Who is the Coffee Shop Rabbi?


ruthadarI’m Rabbi Ruth Adar, the Coffee Shop Rabbi.

When I was in rabbinical school, I had an idea.  I wanted to find a place where people could talk and study Jewish topics without a lot of expensive overhead.  The result was Coffee Shop Rabbi.  Today I teach primarily through Lehrhaus Judaica in Berkeley, CA, and my classes can come to your home or your synagogue by way of the Internet.

Movies are a great way to learn about Jewish life and to explore Jewish ideas, as long as you can tell what’s real from what’s Hollywood. My website A Rabbi At the Movies makes films accessible to people who want to use them to learn more about Judaism. It’s not a movie review site, but rabbinical commentary about the Jewish topics within each film.

Judaism is not simply a religion:  it is a culture, indeed, a civilization, and there are many ways to approach it.  Whether you are born Jewish, feel Jew-ish, love someone Jewish, have a Jewish ancestor, or are just curious about Judaism, this site is for you.

I’m a Reform rabbi, a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, a graduate of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion,  the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  I’ve been an active participant in the East Bay Jewish scene since 1993.  Before I went to rabbinical school, I was on the National Outreach Staff for the Union of Reform Judaism, a position that attuned me to interfaith issues.  I’m well acquainted with both the Catholic and Protestant Christian traditions; my studies at the University of Chicago were in History of Christianity.

At this time I do not officiate at lifecycle events such as weddings or funerals, nor do I sponsor candidates for conversion.

— Rabbi Adar