Beth Am Chooses Elliot Dorff’s Son-In-Law As New Rabbi

Rabbi Dr. Elliot Dorff is the rector at American Jewish University and a key member of Temple Beth Am (he’s a regular at the Library Minyan downstairs). Scores of Conservative rabbis were inspired to take up their calling by Elliot Dorff.

Rabbi Dorff has a big heart. He even hosted me for lunch one Shabbat in the summer of 2001. It’s one of my happiest memories as a Jew. We sat around and discussed the big issues with two couples — she was a Talmud teacher at HUC and her husband, I think was a Conservative rabbi, and then there was a female Conservative rabbi from Washington D.C. who was an expert in Jewish law with her husband who asked me the awkward question, what do you write about?

Well, young man, I write lashon hara. But all for the sake of Heaven. I deliver divine karma. It’s a weighty responsibility knowing when to wreck someone’s life.

Temple Beth Am is one of LA’s three big Conservative shuls. It is located on the south-west corner of Olympic and La Cienega.

Key members of Beth Am says nepotism was not involved in this new selection.

Temple Beth Am says:

Rabbi Adam Kligfeld

Raised in a traditional Conservative home in Connecticut, Rabbi Adam Kligfeld brings to his work a commitment to Jewish ritual, his love for Israel and his enthusiasm for Jewish education, teaching Torah and creating community.

Since his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Kligfeld has been blessed to work at Congregation Eitz Chaim in Monroe, NY. During his 8 ½ years there, Rabbi Kligfeld has made prayer and the Shabbat experience a focus of his work; he reinvigorated Eitz Chaim’s Kabbalat Shabbat service, turning it into a spirited Carlebach-style approach to davvening, and revamped the Bnei Mitzvah program in order to teach all students the ongoing skills for reading Torah and serving as shaliah tzibbur on Shabbat. Over a four-year span, Rabbi Kligfeld helped Eitz Chaim to envision, plan and ultimately implement their dream of constructing a brand new synagogue building, placed strategically in the center of several residential neighborhoods in Monroe. This has fostered growth, and an even greater sense of a local Shabbat community.

Rabbi Kligfeld is most proud of having organized three congregational trips to Israel and nurturing a strong culture in the shul for Israel advocacy. One highlight of his week is teaching a weekly class on Humash with Rashi’s commentary, a class that is now in its 9th year. Having been inspired by his own experience in USY and his service as USY International President, Rabbi Kligfeld re-established Eitz Chaim USY, making it an integral part of the life of the teenagers in his community.

Beyond his work at Eitz Chaim, Rabbi Kligfeld is active in the Monroe Woodbury Interfaith Clergy Council and the Orange County Rabbis Association. He also serves on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County. In 2006, Rabbi Kligfeld was selected to serve on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement.

Rabbi Kligfeld is a graduate of Columbia College, magna cum laude, with a degree in psychology and Jewish history.

Rabbi Kligfeld enjoys studying Torah and playing ping-pong with the teens in his shul, dancing the hora with the pre-schoolers at their Shabbat program, joining with the Yankee fans during their hakafah on Simhat Torah and, most of all, spending time with his wife Havi (daughter of longtime Beth Am members Rabbi Elliot and Marlynn Dorff) and two daughters, Noa and Ayden.

Click here to download Rabbi Kligfeld’s Resume.

The Jewish Journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Rob Eshman, wrote an OpEd article on Rabbi Adam Kligfeld’s Senior Rabbi Search visit.  Click here to read it.

LUKE SAYS: It seems to me and my readers that there is something seriously wrong with a rabbi who enjoys dancing the hora with pre-schoolers. On the other hand, that he enjoys studying Torah is a plus.

Can you imagine Reb Moshe or the Rav or Saul Berman or the Chatam Sofer saying that they enjoy dancing the hora with pre-schoolers?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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