Rabbi Search Update

Dear Fellow Congregants:

The Rabbinic Search Committee is delighted to announce that Rabbi Joshua Katzan will join Beth El Congregation for the High Holidays and, together with Cantor Angress and Cantor Emeritus Goldman, to lead services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as we begin 5779.

Rabbi Katzan joins us from his regular duties as a Lecturer in Rabbinic Literature at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, part of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.  The Ziegler School is, with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, one of the Conservative Movement’s rabbinical seminaries. Before joining the faculty of the Ziegler School, Rabbi Katzan served for eight years as the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Habonim in New York, and before that worked for five years as the associate rabbi at Congregation Hebrew Educational Alliance in Denver.  We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our holiday experience with Rabbi Katzan, who also will be with us for the Shabbat that immediately precedes Rosh Hashanah. His involvement in our celebration of the holidays should be especially sweet and rewarding as we come together as a congregation with renewed commitment and energy for a productive, healthy and happy new year.

Meanwhile, the Rabbinic Search Committee’s work continues in earnest with respect to identifying and retaining interim and permanent rabbis beyond the High Holidays. Many of you had the opportunity to meet with and learn from Rabbi William Gershon during his weekend with us in mid-July, but he has declined our offer in favor of taking an interim position near one of his children in New Jersey. We remain in active contact with the Rabbinical Assembly, which is supporting our identification of candidates. Our good fortune in having Rabbi Katzan, an experienced pulpit rabbi and educator, help lead us in prayer will provide an additional opportunity for our congregation to show its strength and unite in support of this common effort.

Please contact us at RabbiSearch@bethelphoenix.com with your comments, suggestions, and questions.

On behalf of the Rabbinic Search Committee, we wish everyone Shanah Tovah–a sweet new year!  We look forward to seeing you during the holidays, on Shabbat, at Minyan, and on other occasions at Beth El in the new year!

Sincerely,

 

Rabbi Joshua Katzan

A native of the Jewish Pico/Robertson neighborhood in West Los Angeles, Rabbi Joshua Katzan grew up in traditional Jewish Day Schools but began to identify passionately with the Jewish ethical and spiritual tradition while in college at the California State University, Northridge in the mid-1980’s.  At that time, he discovered the Jewish practices of meditation and realized Judaism’s voice was one that sought to challenge and build up the soul and character of the individual as well as whole societies. This began a lifelong career in exploring and then teaching the wisdom of Judaism. His passion for psychology, guitar, and Israel were also realized in those formative years at University, and they remain at the forefront of his life and style as an educator to this day.  

“Oh, what a long strange trip it’s been…” This iconic lyric captures the joy Rabbi Katzan experiences when reflecting on the path that has led him to this moment. Through teaching Judaism at the Milken Community High School in Los Angeles, CA for seven years, living and learning in Jerusalem for five years, working as an Associate Rabbi at the Hebrew Educational Alliance in Denver, CO for five years, and having been the Spiritual Leader of Congregation Habonim in Manhattan, New York for eight years, Rabbi Katzan has deep gratitude for the richness and diversity these experiences and communities have enriched his religious and spiritual life.  All along the way, he found ways to uplift his students, congregants, and community with the aspirations of Jewish tradition, his leadership, with intellectual and spiritual conversation and practice, and with music. He is thrilled to bring his teaching and experience to the Beth El community for the 5779 High Holidays.