Whether through the spoken word, in writing, or through song and music, our community of students, alumni, faculty and supporters are constantly creating – and this is the place to find those teachings, events, music, the weekly Parsha and achievements.
Today we’re talking with incoming Rabbinic student Melissa Hoffman.
Q1) Where do you live?
North Hollywood, CA
Q2) How did you first hear of AJRCA?
I first heard of AJRCA while in college at UCLA. AJRCA’s now previous campus, UCLA Hillel, is my old stomping grounds.
Q3) What was it about AJRCA that drew you to enroll here?
I previously studied through a different ordination program while living on the east coast. When I returned to CA and considered returning to school, AJRCA stood out to me as a program that was not only nearby, but would most align with my pluralistic/transdenominational experiences and approach to Judaism.
Q4) What were you doing prior to enrolling?
Prior to enrolling, I had had a hodgepodge of Jewish professional roles as a cantorial soloist, a b’nai mitzvah program coordinator and tutor, and religious school teacher. In 2013, I decided to equip myself with more formal knowledge about animal welfare and environmental issues, a long-time passion of mine, and got my master’s in animal welfare and public policy from Tufts University. Now, I direct a national Jewish initiative dedicated to educating communities about the food system, sustainable agriculture, and animal welfare and supporting them in adopting ethical food practices (Jewish Initiative for Animals). The initiative turned 5 this year and I’ll continue this work while I’m in AJRCA’s rabbinical program. I also spend some of my free time in the South Bay volunteering at a wildlife rehab.
Q5) As you embark on this experience, what are you most excited about?
I am most excited to get to know my fellow students, teachers, and soon-to-be fellow leaders; it’s a thrill to be in community with all the diverse souls that comprise AJRCA’s programs, and I’m looking forward to learning and growing with you all.