Rabbi Cheri is the new spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El in Honolulu, Hawai’i, having previously served as founder and spiritual leader of San Diego Outreach Synagogue, an independent “without walls” congregation. During her tenure at “SDOS” she taught B’nei Mitzvah preparation lessons, officiated at religious life events, provided support and counseling, and worked with congregants and the Jewish Family Service organization on service projects. She also served as a middle school Judaics instructor at the San Diego Jewish Academy.
Rabbi Cheri was ordained as a cantor and a rabbi by the Academy for Jewish Religion California (“AJRCA”), a transdenominational institution committed to training Jewish leaders. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Theater Arts from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT; and a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Vocal Performance from CA State University-Northridge. She has also taken undergraduate courses at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Referencing her new role at Temple Emanu-El, she states: “As a rabbi and cantor, I am excited to be part of a community that welcomes people of all backgrounds into Jewish communal life with friendship, open hearts, and caring souls,” Rabbi Cheri said. “My central mission is to make Judaism accessible to everyone, empowering them as they journey to find their unique Jewish voice. I strive to ‘meet people where they are’ and help them connect in their own way to Jewish traditions.”
Rabbi Cheri has broad experience in the Jewish community, teaching, leading, and serving, and continually seeks to reach all populations including LGBTQ+ couples and individuals, disabled people, homebound seniors, and interfaith families.
Rabbi Cheri is married with two adult children. In her free time, she enjoys walking her two small rescue dogs, playing tennis, hiking, reading British mysteries, and tackling the NY Times crossword and “Spelling Bee” puzzles. She is looking forward to exploring more of O’ahu and the neighbor islands.