Faculty

Faculty

Cantor Perryne Anker, Liturgical Studies.  Associate Dean of the Cantorial School. B.S., Juilliard School of Music, New York where she won the Catherine Tuck Award.  Served as cantor at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Bel Air, Beth Shalom in Santa Monica, and Temple of the Arts in Los Angeles. Member of the American Conference of Cantors.

Judy Aronson, Jewish Education.  M.S.T., Harvard UniversityFormer director of  Religious and Day Schools in Boston and Los Angeles.

Rabbi Toba August, Rabbinics.  Ordination from Jewish Theological Seminary, New York; M.Ed. in Education and Reading.  Serves as Rabbi of Temple Shalom of the South Bay in Hermosa Beach, CA; and is founder and rabbi of Lev Eisha, a lively community of women who meet monthly to engage in prayer, study and spiritual growth.

Dr. Yolande Bloomstein. Professional Skills. Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute; M.S.W. from the University of Southern California. In private practice with Village Mental Health Associates.

Rabbi Daniel Bouskila, Talmud.  Ordination from Yeshiva University.  Director of the Sephardic Educational Center, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.  Former rabbi of Sephardic Temple, Los Angeles (1991-2009).

Rabbi Anne Brener, Ritual and Human Development.  Rabbinical ordination and M.S. in Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College; M.S.W., University of Southern California. Faculty member at Morei Derekh, a program in Jewish Spiritual Direction. Author of Mourning and Mitzvah.

Rabbi Mark Diamond, Practical Rabbinics. Rabbinic ordination, M.A. and D.D. (honoris causa) from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  He has served as a congregational rabbi, Executive Vice President of The Board of Rabbis of Southern California, and Director of the Los Angeles region of American Jewish Committee.

Rabbi Andrew Feig, Jewish Education.  Ordination and Master of Rabbinic Studies, Academy for Jewish Religion California; M.A. in Jewish Studies, University of Chicago. Rabbi in Residence, Sinai Akiba Academy, Los Angeles.

Rabbi Dr. Mordecai Finley, Liturgical Studies, Ethics. Ordination from Hebrew Union College. Ph.D. in Religion-Social Ethics, University of Southern California. Founding rabbi of Ohr HaTorah Congregation, Los Angeles, a traditional-progressive congregation; co-founder of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California.

Cantor Jay Frailich, Liturgical Studies.  D.Mus. and Commission as Cantor from Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music.  Cantor of University Synagogue (Reform), Brentwood, California, for more than 30 years.

Dr. Tamar Frankiel, Comparative Religion. PhD in History of Religions, University of Chicago. Has taught at Claremont School of Theology, Stanford, Princeton, and UC Berkeley and Riverside. Author of numerous books, including The Gift of Kabbalah; The Voice of Sarah; Christianity: A Way of Salvation, and California’s Spiritual Frontiers.

Dr. Jonathan Friedmann, Jewish Music History. PhD in Hebrew Bible from the joint program of North-West University (South Africa) and Greenwich School of Theology (UK).  Author of Social Functions of Synagogue Song, and Synagogue Song: An Introduction to Concepts, Theories, and Customs, among other works. Community Leader and Education Director at Adat Chaverim—Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Los Angeles. Dr. Friedmann’s blog is “Thinking on Music.”

Hazzan Joseph Gole, Cantorial and Liturgical Studies. B.S.M., University of Southern California School of Music.  Formerly Hazzan of Sinai Temple, the largest conservative congregation in Los Angeles; past chairman of the West Coast Region and past officer of the national Cantors Assembly.

Rabbi Dr. Mel Gottlieb, Mysticism & RabbinicsPresident of the Academy. Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshiva University.   Ph.D. in Mythology/Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute. Rabbi Gottlieb is the former Director of Hillel at MIT and Princeton, and was the Rabbi at Kehillat Ma’arav in Santa Monica as well as Westwood Village Synagogue.

Rabbi Avraham Greenstein, Hebrew Language. Ordination from Yeshivat Tomchei Temimim, Jerusalem. M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures: Hebrew Language, UCLA. Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA. Translator of Judeo-Persian poetry; author of articles on Jews in the Sasanian empire.

Cantor Don Gurney, Liturgical Studies.  Graduate of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music, New York City.  Hazzan  of  Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Los Angeles.

Rabbi Yehuda Hausman, Rabbinics.  Rabbinical ordination from Chovevei Torah, New York; M.A. in Jewish Studies from Brandeis University.  Rabbi Hausman writes on many Torah topics at “Pieces of Meaning: A Home for Unfinished Thoughts.”

Vered Hopenstand, Hebrew Language. Graduated in History and Hebrew Literature from Bar-Ilan University.  A teacher of modern Hebrew language and biblical Hebrew for decades, she was awarded the Milken Family Foundation’s prestigious “Jewish Educator” award in 2001.

Rabbi Carla Howard, Chaplaincy. Ordination from the University of Judaism’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.  Co-founder and Executive Director of the Jewish Hospice Project, Los Angeles;. formerly Associate Rabbi and Director for the Los Angeles Jewish Healing Center at Metivta.

Hazzan Nathan Lam, Liturgical Studies.  Dean of the Cantorial School. Commissioned as Hazzan by the Cantors Assembly; Cantorial Certification from Hebrew Union College. Cantor at Stephen S. Wise Temple, the largest Jewish congregation in the world, for over 30 years. Past international president of the Cantors Assembly and fellow of the Jewish Theological Seminary, which awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Music.

Dr. Robert Levy, Jewish History.  Ph.D., UCLA.  BFA, film and video production, California Institute of the Arts.  Author of Ana Pauker: The Rise and Fall of a Jewish Communist.

Rabbi Stan Levy,J.D., UCLA.  Spiritual Development.  Spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Horin – Children of Freedom in Los Angeles.  Partner in the nationally known law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; co-founder of Bet Tzedek, which provides free legal services to the poor and elderly; co-founder of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California.

Dr. Michael Menitoff, Jewish Thought.  Ph.D. in Early Childhood Development, UCLA; M.A. in Developmental Psychology, Columbia University. Rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.  He served as a congregational rabbi for many years and has had a private practice in psychotherapy.

Cantor Samuel B. Radwine, Cantorial Studies. Investiture as Cantor from the School of Sacred Music, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York.  Formerly Cantor at Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay; Visiting Lecturer in Liturgical Music, Hebrew Union College.

Rabbi Stephen Robbins, Mystical Thought. Ordination, M.H.L. in History, and honorary Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College. Psy.D., Ryokan College. Co-founder of the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA; founding rabbi of Congregation N’vay Shalom.

Rabbi Rochelle Robins, Clinical Pastoral Education. Vice President and Dean of the Chaplaincy School. Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, New York. Associate Director for the Clinical Pastoral Education program at the Center for Urban Chaplaincy in San Diego. Certified Full Supervisor in Clinical Pastoral Education.

Rabbi Dr. Elijah Schochet, Talmud. Ordination from Jewish Theological Seminary. Ph.D. in Rabbinic Literature, Jewish Theological Seminary; M.F.C.C., Columbia University.  Former rabbi of Shomrei Torah Synagogue, West Hills, California (1960-1999). Founder of Kadima Hebrew Academy in the San Fernando Valley. Author of The Hasidic Movement and the Gaon of Vilna and other works.

Rabbi Ronnie Serr, Hasidic Thought. Private ordination, 2013. M.A. in Communications, Hebrew University; doctoral studies in Theater Arts, UCLA.  He is an educator in Jewish mysticism, a translator of Hebrew books and court-certified Hebrew interpreter, and a web developer, the founder-owner of Alphabet House Desktop Publishing.

Dr. Saba SoomekhWorld Religions; Iranian Jewish Culture.  Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara; Lecturer in Religious Studies at California State University, Northridge.  Author of From the Shahs to Los Angeles: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women; and curator of “Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews,” at the Fowler Museum of UCLA.   

Dr. Marvin Sweeney, Tanakh.  Ph.D., Bible, Claremont Graduate School.  Professor of Hebrew Bible at Claremont School of Theology and Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University;. Author of numerous works on prophetic books of the Bible, as well as Reading the Bible After the Shoah. Editor of the Review of Biblical Literature.

Cantor Alan Weiner, Cantorial Studies. Cantorial Investiture from Hebrew Union College, MFA in Music, California Institute of the Arts; doctoral studies in Choral Music, University of Southern California. Cantor at Temple Beth Hillel, Valley Village, CA.

Rabbi Liat Yardeni-Funk, Israel Studies & EducationDean of the Rabbinical School . Ordination from AJRCA in 2006.  She also serves as  Director of Education and Rabbi for the Women’s Minyan and adult education at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, Los Angeles.

Dr. Jacob Zighelboim, M.D., Bioethics, Philosophical Thought.  Former Professor of Medicine (Hematology-Oncology) and Microbiology and Immunology at UCLA Medical School. Author of From Fear to Awe: A New Understanding of the Book of Job (Toren Publishers, 1998) and To Health: The New Humanistic Oncology (J. Zighelboim, 2003).