A young and energetic East Coast rabbi is helping lead the growing membership of in Los Gatos.
Rabbi Josh Lobel, who's said to be in his late '20s, has been named the synagogue's new associate rabbi. He began his official duties in July.
Lobel, a native New Yorker, is working with longtime Rabbi Melanie Aron to continue the growing fellowship of more than 600 families who meet regularly at the Jewish Temple located at 20 Cherry Blossom Ln.
Prior to his March appointment by the congregation to the post, Lobel served as an associate rabbi Plainview, N.Y.
Shir Hadash's congregation chose Lobel for the position after a national search, said Aron. He began his official duties July 1.
In addition to preaching and pastoral work, Lobel is working with youth groups and young adults in their 20s and 30s, Aron said.
He moved to the South Bay with his young family to assume the position, she added.
"People have been very impressed with how warm and friendly he is," Aron said. "He's very intelligent and hard working."
Congregation Shir Hadash is made up of about 600 families. Of those, more than 100 are youth under the age of 18.
The synagogue offers worship services Friday evening and Saturday mornings. A so-called Tot Shabbatt service, catering to families with preschool-age children, is held on the second Saturday of every month.
Lobel replaced Rabbi Joel Fleekop, who's now a rabbi in Pensacola, FL.
His prior ministry work as assistant rabbi at Temple Chaverim, a Reform congregation in Plainview, NY, included the formation of youth groups and social media and video development for the synagogue.
Lobel was ordained a rabbi at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2007.
He has also served as chairman of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Interfaith Clergy Council.
"I am passionate about teaching Torah, rabbinic texts, and Jewish thought to Jews of all ages. I have a wide variety of Jewish interests, including, but not limited to, Midrash, liturgy, Mussar, Reform Jewish history and thought, and Jewish mysticism," he wrote in his profile posted on Congregation Shir Hadash's website.
"I am also involved in the international Jewish community, serving on various committees of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, particularly those serving Latin and South American Jewish communities."
Lobel is married to his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth, who is a child psychiatrist. They have one son, Aryeh, who is in preschool at Shir Hadash in Los Gatos.
"We are very excited to be a part of the Shir Hadash community," he wrote in his profile.