Rabbi Ron Stern is originally from Morristown, New Jersey. He graduated cum laude from the University of Rochester and was ordained in 1990 at Hebrew Union College in New York. He also attended HUC in Los Angeles. Rabbi Stern joined the clergy staff at Stephen Wise Temple in 1998 after serving as Associate Rabbi at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge.
As the founding rabbi of the Wise Center for Social Justice Engagement, Rabbi Stern continues to expand the impact of the Wise community beyond episodic social action into highly-developed Social Justice initiatives that increase member participation in impactful justice projects. At Wise, examples of our involvement include: mentoring for at-risk college bound high school students with the Fulfillment Fund, pro-bono legal advocacy for constituents of Bet Tzedek, Public Counsel and KIND, Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters, political advocacy in Sacramento and Washington and a range of other projects. Working with Andrea Sonnenberg, Rabbi Stern has continued to build the Wise Partners Freedom School. The only synagogue coordinated and sponsored Freedom School in the nation. In coordination with the Children’s Defense Fund, over 225 children from underserved schools attend a six week reading advocacy summer camp on three campuses: Wise, AJU, Milken Community High School. In addition, over 100 temple members of all ages volunteer each summer to supplement the program. Our Junior Servant Leader Program provides in-depth service learning to Jewish High School students throughout the city as they volunteer at the Freedom School and is recognized as a model program to engage LA’s teens as a recipient of LA Jewish Federation Teen Accelerator funds.
By establishing Wise as a Temple that has at its core the expansive realization of the Jewish vision for Tikkun Olam Rabbi Stern leads the effort at Wise to provide meaningful service to our world and engage our members in the transformative spiritual realization of the Jewish mission to improve our world.
Rabbi Stern is a founding member of Reform CA – a project of rabbis and congregants throughout California to raise our voice for justice in our state through political action. He is also a past co-chair and continuing member of theLA/Voice Clergy Council—a steering committee for our local affiliate of the national PICO network for community organizing and social change. He has been a member of the Religious Action Center’s Commission on Social Justice.
Rabbi Stern and his wife, Becky Sobelman-Stern, have two children, Noah and Eliana. Both children have benefited from the excellent Stephen Wise Temple School system. Noah graduated UC Berkeley and is pursuing a double masters at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Business School. Ellie is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and is receiving a masters of social work from Columbia University. Becky is the Executive Vice President – Chief Program Officer of the Los Angeles Federation.
Contact Rabbi Stern:
310.889.2269 | email RStern@WiseLA.org
Discover Wise’s Tikkun Olam program by visiting our web page.