Rabbi Laura Geller is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, California. She was the first woman to be selected to lead a major metropolitan synagogue. Prior to being chosen for this position in 1994, she served as the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress, Pacific Southwest Region. Among her accomplishments at AJCongress was the creation of the AJCongress Feminist Center, which became a model for other Jewish feminist projects around the county. She came to AJCongress in 1990 after fourteen years as the Director of Hillel at the University of Southern California.
Rabbi Geller has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including being named one of Newsweek’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America for two years in a row and receiving the California State Legislature’s Woman of the Year Award. She was featured in the PBS Documentary called “Jewish Americans.” Author of many articles in journals and books, she is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and served on the Editorial Board of “The Torah: A Woman's Commentary,” in which she has two essays. Rabbi Geller is a Fellow of the Corporation of Brown University from where she graduated in 1971. She was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in 1976, the third woman in the Reform Movement to become a rabbi. She is married to Richard A. Siegel, and she is the mother of Joshua and Elana Goldstein and the step-mother of Andy and Ruth Siegel.
RABBI JONATHAN AARON, Senior Rabbi and Director of Education
Rabbi Jonathan Aaron is the Senior Rabbi and Director of Education at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from Emerson College in 1983. A gifted performer and musician, he spent several years running a theater company in Connecticut and teaching high school theater. Rabbi Aaron then shifted his focus to the study of Judaism and attended Hebrew Union College, where he received a Masters Degree in Jewish Education in 1993, a Masters Degree in Hebrew Letters in 1994, and where he was ordained as a Rabbi in 1996.
Since 1996, Rabbi Aaron has served Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, first as the Associate Rabbi and now as Co-Senior Rabbi and Director of Education. Temple Emanuel is Rabbi Aaron's first pulpit. In 2002, he became the Head of School for Temple Emanuel Academy Day School, our well-respected Jewish Day School. Rabbi Aaron is especially known for his storytelling and for bringing joy to children of all ages. He has written liturgical music for Temple Emanuel, and also penned the full-length musical "Hyrcanus" performed at Temple Emanuel in 2001 and 2010. Along with Cantor Yonah Kliger, he helped create one of the core Shabbat experiences at Temple Emanuel, Shabbat Unplugged.
Cantor Yonah Kliger grew up at Temple Emanuel and is a proud graduate of our Day School. He is dedicated to revitalizing worship and creating a bridge between the ancient sounds of Jewish tradition and contemporary music. With a strong background in theater, Cantor Kliger infuses his passion for music and performing with his love of prayer, bringing energy and enthusiasm to the synagogue experience. With Rabbi Aaron, he helped create one of the core Shabbat experiences at Temple Emanuel, Shabbat Unplugged. His passions extend far beyond the bimah, with a focus on engaging our Jewish youth as well as illuminating Judasim through the arts. Cantor Kliger's dedication to the B'nai Mitzvah program has helped to make it a model emulated by temples throughout the Los Angeles Area.
A gifted teacher, he has captured the enthusiasm of our teens by establishing the Junior Cantors Program in which post-B'nai Mitzvah students congregate every Saturday to study Jewish text and music, culminating in their leading Shabbat Services throughout the year. Cantor Kliger also serves as Director of Temple Emanuel's Emanuel Arts Center. Through his leadership, EAC has introduced original plays, musicals, concerts, film screenings, and Shabbat experiences to the Temple Emanuel congregation. He is also very passionate about his work as Executive Producer of a concert in support of Israeli Victims of Terror.
Cantor Kliger received his commission as Hazzan-Minister from the Cantors Assembly and proudly serves on the Executive Board of their Western region.
RABBI MEYER HELLER, Rabbi Emeritus
Rabbi Meyer Heller has served the Temple for over 35 years. Today he lives with his family in Oregon.