at Sinai Akiba Academy, a K-8 Solomon Schechter day school for over 500 students, affiliated with Sinai Temple, a Conservative synagogue in Los Angeles. Rabbi Feig is also a professor of Jewish Education at AJRCA.

Hazzan Marcus Feldman (2011), serves as Cantor of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.

Rabbi Steve Finley (2009) serves as Rabbi of Congregation Shir Shalom, an independent congregation in Sonoma, California.

Hazzan Lonee Frailich (2011) is the first full-time professional Cantor in the history of Temple Akiba, a 330- family Reform congregation in Culver City, California.

Hazzan Jonathan L. Friedmann, PhD (2010) serves as Cantor of Bet Knesset Bamidbar, a Reform congregation in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is also professor of Jewish Music History at AJRCA, and music editor of the Western States Jewish History Journal.

Rabbi Tsipi Gabai (2003) is Rabbi of Tehiya Day School in El Cerrito, CA,

Chaplain Yehoshua Gabbai (2014), an ordained Rabbi, serves as head of the Hebrew department at Yeshivat Yavneh, an Orthodox day school in Los Angeles, where he uses chaplaincy skills in relations with students and co-workers.

Rabbi Elihu Gevirtz (2013) is co-founder of Zimrat Yah, a new spiritual community in Santa Barbara, California, where he is also a senior botanist and biologist for URS, a consulting firm.

Rabbi Sara Lonstein Gilbert (2006) serves as Rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation in Greeley, Colorado, an unaffiliated congregation.

Rabbi Susan Goldberg (2012) is a Rabbi at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the oldest synagogue in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon (2013) is a member of the faculty of Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, a community school for about 400 students in Palo Alto, California.

Hazzan Rachel Goldman (2014) is continuing her studies toward rabbinical ordination at the Academy for Jewish Religoin, California.

Rabbi and Cantor Mark Goodman (2007) serves as spiritual leader of Valley Beth Israel, a Conservative synagogue Sun Valley, California. He also serves as adjunct professor of Jewish history and religion at Los Angeles Valley College.

Chaplain Claire Gorfinkel (2011) serves on the staff of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center as coordinator of the Caring Community Program, providing programs and added attention for congregants and unaffiliated Jews in the Pasadena area who are home-bound, ill, bereaved, caring for a loved one or experiencing other transitions.

Rabbi Dov Gottesfeld (2013) serves as a Fellow Rabbi at Ahavat Torah Congregation in Brentwood, California.

Rabbi Guy Greene (2005) serves as Rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom, a Conservative/Reform synagogue in Sioux City, Iowa.

Hazzan Judy Greenfeld (2004) is the spiritual leader and founder of the Nachshon Minyan, a community based in Encino, California, that reaches out to the unaffiliated. She is also continuing her studies in AJRCA’s Rabbinical School.

Rabbi Miriam Hamrell (2003) the founding Rabbi of Ahavat Torah Congregation, a Conservative/Reform community in Brentwood, California.

Rabbi Rita Hertzberg (2010) served as Rabbi of the Eisenberg Village Campus of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging until her retirement in 2014. She was the first woman rabbi in the Jewish Home’s almost 100-year history.

Rabbi Cecilia Herzfeld-Stern (2011) is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in North San Diego County. She also serves as a Disaster Mental Health and Spiritual Care Counselor for the San Diego Red Cross Mass Disaster Team.

Rabbi Robin Hoffman (2013) is Director of Jewish Education at Congregation B’nai Israel, a Conservative congregation of about 500 member families in Tustin, CA.

Hazzan Jessica Hutchings (2014) serves as Cantor of Congregation Ner Tamid in Henderson, Nevada, near Las

Rabbi Debbie Israel (2009) serves as Rabbi of Congregation Emeth, a Reform-affiliated congregation in Morgan Hill, California, serving the South Valley area that includes Gilroy, Hollister, Aromas, and South San Jose.

Rabbi Min Kantrowitz (2004) is Director of Shutafim: New Mexico Jewish Community Connections, a new program of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico designed to assist small, isolated Jewish communities via a strategy of empowerment and support.

Rabbi Dean Kertesz (2008) serves as Rabbi of Temple Beth Hillel, a Reform congregation in Richmond, California.

Rabbi Julie Kozlow (2007) serves as the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Greenville, South Carolina.

Hazzan Lorna Lembeck (2009) serves as Hazzan Sheini for Temple Isaiah, a Reform congregation in Los Angeles.

Chaplain Bonnie Leopold (2007) is in private practice as a spiritual counselor, grief counselor and spiritual director.

Rabbi Arthur Levine, PhD, JD (2009) follows the ancient model of practicing a trade or profession – in his case as an attorney – while studying and teaching Judaism, helping to build and support caring Jewish communities, serving the Jewish non-affiliated, and assisting other rabbis.

Rabbi Ron Li-Paz (2013) is Rabbi and Cantor of Valley Outreach Synagogue, an independent congregation of 650 families, in Woodland Hills, California.

Chaplain Robert Lifson z”l (2010) served the needs of the elderly in residential facilities such as Center Point West Nursing Home, Hallmark Cheviot Hills Assisted Living, and Silverado Los Angeles Hospice which specializes in Alzheimer’s and other dementias. May his memory be for a blessing.

Rabbi Jeffrey Lipschultz (2007) is Rabbi at Beth Judah Temple, a Conservative congregation in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Chaplain D’vorah Epstein McDonald (2006) serves as a Board Certified Chaplain at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, where she is a member of the bioethics committee and Site Coordinator for the Clinical Pastoral Education program. D’

Chaplain Stephen Macht (2013) serves as the Chaplain of Creative Arts Temple, a transdenominational congregation in Beverly Hills with 800 members; he specializes in life cycle events.

Rabbi Janet Madden, PhD (2011) is a Spiritual Care Counselor at Skirball Hospice, a program of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, and serves as Rabbi of Temple Havurat Emet, a 90-household Reform congregation in Sun Lakes, Arizona.

Rabbi Alicia Magal (2003) serves as rabbi of the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, an unaffiliated synagogue in Sedona, Arizona. and

Rabbi Paula Marcus (2004) is Rabbi and Congregational Cantor at Temple Beth El, a Union for Reform Judaism-affiliated congregation in Aptos, California.

Rabbi and Cantor Osnat Margalith (2008, 2007) is Rabbi of Beth Shalom of Whittier, an unaffiliated congregation.

Rabbi Janice Mehring (2010) is Rabbi of Congregation Ohr Tzafon, a Reform synagogue of about 70 families in Atascadero, California.

Rabbi Belle Michael (2013) is Campus Rabbi and Director of Hillel at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.

Rabbi Yocheved Mintz (2004) is Rabbi of Congregation P’nai Tikvah of Las Vegas, the only Reconstructionist/ Renewal congregation in Nevada. She is active on AJRCA’s Board of Directors.

Hazzan Rebekah Mirsky (2010) is serving as Cantor at Kol Ami, a Reform-affiliated congregation in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Malka Mittelman (2006) serves as Rabbi and Spiritual Care Counselor for Skirball Hospice, a program of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging; and also as Rabbi of B’nei Mishkan, a Jewish community without walls in the Los Angeles area.

Rabbi Susan Nanus is Director of Adult Programs at the historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the oldest synagogue in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Avraham Navah (2006) serves as a Chaplain/Rabbi at Providence Tarzana Medical Center.

Chaplain Jennifer Eaves Nye (2013) is Associate Spiritual Leader of Valley Outreach Synagogue in Woodland Hills, California. She is also continuing in rabbinical studies at

Rabbi Laura Owens (2008) is Co-Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Horin – Children of Freedom in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s oldest Renewal congregations. She currently serves as Chair of AJRCA’s Board of Directors.

Rabbi Nina Perlmutter (2009) serves as spiritual leader of Heichal Baoranim, an inclusive Reform synagogue in Flagstaff, Arizona. She is also the rabbinical contact for Jewish Services and Programs at Grand Canyon National Park and teaches at Prescott College and Yavapai College.

Rabbi Robin Podolsky (2013) teaches at Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, in Los Angeles.

Hazzan Eva Robbins (2004) is the Cantor of Congregation N’vay Shalom (, a nondenominational synagogue in Los Angeles that places emphasis on spiritual and mystical studies.

Hazzan Edward L. Robin (2010) is now pursuing rabbinic studies at AJRCA. Cantor Robin also serves as a substitute cantor at various synagogues throughout the Los Angeles area.

Rabbi Ira Rosenfeld (2008) serves as Rabbi of Hollywood Temple Beth El, a progressive Conservative synagogue in West Hollywood, California.

Rabbi Mark Rotenberg (2007) is founder of “A Spiritual Endeavor”, in Pennsylvania, which conducts spiritual retreats for those in recovery and others.

Chaplain Deborah Schmidt (2014) is continuing her studies in Clinical Pastoral Education.

Rabbi Lawrence P. Seidman, PhD (2009) shares the pulpit at Congregation Shalom Bayit, a Reform style synagogue in Banning, California. He also serves as a chaplain in the Orange County jail system and writes columns for the Orange County Register.

Rabbi Linda Seidman (2010) shares the pulpit at Congregation Shalom Bayit, a Reform style synagogue in Banning, California. She serves as a chaplain in the Orange County jail system, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Probation Department.

Rabbi Lori Shapiro (2010) is Rabbi of The Open Temple , an independent congregation in Venice, California.

Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman (2005) is Rabbi of Kehillah of Arizona, an independent congregation in Scottsdale, Arizona. She founded and served as Head of School of Pardes Jewish Day School and now serves on that institution’s Board of Directors.

Rabbi Arinna Shelby (2008) is Chaplain and Rabbi for Skirball Hospice, a program of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging.

Rabbi Jay Sherwood(2009) is founding Rabbi of Adat Re’im, an independent, transdenominational congregation in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Rabbi Paul Shleffar (2006) is founder and Director of the Center for Contemporary Jewish Spirituality in San Francisco, and translates and interprets Hasidic and mystical texts.

Hazzan Harris Shore (2008) serves as Hazzan at Hollywood Temple Beth El, a progressive Conservative synagogue in West Hollywood, California.

Chaplain Adam Siegel (2014) serves as a Spiritual Counselor at Beit T’Shuvah, a residential treatment center and a full-service independent congregation in Los

Hazzan Meeka Simerly (2009) serves as Cantor of San Jose’s Temple Emanu-El, one of the oldest Reform congregations on the west coast. She is also continuing her studies in AJRCA’s Rabbinical School.

Hazzan Pamela Simmons (2010) serves as a Cantor at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles.

Chaplain Barbara Singer(2009) works as a free-lance chaplain for pastoral care needs, including for the elderly and their families as a hospice chaplain. She also is an Adult Education teacher at Temple Beth Hillel in North Hollywood.

Chaplain Judith C. Sommerstein (2006) serves as a Board Certified Chaplain at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in San Pedro, California, where she is also designated Palliative Care Chaplain and is the Site Coordinator for CPE Residents and

Rabbi Faith Tessler (2007) is the Director of Placement and Internships at AJRCA. She also serves as a rabbi to a congregation in Desert Hot Springs.

Rabbi Batshir Torchio (2013) serves as Senior Educator at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center.

Rabbi Yisraela Tubman (2012) serves as Rabbi at Hallmark West Hills Assisted Living in West Hills, California.

Rabbi Monty Turner (2005) served as a cantor and as Assistant Rabbi at Makom Ohr Shalom, a Jewish Renewal synagogue in Woodland Hills, California.

Hazzan Elisa Waltzman (2009) has moved with her family to Beachwood, Ohio, near Cleveland.

Rabbi Julia Watts Belser, PhD (2007) is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies in the Theology Department at Georgetown University.

Rabbi Cheryl Weiner, PhD (2007) is Staff Chaplain for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation (Florida), Director of the Refuat HaNefesh Alumni Network, and Senior Consultant for its Jewish Chaplaincy

Chaplain Robert Weiser (2011) serves as a chaplain at Skirball Hospice, a program of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging.

Rabbi Liat Yardeni-Funk (2006) is School Rabbi and Director of Judaic Studies at Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, serving about 500 students.

Chaplain Laura Young (2010), a Board Certified Chaplain (NAJC), is the Line Jewish Chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Barbara J. Zacky (2009) is a member of the AJRCA Board of Directors, serves on the Founders’ Council of the Williams Institute, and is a member of the JQ International Advisory Board. She provides spiritual care to families and individuals, and advocates for social justice.