Sunday May 25th will be one of the proudest days of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC – JIR) student Sarah Schechter’s life. The second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve is one of 13 rabbis being ordained this year in Los Angeles at HUC – JIR. After ordination, she will look forward to her new career as the Air Force’s first ever female rabbi.
Michael Lotker shares similar feelings as he looks forward to the ordination ceremony. The former alternative energy physicist will become the first ever full-time rabbi at Temple Ner Ami in Camarillo, CA. He is also anticipating the publication of his book What Every Christian Should Know About Judaism by the Paulist Press. Yossi Carron, studying to be a rabbi after a twenty-year career as a prominent Los Angeles orchestra leader, says that becoming a rabbi, along with his role as the single parent of a teenage daughter, has made him happier than ever.
These three rabbis are members of the second, and largest ever rabbinical class to be ordained in the 49 year history of HUC – JIR’s Los Angeles school.
While they share diverse backgrounds, their common goals are similar: to meet and serve the spiritual needs of Reform Jews, to provide leadership within their communities and to fight for a more just and equitable society.
Amy Sapowith for example hopes to continue her strong interest in social action, which has included leading a women’s rights trip to Nicaragua, in her new position as assistant rabbi at Temple Sinai in Rochester, NY. San Fernando Valley native Mari Chernow plans to continue her commitment to the environment while working as assistant rabbi at Temple Chai in Phoenix, AZ.
Jennifer Rae Clayman, Sharon Gladstone, Sarah Hronsky, Yitzhak Miller, Laurie Phillips, Karen Schram, Neal Schuster and Suzanne Singer complete this year’s class of ordained rabbis.
All 13 of the rabbinic students studied for a year in Israel, becoming fully immersed in the land, its traditions and culture. They also complemented their religious training by serving rabbinic internships throughout the Jewish communities of California, the West Coast of the U.S.A and British Colombia and playing an integral role in Jewish life in Los Angeles.
On Sunday May 25th, these 13 students will be ordained by HUC – JIR President Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D. HUC – JIR faculty, the rabbinic students of the class of 2003, the College – Institute’s Boards of Governors and Overseers and the wider Jewish community will all be represented at this ceremony.