“I am here because I believe that Judaism has something to say to us about our lives today and by living a Jewish life my life is richer and more meaningful.”
– Rabbi Andrew Straus
Prior to arriving at Temple Adat Elohim, Rabbi Straus had been the interim Rabbi at Central Synagogue of New York City. Central is one of the preeminent congregations in the Reform movement today. At Central, Rabbi Straus served in a dual capacity as part of the pulpit team and as the director of education. He worked with the staff during a period of significant transition at Central.
Prior to joining Central Synagogue, Rabbi Straus was the senior rabbi at Temple Sinai in Oakland, California, a congregation of about one thousand households. Prior to this position, he served for thirteen years as the spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel of Tempe, Arizona, where, under his leadership, the congregation grew substantially, in terms of both membership and depth and quality of programs. He also served as associate rabbi and director of education at Peninsula Temple Sholom of Burlingame, California, and as assistant/associate rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in New York. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, and is a graduate of Brandeis University. In 2012, he was awarded a doctor of divinity honoris causa from HUC.
I Am Here Because…
I love teaching Torah to learners of all ages. I am here because I love sharing my love of Judaism with others and watching their hearts and eyes sparkle with the light of Torah. I am here because I am privileged and honored to walk the journey of life with families and individuals as they celebrate the highs of life and mark the lows. I am here because I believe that Judaism has something to say to us about our lives today; and by living a Jewish life, my life is richer and more meaningful. I am here because Temple Adat Elohim is a warm welcoming community, committed to embracing Jewish families (married, single, interfaith, lgbtq, with or without children). I hope that you will join me in building a community of meaning, a community that will care for each other and will work to repair our world.
My Favorite Things
I enjoy spending time with my family (my wife Karen and I have been married for over 25 years, and we have three children). Together we enjoy going for hikes in the beautiful Conejo valley, and enjoying the beaches of our nearby communities. We enjoy theater and music. I also enjoy riding my bike (mainly street) and hitting an occasional tennis ball. I also enjoy reading.
“I wish to continue to build our communal voice, where our music truly reflects the depth of the spirit found within our walls.”
– Cantor David Shukiar
David Shukiar is thrilled to serve as the cantor at TAE. He brings his love for music, Judaism, and children to bear on his Cantorial responsibilities. He is a magna cum laude graduate of UCLA, where he developed both his vocal and musical composition skills. The Guild of Temple Musicians has twice selected him as the best young composer–only three other composers have been so honored during the three decades the international award has been granted. His music is published by Transcontinental Music Publications, the largest publisher of Jewish music, and can be heard in concert halls and synagogues around the country. He has often visited communities as a Composer-in-Residence and has enjoyed compositional commissions from synagogues all over the world. He also writes for the stage. One of his many musicals is Benjamin and Judah, a modern play based on the Chanukah story. Benjamin and Judah has enjoyed productions in New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
At TAE, Cantor Shukiar is proud to interact with congregants of every age. He serves the needs of our community through bikur cholim, counseling and being there for the highs and lows of the cycle of life. Cantor Shukiar’s involvement in the Early Childhood Center (ECC) helps to connect the children to TAE and give them a pride in their newly forming Jewish identities. He also teaches in our religious school and oversees the B’nai Mitzvah Program, working with each candidate to not only master the Torah, Haftarah, and liturgy, but to also to gain a deeper personal understanding of our traditions and writings. Cantor Shukiar also supports the activities of our Youth Groups, especially those activities dealing with Tikkun Olam, the healing of our world. He loves to see our newest young adults organize and carry out Tikkun Olam projects, working to build a stronger world for future generations, and thereby reinforcing our teens’ Jewish identities. Cantor Shukiar oversees and facilitates all aspects of TAE’s music program. He works directly with the Junior Choir, giving our children an outlet to explore Jewish music on a personal level. The choir is not only a fixture at our monthly Family Shabbat Celebrations, but they also enhance the celebrations of Chanukah and Pesach at local retirement communities. He also works directly with TAE’s Adult Choir and the Band of Milk and Honey to help enhance our spiritual experiences through music.
Why I’m Here…
“I love serving a community filled with love and warmth, where my family is welcomed with open arms. I enjoy being a part of a place where my kids and the young people in the congregation can develop and foster growth in their new and forming Jewish identities and where they are encouraged to challenge and ask questions. I embrace my role in helping our community to not only pray with their mouths, but with every part of their bodies. I wish to continue to build our communal voice, where our music truly reflects the depth of the spirit found within our walls.”
Other Things I Love
“When I’m not working, I love to spend time with my wife, Leasa, and my two beautiful daughters, Carly and Hayley. I also enjoy being on the golf course. I am terrible at it, but I love the idea that for those 5 hours I get lost in the environment and in the sport. I also compose a lot of music. Many times, you will find me in my studio creating new pieces that have been commissioned by cantors and synagogues from all over the world.”
“Judaism has always been the framework of my life. It has provided me with values, direction, a way of understanding our world and myself. To be a teacher of Jewish tradition, therefore, has been a privilege and honor for me. I would even say that it has been a redemptive blessing for me.”
– Rabbi Alan Greenbaum
Rabbi Emeritus Alan H. Greenbaum served TAE as Senior Rabbi from 1984 to 2006. Prior to that, he served as spiritual leader at Temple Israel in Memphis for four years and Temple B’nai Israel in Galveston for three years. As a rabbinic student, he served congregations in San Luis Obispo, CA; New Iberia, LA; and, Columbus, IN. During his tenure in Thousand Oaks, Rabbi Greenbaum was instrumental in starting the Conejo Valley Winter Shelter Program and was devoted to interfaith relations in this community, which included serving as president of the Conejo Valley Ecumenical Council. He and his wife, Dori, currently reside in Grass Valley, California.
Since I Left TAE, I Have Been…
Leaving the full-time rabbinate has given me time and opportunities that I’ve never had as an adult. I’ve pursued new and old interests including outdoor adventures such as hiking, snow shoeing, kayaking and golf. In addition I’ve continued enjoying my passion for music via my guitar strumming. I’ve honed my woodworking skills crafting everything from furniture to decorative boxes. It’s important to know that I’ve also continued my professional love of the rabbinate on a part-time basis. I’ve been serving small Jewish communities throughout the Sierra Nevada region where we live, discovering isolated Jewish communities with their own unique histories and people. To contact Rabbi Greenbaum please email him.