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Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Rabbi Chaya has lived in Oakland for more than 39 years during which time she went from public interest lawyer, to community mediator, to spiritual director, chaplain, and eventually rabbi. Ordained in the Jewish Renewal tradition in 2006, she worked in congregational life and then worked as a hospital chaplain. The glue of all her work has always been the work of accompaniment and finding creative expression as a way to find meaning especially in the more difficult moments of life.

She lives with her partner Judith. Their 38-year-old daughter, Yeshi, lives nearby. She grew up in Champaign Illinois, a university town. Her parents greatly influenced the choices she made in her life: her father was a sociologist and her mother a medical social worker. As a child she spent extended time in India and in Japan and felt deeply influenced by those times.

Through her daughter’s bat mitzvah process at Kehilla Community Synagogue she joined synagogue life, started to learn Torah and started on the path to the rabbinate.

Rabbi Chaya considers herself a play artist, using alcohol inks and doing creative writing. Check out her blog (Chaya’s Garden) and her Art Gallery on her website

Rabbi Chaya really enjoys the sanctuary quiet in their second home in Bodega Bay. She is crazy about ice cream (coffee/Mexican chocolate or anything with chips). She visits Mitchells in the city and Curbside in Oakland. When immersed in studying Torah, she gets lost in the endless possibilities our tradition offers us and is excited to share what she is learning.  She is especially passionate about an inclusive and healing Judaism.

rabbi me'irah

Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky, MSW (that is: i-L-i-i-n-s-k-y...three I’s and one L)
graduated from Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2007. She currently leads services for Rhoda Goldman Plaza, and teaches Parshat-ha-Shavua at the JCCSF. She is a sometimes teacher for Kavod v Nichum, an organization promoting traditional Jewish practice at the end of life. As an artist, she hopes to open sacred texts to more people through her paintings. One of her proudest moments is when her Tree of Life is Weeping painting, commemorating the Pittsburgh massacre Oct. 27 was donated to the Jewish Community of Pittsburgh. Her own path as an adult from being an uneducated Jew to Rabbi included much support along the way. She wants to share that support now with YOU! She has two grown sons, Noah and Alexis. Her cats Leiba and Eden keep her busy.

Explore Rabbi Me'irah's website here:

Rabbi Katie

Rabbi Katie Mizrahi, Or Shalom’s spiritual leader from 2007 - 2022, guided our community in finding the joy at the heart of Judaism. Her wisdom and learning, and her singing and drumming, took us from the High Holy Day peaks to the rhythm of Shabbat and the sweet songs of Havdalah.

Rabbi Katie was ordained through the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2005. Previously, she studied for several years in Jerusalem, while devoting herself to human rights projects and peace education.

Rabbi Katie grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where the Rockies’ Front Range taught her to love mountains and vast untamed natural spaces. She came to the Bay Area as an undergraduate at Stanford, where she majored in philosophy and religious studies, and first felt the call of the rabbinate.

She has served as a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City, a visiting rabbi for Kehilat Kol HaNeshama in Jerusalem, and a sabbatical rabbi for West End Synagogue, also in New York City.

Rabbi Katie feels tremendous gratitude for the gift of being a rabbi—sharing life’s greatest joys and sorrows with congregants—and living and working to nurture justice, holiness and peace in our world and in ourselves. Her spiritual practice includes social justice work, Torah learning, gardening, yoga, music, kindness, and time in the natural world.

Thu, December 8 2022 14 Kislev 5783