Rabbi Melanie AronPhone: 408-358-1751 x4
To me a congregation is not only a religious institution but also a community and extended family. Getting together for worship is part of what we do, but equally important is the time we spend together caring for one another, contributing to the greater community in which we live, and growing as Jews and as individuals through study and life experience. It is important to me that Shir Hadash be a welcoming place and a community in which Judaism can be experienced and expressed in many different ways.
Education and Training
Trained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati as well as the New York campus.
Ordained in 1981.
Prior to ordination spent a year as a rabbinic intern in San Antonio Texas.
After ordination, served as the Assistant Rabbi/Educator in Morristown, New Jersey.
Immediately before coming to Congregation Shir Hadash, I served a small congregation in Brooklyn New York as a solo rabbi for five years.
Became Rabbi of Shir Hadash in July of 1990. We were a smaller congregation then with a much smaller staff. Over the years we have been able to add staff, programs, and develop our facilities. I am responsible for:
- General oversight, partnership with our lay leadership and staff development;
- Work with our Adult Education, Ritual and Social Action committees;
- Pastoral care for our members with involvement of our other clergy and Caring Committee;
- Teaching the 10th grade Confirmation class as well as classes for adults and working with B’nai Mitzvah students and families.
Official Community Activities
Serve on the boards of The American Leadership Forum–Silicon Valley, the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, and on the Project Advisory Board of the Elder Abuse Initiative of Santa Clara County.
Have served on the national board of the Union for Reform Judaism as representative of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and as chair of the Committee on Adult Jewish Learning
Recently stepped down as Chair of the Pacific Central West region of the World Union for Progressive Judaism / Association of Reform Zionists of America.
Past chair of the Interfaith Council on Religion, Race, Economic, and Social Justice and of the Council of Agency Executives and Rabbis
Served on the Ethics Committee of Kaiser Hospital-Santa Clara.
I am involved in various interfaith activities including People Acting in Community Together, Silicon Valley Faces and in interfaith dialogues with the Muslim community.
Raised in New York and Cincinnati, my family was involved in the Conservative movement and I attended Jewish day school through 8th grade. Being part of a participatory Havurah style congregation when I was in high school, encouraged my interest in Judaism. Meeting faculty members from the Reform movement’s seminary in Cincinnati influenced me towards Reform Judaism which I have found a better philosophical fit.
I am part of the sandwich generation. I make periodic visits to my aging parents in Florida and try to support them long distance through frequent phone calls. I also have responsibilities to my children. My youngest is in high school and we have two older children in school in Boston. My husband is a professor of physics at UCSC and we enjoy hiking and folk dancing in our spare time.