She's been the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El since July 1993. And Rabbi Cheryl Rosenstein certainly loves her job and serving the Jewish community.
"I get to be present with them to celebrate the joys in life and to comfort them in times of sorrow. I love praying with my community and teaching them Torah," Rosenstein said. "I love to encourage them to own their Jewish identities and to be literate in our tradition."
Rosenstein decided to become a rabbi halfway through college. She was trying to decide on a college major when one day, while working at a Jewish summer camp, someone suggested the idea. She began interviewing rabbis to learn more about the process.
"I usually say that someone hit me on the head with a two-by-four," joked Rosenstein, explaining why she began the process. "It wasn't until I sat down and wrote the essay for admission to the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion that I came to realize my whole life's trajectory had been aimed in that direction."
My first car was a 1972 Chevy Nova hatchback with “cast iron” bumpers.
2 I got my first traffic citation while speeding to my local Jewish community center to help set tables for a Passover Seder.
3 I had piano lessons as a child. Like most kids, I quit before I was any good.
4 I worked at Disneyland while I was in high school.
5 Despite growing up in Long Beach, I have only visited the Queen Mary twice and never saw the Spruce Goose.
6 I began voice lessons at age 13.
7 I was the cantorial soloist for the overflow High Holy Day services at my home synagogue during my senior year of high school.
8 I majored in sociology at UC Santa Barbara — Go Gauchos!
9 I didn’t learn to ride a bike until my freshman year of college. It was sort of a necessity at UCSB.
10 I keep kosher (follow the Jewish dietary laws) at home. Outside, I opt for vegetarian fare, salmon or certain kinds of sushi (no shellfish, eel or squid).
11 I really miss Elaine’s (the downtown vegan restaurant that closed).
12 I met my husband dancing Israeli folk dances at UCLA.
13 I have lived in California, Jerusalem, Ohio and Minnesota.
14 My first student pulpit was at China Lake Naval Weapons Center Hebrew Congregation — Temple Beth Torah. I drove there from Los Angeles every other weekend for most of the year.
15 I have my own personal chef. My husband is a great cook!
16 My culinary vices are sweet potato fries, ice cream and dark chocolate. Not that chocolate is really a vice.
17 I am a yoga junkie.
18 I am also a frozen yogurt junkie.
19 I enjoy hanging out with my two teenage daughters.
20 I love the beach. My favorite day trip destinations are Cambria and Ventura.
21 I call my mother, who lives in town, almost every night.
22 Biggest job perk: I get to be faculty at the Jewish summer camp in Santa Rosa every summer!
23 Second-biggest job perk: Holding newborn babies, sometimes even before grandma and grandpa arrive at the hospital.
24 I come from a family of voracious readers. Two of my favorite books are “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini and “The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse” by Louise Erdrich.
25 For my 18th anniversary at Temple Beth El, the board of trustees gifted me with an iPad. We call it my “ChaiPad.” Chai — pronounced with guttural “ch” — is the Hebrew word for life.