Rabbi George Gittleman joined Shomrei Torah as our first full time rabbi and moved with his family to Santa Rosa in 1996. The Shomrei Torah mishpacha (family) has been blessed and strengthened by Rabbi George’s leadership in teaching, community building and worship.
In his words, “Welcoming all kinds of people into our diverse community is at the core of our mission and my vision for a Liberal Jewish future in Sonoma County.”
George and his wife Laura, a hospital administrator and artist, have teenage twins, Sophia and Levi. Their family dog, Emmy, can sometimes be found lounging in the Rabbi’s Study by day. The Gittleman’s cherish their life in Sonoma County and are prominent leaders of the community.
A native of Kentucky, Rabbi George earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from the University of Vermont in 1984.
In 1991 he embarked on his rabbinical journey after 8 years in computer sales, obtaining a Masters in Hebrew Letters and Ordination from the Reform Seminary, Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in 1996. Rabbi George is also a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the prestigious Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and a graduate of the Rabbinic Leadership Program of The Institute for Jewish Spirituality.
Rabbi George is an avid outdoor enthusiast. He enjoys gardening, hiking with his dog, fly fishing and boogie boarding with the family. On occasion, you’ll find him leading Shabbat Services in the woods, on the beach, or outside on the Shomrei Torah patio: “I’m tempted not to utter a word and let the beauty of the landscape be our prayers today.
Read Rabbi George’s Essay Published in Lights in the Forest: Rabbis Respond to 12 Essential Jewish Questions
Rabbi George Gittleman is a contributor to a new book on Jewish thought and life. In Lights in the Forest: Rabbis Respond to Twelve Essential Jewish Questions, edited by Rabbi Paul Citrin and published by the CCAR Press of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, a cross-section of rabbis respond to questions about God, ethics, humanity, suffering, evil, the soul, after-life, interfaith dialogue, and more.
Lights in the Forest: Rabbis Respond to Twelve Essential Jewish Questions is a newly released book for anyone interested in Judaism’s big questions. With succinct, accessible responses, 12 rabbis — including Shomrei Torah’s senior rabbi — respond to questions in one of three categories: (1) On God, (2) On Our Humanity, (3) On the Jewish People.
R. George on “Religions and the Environment” at the CST Forum on Climate Change and Population Growth
I’d like to address three issues related to our environmental crisis: First is the notion that western religion, sometimes referred to as “the Judeo-Christian Ethic,” is a root cause of the abuse and degradation of our environment. Second, I’ll share a brief overview of Jewish sources of environmental awareness; and third, look at the road blocks to a total mobilization of the Jewish community toward a tikkun, a repair of the environment. Read more…
Rabbi George’s JC Talk on Faith and Fly Fishing, November 5
Rabbi George presented “The Spirit Runs Through It: Faith and Fly Fishing” on Wednesday, November 5, at Newman Auditorium, Emeritus Hall, at Santa Rosa Junior College. His talk, relating to Norman MacLean’s best-selling work A River Runs Through It, is part of the college’s Work of Literary Merit series, which invites a wide range of scholars across multiple disciplines to discuss a particular literary work from a variety of vantage points. The lecture is open to the public and free of charge. Download the text of Rabbi George’s lecture by clicking here: A Spirit Runs Through It