RABBI ED FEINSTEIN
Senior Rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, California
“Being Jewish Today”
Rabbi Ed Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California. He serves on the faculty of the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University, the Wexner Heritage Program, the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and lectures widely across the United States.
He is the author of several books, including Tough Questions Jews Ask – A Young Adult’s Guide to Building a Jewish Life, (Jewish Lights, 2003), which was chosen for the American Library Association’s Top Ten Books on Religion for Young Readers and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award; Jews and Judaism in the Twenty-First Century: Human Responsibility, the Presence of God and the Future of the Covenant (Jewish Lights, 2007), which was also a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award; and Capturing the Moon (Behrman House, 2008), which retells the best of classic and modern Jewish folktales. Most recently, Chutzpah Imperative! – Empowering Today’s Jews for a Life that Matters (Jewish Lights, 2014), offers a new way to “do Judaism,” Rabbi Ed urges us to recover this message of Jewish self-empowerment, or chutzpah, to reshape the world.
Rabbi Feinstein was raised in the back of his parents’ bakery on the frontiers of the West San Fernando Valley. He graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Judaism, Columbia University Teachers College, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained a rabbi in 1981. He is currently completing his doctoral degree at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Davidson School of Jewish Education.
In 1982, Rabbi Feinstein became the founding director of the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas, Texas, building the school’s enrollment from 40 to over 500 in eight years, and winning national recognition as center of educational excellence. In 1990, he assumed the position of executive director of Camp Ramah in California, the largest Jewish camp and conference center in the western United States. He came to Valley Beth Shalom in 1993 at the invitation of the renowned Rabbi Harold Schulweis, and succeeded Rabbi Schulweis as the congregation’s senior rabbi in 2005.
Most recently, he received his Doctorate in Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York for his dissertation, Rabbi Harold Schulweis and the Reinvention of the American Rabbinate.
Rabbi Feinstein is a member of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, a member of the school board of the Milken Community High School and an active member of AIPAC. A survivor of two bouts of colon cancer, he speaks frequently to cancer support groups all over Southern California.
Rabbi Feinstein lives in the epicenter of the San Fernando Valley with his wife Rabbi Nina Bieber Feinstein. Nina was the second woman ordained by the Conservative Movement. The Feinstein’s are blessed with three grown children.
An engaging lecturer and storyteller, Rabbi Feinstein unites the ancient Jewish love of ideas with the warmth of Jewish humor.
Our Taus Lecture Series is perhaps one of a kind in Southern California. The brainchild of Esther Taus, Ph.D., z’l, the Series brings noted scholars and academics to Temple Beth El for an afternoon or evening of thought-provoking learning and dialogue.
Each session offers a thorough exploration of a subject of Jewish interest presented by a distinguished Rabbi, educator, speaker, or faculty member from a Southern California college or university.