Rabbi Barry Diamond, RJE
Rabbi Diamond’s path to become a rabbi is a success story of our educational and camping systems. Born and raised in Southern California, Rabbi Diamond was inspired while in religious school, to attend the congregation’s youth group and Jewish summer camp (Camp Swig, now Camp Newman) where he was trained to be a congregational song leader. He studied psychology in college, but ultimately decided to enter the rabbinate after spending an academic year in Jerusalem as an undergraduate.
While receiving his rabbinic ordination, he spent an additional year studying at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at the Hebrew Union College. As a result, Rabbi Diamond served as a Rabbi/Educator, first in Detroit and for fourteen years at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas. During this time, he served on the board and ultimately became national president of the National Association of Temple Educators (now the Association of Reform Jewish Educators) where he became fascinated with the theory and practice of good governance. Inspired by improving the organization that improves our world, Rabbi Diamond left the full-time rabbinate to serve as a governance consultant for secular and religious non-profit organizations. Throughout that time, he continued to serve, part-time, as a pulpit rabbi.
After six years as a governance consultant, he combined his two areas of professional expertise by serving as an interim rabbi for several congregations across the country, including Temple Adat Elohim. After several years, Rabbi Diamond was honored to have been approached by Temple Adat Elohim to return as their permanent rabbi.
Rabbi Diamond has a particular interest working with the interfaith community. He believes that our congregational community should be embracing all its members regardless of their religious background or their current level of faith. The non-Jewish spouse of a Jewish partner is welcomed as a full partner in our community. In addition, Rabbi Diamond is involved in the Conejo Valley Interfaith Association which focuses on bringing together people of all faiths to learn about and from one another and joining together in improving our world.
Rabbi Diamond also has a growing interest in meditation and its role within the life of Reform Jews. He has he introduced a weekly Shabbat meditation minyan that meets each Saturday morning.
Most importantly, he finds great joy in getting to know congregants, understanding their hopes, aspirations and challenges, so we can create a community that elevates our lives and deepens our relationships.
Cantor David Shukiar
“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.”
Read More about Cantor Shukiar and his Music
Rabbi Michael Lotker
Scholar-in-Residence, Rabbi Michael Lotker
Rabbi Lotker is a passionate and gifted teacher and serves as Temple Adat Elohim’s Scholar-in-Residence. Keep an eye out for the many opportunities to learn from and with Rabbi Lotker.
The rabbinate is his second career having been ordained at age 55 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2003. He is originally a physicist who spent his first career in Alternative Energy focusing on wind, solar and geothermal energy.
He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics from Queens College in New York City and from the University of Illinois. Prior to his ordination from HUC-JIR (the Reform movement’s rabbinic seminary) in 2003, he received his Master of Hebrew Letters degree from this same institution. As an entrepreneur, he started a number of alternative energy firms including a wind power development company that installed and operated wind farms in Hawaii and California. He is widely published in the alternative energy field.
Rabbi Emeritus Alan Greenbaum
“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.