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Clergy & Staff

Rabbi Joshua Katzan

Senior Rabbi

Born and raised In Los Angeles, Rabbi Katzan portrays the essence of the local vibe: He is intellectually open-minded, spiritually curious, grounded, warm, and accepting of all people.

As a child, his curiosity about Eastern meditation led him to explore his Jewish spiritual roots. He moved to Israel for several years to study Judaism intensively and became a Jewish educator, teaching high school kids at Milken Community High School. Teaching, love of music, and devotion to Judaism led him to the rabbinate. He has made a career of exploring and sharing the depth and meaning of Jewish tradition and is passionate about making it relevant to people’s lives. As he puts it, the ancient wisdom of our tradition asks us the right questions, and it is an act of spirituality to explore how we respond to those questions today. His interests in psychology and music are front and center, and more than anything, he loves teaching and conversation, especially around an intimate Shabbat table.

At Mishkon, Rabbi Katzan conducts Shabbat services, leads a weekly Torah Study class in various venues, and regularly teaches on topics as diverse as meditation, spirituality, ethics, food/wine, philanthropy, and how to live more deeply. The preschool children love to sing with him, and the religious school kids light up because he makes Torah fun. He often sits on the Bet Din for conversions and welcomes converts, interfaith families, and seekers of all kinds.

He was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2003 and has served congregations in Denver, Colorado, and New York City. Rabbi Katzan is especially honored to be home and serving Mishkon Tephilo, the congregation his own great-grandparents founded.

Please feel free to reach out to Rabbi Katzan on the office phone (310) 392-3029 ext 6 or by email at rabbikatzan@mishkon.org

Rabbi Daniel R. Shevitz

Rabbi Emeritus

After 20 years of service as pulpit rabbi of Mishkon Tephilo, Rabbi Dan Shevitz has transitioned to the position of Rabbi Emeritus.  He is known for many things at Mishkon – preaching, singing, playing accordion, telling stories, reading Torah, and blowing shofar – but most of all for bringing clarity and real-world application to Mitzvot and traditions.

Among his accomplishments, Rabbi Dan is the principal percussionist of the Palisades Symphony Orchestra, a trained sushi chef, a private pilot, a messader gittin (rabbi trained in arranging Jewish divorce), and a Talmud teacher at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of the American Jewish University. Rabbi Dan lives in Venice with Humuhumunukunuku (lovingly known as Humu), his Mollucan cockatoo.  He can be reached at shevitzdan@gmail.com.

April Woods

Director of Education and Programming

April Woods is our new Director of Education and Programming. In this role, April will be in charge of the preschool, including recruitment and development of new school programs. She will also partner with Mishkon committees to create events and community partnerships that boost synagogue programming. Our teachers and our Digital Marketing Specialist, Hannah Matthews, will report to her.

April has many years of experience in Early Childhood Education. In 2009, she was drawn to Los Angeles from Chicago to help open CHALK Preschool, and she later became ECE Director at University Synagogue and at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Most recently, she was Director of Admissions at Sinai Akiba Academy. Following the successful establishment of Mishkon's preschool, April, with her fresh eyes and many talents, will be able to enhance it as it expands.
preschool@mishkon.org

Fleming Brooks

Director of Operations and Membership 

Fleming Brooks is our Operations and Membership Director. He is responsible for membership, the facilities, and all aspects of Mishkon’s operations. Ruben Carillo, our custodian, reports to him.

Fleming also works part-time as the Operations Director and Project Manager for the Illuminate the Past Foundation, a website and app dedicated to lighting a memorial candle for victims of the Holocaust. He has a solid track record in project management at previous positions in software design and film production. In fact, Fleming ran a film production company, where he met his future wife, Samantha. They have a 3½-year-old daughter who attends and loves the preschool at Mishkon.

Fleming is high-energy, great with people, effective, and fun-loving. Please stop by the office to meet him if you haven’t already done so.
office@mishkon.org

Vivienne

Accounting Department

Vivienne is our behind-the-scenes money manager, keeping track of all the funds flowing in and out of Mishkon, helping us stay in the black at all times.  She also handles payroll and taxes (even nonprofits have to deal with taxes), making sure our employees are paid regularly and correctly.  When we apply for grants and Payroll Protection Plan forgivable loans, she provides all the numbers, which make us look capable and deserving. We wouldn’t even think about doing anything financial without consulting her! She can be reached Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at (310) 392-3029, ext 7, or by email at finance@mishkon.org.

Ruben Carrillo

Custodian

As our custodian, Ruben keeps the place humming. He maintains the cleanli­ness of the premises. He sets up tables and chairs for classrooms and events. He mops up messes. He waters the plants. He oils squeaky hinges. And he gets the trash and the recycling where they need to go. Ruben also keeps a watchful eye on the premises, promptly reporting safety hazards and other facilities issues that our executive director might not otherwise know about. Occasionally, he undertakes special maintenance and repair projects. One of Ruben’s most important jobs, however, is greeting the children outdoors when they come to preschool.  They love him, and he loves them, and it’s obvious to everyone!

Gabe Godoi 

Administrative Specialist

Gabe Godoi is our Administrative Specialist. His role at Mishkon Tephilo is to implement and oversee organizational systems and support programming, education, and operations.Gabe comes to us from a background in project management and film production, having produced several documentaries, including the Academy Award-winning short film THE QUEEN OF BASKETBALL (2022) and THE LAST REPAIR SHOP (2024).
Fri, April 12 2024 4 Nisan 5784