Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon joined Congregation Beth Jacob in 2015, initially as School Director and now also as Associate Rabbi. Rabbi Ilana connects to people of all ages with joy, honesty, and empathic listening. Leading by example, she has ensured that Religious School hours are filled with love and with happy children, who feel at home in the synagogue and who know that the adults care for them as individuals. She is a supportive presence for adults and children alike, both during formal lifecycle events and for the more private ups and downs of life.
Rabbi Ilana engages deeply with Jewish tradition, using creativity sharpened by knowledge, to draw the past into our lives today. She enjoys teaching a “Mondays with Meaning” class at 10:30am every Monday, currently focusing on Pirkei Avot (The Ethics of the Fathers). She also teaches a Hebrew-text class on Wednesday mornings. The Wednesday schedule shifts, so if you are interested check in with her directly. She teaches in other forums throughout the year, both within CBJ and beyond, and often offers a sermon on Shabbat mornings. She is deeply involved in the synagogue’s Social Action work and Israel engagement.
Rabbi Ilana received rabbinic ordination from the Academy of Jewish Religion, CA, a post-denominational school with a spiritual bent. She also studied in the Kollel of the Conservative Yeshiva. The rabbinate is a second career for her; she received her PhD in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University.
Rabbi Ilana and her husband, David, moved to the Bay Area in 2002, and their home has been a center for Jewish community ever since. They are blessed with three children.