LOS ANGELES, October 19, 2022 – The Academy for Jewish Religion California (AJRCA) has announced a new President and CEO of the seminary and graduate school which recently moved to the campus of Loyola Marymount University. Rabbi Joshua Hoffman will succeed retiring President Rabbi Mel Gottlieb who has led the Academy for much of the last 20 years.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rabbi Joshua Hoffman,” said AJRCA Board Chair Marlene Canter. “Rabbi Hoffman shares our strong commitment to the inclusive, transdenominational ideals that AJRCA was built upon. He is the right person to lead AJRCA as it builds on its many successes over the past 20 years. He has a clear vision for the future that will take us into our next 20 years.”
Rabbi Hoffman comes to the Academy at a time when the school’s successful hybrid programs for rabbis, cantors, chaplains and lay leaders have made AJRCA more accessible to students from across the country, as well as in its Los Angeles home. The Academy currently has students in 17 states and more than 180 alumni serving in key roles throughout the country.
Hoffman has deep roots in the Los Angeles community. He is the current President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and previously served as a rabbi at Congregation Valley Beth Shalom in Encino from 2003-2021.
He is a talented Jewish educator and a pastoral leader who earned his Master’s in Education and Master’s in Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University) in Los Angeles, as well as receiving rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies on the AJU campus.
During his tenure at Valley Beth Shalom, Rabbi Hoffman created and facilitated nationally recognized programs focused on interfaith relations, social justice, and Jewish community engagement, while his role at the Board of Rabbis expanded his appreciation for the richness of denominational diversity. All of these experiences have prepared him well for his new role as President and CEO of AJRCA.
Said Rabbi Hoffman: “I see this position as a critical force for change at a pivotal time in American Jewish life. AJRCA has proven successful in training 21st century Jewish leaders who are profoundly shaping our communities with purpose and pride. My mission is to continue expanding our role in developing future Jewish leaders through innovative and inspirational learning.”
Rabbi Stan Levy, Co-Founder of AJRCA, recognized the need to find the right leader to drive the Academy forward into its next era by building upon its proven strengths in its rabbinical, cantorial, and chaplaincy schools, and its graduate program in Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Levy said: “I am so very confident that Rabbi Joshua Hoffman has the passion, intellect, experience, and interpersonal gifts to lead AJRCA in the coming years. With our new home and deepening partnership with Loyola Marymount University, and with the appointment of our new President, I am excited for the vibrant future of the Academy.”
About the Academy for Jewish Religion California
For more than 20 years, the Academy for Jewish Religion California (AJRCA) has been dedicated to the training of rabbis, cantors, chaplains, and other Jewish community leaders in a supportive, transdenominational environment. Its mission is to develop religious leaders, steeped in Torah wisdom and tradition, capable of transforming today’s Jewish communities into places where all Jews can grow toward spiritual wholeness and well-being. For more information, visit https://ajrca.edu/.
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