Ron Li-Paz certainly took the long way to the rabbinate. The experienced cantor and spiritual leader of Valley Outreach Synagogue (VOS) describes his recent ordination at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR-CA) as one of the most transformational experiences of his life. But it was never obvious that the now-44-year-old would one day take a spiritual path.
In a groundbreaking appointment, the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR,CA), has selected Tamar Frankiel as its new president, making her the first Orthodox woman to lead an American rabbinical school. Frankiel, 66, is a professor of comparative religion and an expert on Jewish mysticism.
The Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR-CA), graduated its 10th class of rabbinic and cantorial ordinees last month. The transdenominational seminary has graduated close to 90 rabbis, cantors and chaplains since 2003, and nearly all have found work in Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and non-denominational synagogues, as well as in schools, hospitals and other institutions.
This year in Los Angeles, the Reform Movement's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Region ordained 16 new rabbis. The Conservative Movement's Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies ordained 10. And the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR, CA) ordained 11. Never heard of the AJR, CA? You're not alone. Just six years old, it remains unknown to many in the Jewish community, though its impact is growing rapidly.