Academy for Jewish Religion, California - Clergy & Alumni Association

Position: Rabbi/Chaplain


  • Baby Naming Ceremonies
  • Bereavement Counseling
  • Conversion Classes
  • Corporate Chaplaincy
  • Funerals, Memorial Services & Unveilings
  • Hospice Chaplaincy
  • Public Speaking
  • Teaching/Education
  • Visiting the Sick/Bikkur Cholim
  • Weddings
  • Writing/Editing
Thesis Title:

This Master’s Thesis presents the theoretical foundation for the training and curriculum materials developed for a comprehensive Jewish educational program, entitled, Menschlekeit Matters, developed by Congregation Kehillat Israel, Pacific Palisades, CA, in partnership with the Josephson Institute of Ethics, Los Angeles, CA, under the auspices of a significant national Covenant Foundation Grant. Menschlekeit Matters is a framework for teaching character development and has been used as a model for other Mussar curricula that have emerged since it was developed, specifically, the Templeton Foundation Grant: Tikkun Middot Project for Jewish Organizations. In addition, the Menschlekeit Mattters Program functioned as a congregational change agent, shifting the culture at Kehillat Israel to embody positive Jewish values across all areas of community engagement in worship services, board and committee meetings, as well as programs and the monthly newsletters.

Menschlekeit Matters teaches Jewish values, focusing on: Emunah (Trustworthiness), Kavod (Respect), Aharayut (Responsibility), Chesed (Caring), Tzedek (Fairness), Kehillah (Citizenship) and Kedushah (Holiness). It uses a methodology that comes out of the Jewish tradition of moral education and is grounded in the teaching of ethics as well as the modern Mussar movement. The behaviors that it focuses on are based on the universal behaviors found in the CHARACTER COUNTS! Program. Menschlekeit Matters focuses on those particular behaviors that are fundamental to leading a Jewish life, grounded in Jewish values as opposed to specific mitzvot/ ritual commandments or obligations. The curriculum guide included as part of the Masters Thesis presents the curriculum deliverable for the grant. In the evaluation of the program, the data indicated board, parent, student, and teacher satisfaction and increases in the Religious School enrollment, increased numbers of families at Friday night services, and an overall increase in attendance, participation, and involvement of congregational membership.