Temple Emanu-El’s new assistant rabbi, Jason Holtz, will take up his duties June 21.
Holtz received his rabbinic ordination earlier this month from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 2006, he has served as a student rabbi at Congregation B’nai Abraham in Portsmouth, Ohio; Temple B’nai Sholom in Quincy, Ill.; and Temple Sholom in Galesburg, Ill.
Originally from Daytona Beach, Fla., Holtz graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in philosophy and international relations. He attended Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, Israel and Cincinnati, and also studied at Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
Holtz, who wrote his thesis on “Renewing Synagogue Life,” says his responsibilities at Temple Emanu-El will include youth and adult education, worship, and pastoral care, as well as “working to help create a place at Temple Emanu-El for young adults in their 20s and 30s.”
“In many places,” he says, “the Jewish community has struggled to find a place for post-college/pre-family and parenthood Jewish adults. At Temple Emanu-El, we want to create a space for these individuals, recognizing their important place in the community. I am looking forward to working with others, both professional and lay, to help make this a reality.”
In his personal rabbinic vision statement, Holtz says he has come to believe that “a person’s and community’s spiritual life is central” and that part of his role as a rabbi is to accompany others on their spiritual paths. He adds, “While I do not believe that I know any secrets about the nature of God or that I possess a theologically correct catechism, I believe strongly in an unseen, unquantifiable, spiritual side of life. Jewish temples have the potential to provide a home for those who want to explore that part of life in an inviting and welcoming way.”
Holtz is joined in Tucson by his wife, Jodi, who is from Cincinnati and is an elementary school teacher.
Temple Emanu-El will welcome Holtz at its 10th Annual Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Havdallah Hike and Service on Saturday, June 26 at 5 p.m. The event will include dinner at the Ironwood Café and a musical Havdallah service led by Holtz and Senior Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon.
To receive a discounted admission of $6 for adults and $2.25 for children aged 12 and under, participants must register in advance with Temple Emanu-El at 327-4501. Admission is free for Desert Museum members.