I was ordained in 2012 after commuting from the San Francisco Bay Are for five years. I am currently the Cantor at Temple Beth Hillel, a small shul in Richmond California. I serve with another AJRCA graduate, Rabbi Dean Kertesz.


  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutoring
  • Teaching/Education
  • Vocal/Instrumental Performance
  • Other Specializations:
  • Adult Torah trope classes.


Thesis Title:
Reading Kohelet On Sukkot (2015)

At the turning of the year, amid the fading notes of the Shofar and the tremolos of the Unetaneh Tokef, Jews venture outside to build a sukkah – an elegantly fragile structure that signifies our own exquisite dependence on the Divine. And in that week of Sukkot, we are invited to hear the ancient and remarkably relevant Book of Kohelet, one of three Wisdom texts attributed to King Solomon. The precise relationship between the holiday and the megillah is a challenge to define. This thesis considers the origin and impact of Wisdom Literature, and then examines the intricate and often stunning linguistic connections between Kohelet and the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis, for which Kohelet is essentially a preparatory text, and which too contains echoes and messages of the great wisdom teachers. I note myriad ways in which the rituals of Sukkot and Simchat Torah suggest a cyclical approach to time, life and living that Kohelet acknowledges and celebrates. Finally, I explore ways in which the notion of “Eternal Return,” a concept put forth by religious anthropologist Mircea Eliade, is evidenced in the ritual reading of Kohelet on Sukkot, as the Torah returns to its beginning and the story of creation and the birth of the Divinely-formed world is unfolded and intoned again. Ultimately, I consider the enduring teachings of Kohelet – the affirmation of God’s eternally present but unknowable Reality; the challenge to live fully with awareness of mortality; and the way in which our wise and elusive Teacher fills in the final piece of the puzzle, giving us conclusive and hopeful direction for living a life in full, and with faith.

Email: shanachandlerleon@gmail.com