Meet the New Class: Melissa Hoffman

With the start of the 2020-21 school year upon us, we are highlighting members of the incoming class of students. Click here to see all of the posts in this series.

Today we’re talking with incoming Rabbinic student Melissa Hoffman.

Photo courtesy 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.

Welcome Melissa!

3 thoughts on “Meet the New Class: Melissa Hoffman

  1. Melissa. I enjoyed reading your varied background. You have come to the right place. AJRCA is a warm and welcoming place to study and learn.

  2. Welcome, Melissa! What an interesting & diverse background you bring to the school that embraces the many facets of Judaism. We’re so glad to have you.
    I look forward to meeting you & welcoming you in person.

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