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Rabbi PJ Schwartz

Phone: 408-358-1751 x3


Temple Role/Responsibilties

As a member of the clergy team at Shir Hadash, I invest heavily in creating relationships with members of the congregation, including adults and children. I am a team player and contribute to our community through my leadership of our formal and informal youth education programs. I also partner with Rabbi Aron and Cantor Felder- Levy in leading worship services, officiating life-cycle events, visiting members for pastoral care, and providing staff leadership for select committees. I officiate at interfaith weddings under certain criteria; click here for details.

Community Involvement

I am a frequent contributor to the Union of Reform Judaism's weekly e-newsletter, Ten Minutes of Torah, and serve as the rabbinic consultant for Jewish Learning Matters, an online Jewish education resource platform. I am also an active member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the Association for Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE), and the Cantors and Rabbis Association of Greater San Jose.

Background and Biography

Rabbi Schwartz was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, OH in June 2013 and was the recipient of the Ferdinand M. Isserman Prize awarded to the senior rabbinical student who best contributes to the development of community relations. While at HUC-JIR, he served student congregations in Marion, Indiana, Ishpeming, Michigan, and Marion, Ohio. Rabbi Schwartz also served in numerous capacities at Isaac M. Wise Temple where he taught Religious School and Hebrew School, led regular Saturday morning services and Torah study, and adult education. PJ also pursued Clinical Pastoral Education and trained as a chaplain for Christ Hospital in the summer of 2010 and a Rabbinic chaplain for Jewish Family Service in Cincinnati, OH. He wrote his rabbinic thesis on the traditional and contemporary understandings of kavannah (intentionality, thoughtfulness, and devotion) in Jewish worship. He was awarded the title of “Reform Jewish Educator” by the Association of Reform Jewish Educators in 2013. Rabbi Schwartz received a Master's in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Jewish Education at Xavier University in 2011, and recently received a Certificate in Jewish Education with a Specialization in Adolescents and Emerging Adults through HUC-JIR in 2016. 

PJ grew up in Greenville, SC and is a 2007 graduate of the College of Charleston, where he majored in Religious Studies. In college, he served as a board member of the Jewish Student Union/Hillel as well as was on the executive committee of the local chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. He also was a teacher, assistant youth group advisor, and Religious Studies intern at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. Following his college graduation, he began his rabbinical studies at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem, Israel, before returning to the Cincinnati campus to finish his studies. Rabbi Schwartz is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, a special education teacher, and is dog-father to a 6-year- old cocker spaniel, Penny.



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