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small rabbiRabbi Arnie Rachlis

Rabbi Arnold Rachlis is a dynamic teacher and leader who has a deep commitment to his congregants and to the special role he plays in their lives.   He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University’s Graduate Department of Religion and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.  He has taught at the college level and his scholarly and popular articles can be found in a variety of publications.

Rabbi Rachlis has served in Washington, D.C. as a White House Fellow and as a Senior Foreign Affairs Advisor in the State Department. In addition, the White House appointed the Rabbi to be a Regional Panelist for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships in both Democratic and Republican Administrations.

Rabbi Rachlis has served as Chair of Mazon: A Jewish Response To Hunger, and as President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. He has served as a board member of the National B’nai Brith Hillel Commission and the New Israel Fund and as President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis.

For many years, the Rabbi hosted a program on cable television and on ABC-TV.  He has appeared as a guest on National Public Radio and on national television shows, and has been interviewed frequently by such publications as the New York Times, Newsweek, and Time.  He was also featured in the award winning documentary film, The Legacy, and he has served as a consultant on Judaica for Compton’s Encyclopedia.

In 1991 Rabbi Rachlis began our “Intro Nights,“ held in congregation members’ homes and at the synagogue, which continue to this day.  At Intro Nights the Rabbi meets with potential members to talk about the synagogue and its philosophy, after first listening to their stories about their own personal Jewish journeys.

The Rabbi’s “Lunch & Learn” series and adult education classes are always popular and in high demand.  He is known as a Rabbi who is a thoughtful listener and open for debate and questioning.  It is central to the Rabbi’s philosophy that Judaism be taught as topical and relevant to modern life.  Most of all, the Rabbi is a warm and caring human being whose creativity and intellect bring Judaism to life at University Synagogue.

Cantor Ruti Braier

Cantor Ruti Braier has served as our Cantor and musical inspiration for University Synagogue since 1995.  Cantor Braier was born in Argentina, lived in Israel and moved to Southern California in 1982. She studied Judaica at Midrasha L’morim, affiliated with Tel Aviv University, holds degrees in music from the “Conservatorio de Musica” and in music therapy from the University of El Salvador, both in Buenos Aires, and studied with a number of well known cantors in Los Angeles.

The Cantor has toured as the lead singer of two musical rock groups in Argentina – “Shachar” and “Manginot Bashira” – and was a finalist on television’s “International Star Search”.

For almost two decades, she served at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles as School Music Director and leader of Family Services, and for several years was Cantor for High Holiday services at Congregation Beth Or in Los Angeles.

The Cantor’s creativity and amazing musical talent have resulted in the establishment of numerous children and teen choirs, including the University Synagogue Children’s Choir and the Young Cantors’ Ensemble.

Since the Cantor has come to University Synagogue, we have established an incredibly rich and inspiring musical tradition.  University Synagogue is enriched by our Cantor’s ability to integrate multiple musical styles from classical Hebrew liturgy to modern Israeli music to American pop, folk and jazz. Cantor Braier’s beautiful singing, which can be heard on her CD “Shabbat Alive”, adds a wonderfully spiritual dimension to our services, one that is truly unique.

To sample the music from Cantor Braier’s CD “Shabbat Alive” CD – click here.

2016-2017 Board of Directors


President – Michael Stone
Executive Vice President – Susie Rothfeder
Secretary – Nadine Hoffman
Treasurer – David Wyle

Vice Presidents:

Past President – Sari Schreiber
Communications – Cindy Reynolds
Education – Barbara Ganser
Tikkun Olam – Jerri Klein Kaplan

Members at Large:

Altman, Cheryl
Beral, Hinda
Carmack, Joan
Clark, Sherry
Conner, Dina
Goldberg, Fritzi
Greenberg, Jared
Izenberg, Oren
Katz, Kathe
Klarin, Michael
Lewis, Irene
Marsh, Sheila
Roth, Gary
Schnell, Phillip
Yonis, Robin