After a year-long search, Temple Judea has chosen Rabbi Joshua Aaronson, formerly of Temple Har Shalom in Salt Lake City, as its new senior rabbi effective July 1, 2013, filling the position left open by Rabbi Donald Goor who is realizing a
lifelong dream of moving to Israel after 26 years at Temple Judea.
“Rabbi Joshua Aaronson brings more than 22 years of experience to our congregation, and we are confident that his passion, wisdom and love of Jewish living will lead our synagogue to a meaningful and exciting future,” said Andy Keimach, president of Temple Judea. “He was selected from a slate of 21 candidates after much careful attention by our search committee to input of our congregants through focus groups, one-on-one conversations and town hall meetings.”
Rabbi Aaronson has served the past 10 years as the first full-time rabbi of Temple
Har Shalom in Salt Lake City. During his tenure, he grew the congregation from a loosely affiliated group of about 100 families meeting in rented space to one of Utah's most vibrant Jewish institutions with more than 300 families and its own state-of-the-art facility. Under his leadership, the synagogue created such notable programs as Ski Shule at Deer Valley (the only ski-in/ski-out Shabbat worship service in the world); and a partnership with the Sundance Film Festival, including Shabbat at Sundance and programs honoring Israeli film makers with films in the festival.
"I am honored to join this sacred community which for 60 years has been a beacon of vibrant, Jewish life in the San Fernando Valley,” said Rabbi Aaronson. “Rabbi Goor has built Temple Judea’s reputation as a cutting-edge community of Jewish living, known throughout the country for dynamic educational and social justice programming, among other things. In fact, it is this reputation that draws me to Judea. In the months ahead, I look forward to forging lasting relationships with the members and staff of this warm congregation.”
Rabbi Aaronson has served on numerous boards and civic organizations including the People's Health Clinic, the Summit County Sheriff's advisory board and the
Westminster College Hillel Advisory Board. Rabbi Aaronson is a rabbinic fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He is married to Debbie, a pharmaceutical sales executive, and they have three children.
Rabbi Donald Goor and his husband, Cantor Evan Kent of Temple Isaiah in West Los Angeles, are fulfilling a decades-old dream of moving to Israel, or making aliyah, and beginning a new chapter in their lives in the Jewish homeland. After
26 years as the senior rabbi of Temple Judea, Rabbi Goor leaves behind a legacy
of developing Temple Judea into one of the most prominent Reform congregations
on the West Coast. In 2010, the temple opened a stunning multi-million dollar campus which greatly expanded its capabilities to meet the diverse programming needs of Jewish families in the West Valley. The new building was the
long-time realization of Rabbi Goor’s vision for a new place of worship,
learning and community for Temple Judea. Additionally, he is responsible for significantly enhancing lifelong learning programs at the temple which include bringing in Jewish scholars from across the globe. Rabbi Goor also is nationally
recognized for his commitment to social justice throughout the greater Los
“As we move forward to begin a new chapter in the life of our congregation, we do
so with great confidence that the future is built on a strong foundation of
holiness that we, together with previous generations, have created,” said Rabbi
Goor. “I look forward to welcoming Rabbi Aaronson to Temple Judea and to creating a smooth transition as he takes on the role of Senior Rabbi.
"The years to come will be crucial as our synagogue moves forward to meet the needs of a growing and changing Jewish community in the San Fernando Valley. I’m certain that the coming months and years will bring continued growth and success – to Rabbi Aaronson and to Temple Judea so that we continue to go from strength to strength,” Rabbi Goor added.
Rabbi Goor came to Temple Judea in 1987 following his ordination at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. The son of a rabbi, he grew up in San Diego, California, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. He currently serves on the faculty of Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, and teaches second and fifth year rabbinic students, addressing topics that relate to the practical aspects of being in the clergy. Rabbi Goor continues his own studies at the Hartman Institute as a fellow in the Center for Rabbinic Enrichment Program in Israel.
Temple Judea was founded in 1952 by 17 Jewish families seeking to build a home for Reform Jewish worship, study and fellowship in the West San Fernando Valley.
The group's objective was to create a warm and inviting community with open
doors and open hearts. Temple Judea's first Shabbat services were held on
November 7, 1952, led by Rabbi Alfred Wolf of Wilshire Boulevard Temple with
eight families in attendance. Today, Temple Judea has nearly 1,000 member families and has garnered a national reputation for award-winning religious schools, modern worship services, community outreach and social justice programs.