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, and select Shabbats during the year.