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Interim Senior Rabbi Riter

Phone: 408-358-1751 x4

Bruchim Haba’im – Welcome to Congregation Shir Hadash. It is my honor to serve as the Interim Rabbi of Shir Hadash until the summer of 2022. The “Intentional Interim Rabbinate” is a fairly new addition to the Jewish world. When Rabbi Melanie Aron announced her retirement after 30 years as the synagogue’s rabbi, the community wisely chose to wait 18 months before bringing in her successor.

In this interim period, I have been asked to help move the community through the natural phases of transitioning spiritual leadership and re-envisioning the synagogue’s purpose and programs. I absolutely love this work. It’s a time to look deeply at who we are as an organization, celebrate what we have done and how we have evolved, and dream and plan for the future. It’s a time to both appreciate our tradition and experiment in directions we have not yet explored.

Given that I’m starting this role while we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have an extra opportunity to get creative with how we connect with and inspire our members, and how we model modern Judaism during times of challenge and change.


Prior to my tenure with Congregation Shir Hadash, I served as the Interim Rabbi at Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson, Mississippi, becoming the only rabbi of a full-time synagogue in the “Magnolia State.” I followed this position by serving as an Interim Rabbi for Sha’ar Zahav, a “historically LGBTQ synagogue” in San Francisco, as they navigated delicate conversations around sexual and gender identity for the congregation.

In addition to these Interim Rabbi positions, I served as the Associate Rabbi of Temple Solel in Encinitas, CA (now Cardiff-by-the-Sea), the Senior Rabbi of Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, CA, and solo Rabbi of the Coastside Jewish Community in Half Moon Bay.

In addition to my work as a rabbi, I actively coach individuals and organizations going through transitions by “(re)Building trust in the Boardroom and in the Bedroom.” I also host an 18-minute podcast, “starTEDover … inspiring stories of falling and standing back up, getting knocked over and rebuilding, healing, growing, persevering.” When not focused on synagogue life or my private coaching practice, I work with John Wineland, leading men’s groups and coed intimacy programs around the world. For more information about me, please visit:


  • Arizona State University, Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, Tempe, AZ, Certificate in Nonprofit Management, 2014
  • ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Ordination as a Mashpi’ah and Certification as a Jewish Spiritual Director, 2012
  • Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio Rabbinical Ordination, 1997; Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature, 1996
  • Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy, 1990

Continuing Education: Positive Intelligence Coach Training, 2020 Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence, Certified Coach, 2018 21/64, Inter-generational Philanthropic Advising, 2017 No More Mr. Nice Guy, Certified Coach, 2017 Central Conference of American Rabbis, Interim Training, 2013 and 2014 STAR Foundation, Good to Great, 2007-2008 Manchim Facilitator Training, The Mussar Institute, 2008 National Conflict Resolution Center, Mediation Skills Training, 2001


I was raised in small Jewish communities in College Station and later El Paso, Texas. In 2020, two weeks before shelter-in-place orders, I married Leslie Bauer and we merged our families. We now live in Redwood City with our children, Elias (16) and Orli (11), and our dog Buster.

Tue, August 3 2021 25 Av 5781