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Rabbi Richard Camras

RabbiCamrasRabbi Richard Camras assumed the role of rabbi at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in April of 1999.  Rabbi Camras' passion and focus has been in the area of Jewish education through Torah study.  By learning and living the traditions of our heritage, as highlighted in The Six Pillars of Shomrei Torah Synagogue, our members enrich their lives with greater meaning and engage each other and the larger community with acts of loving kindness.  As founder of the Conejo/West Valley branch of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, Rabbi Camras continues to bring new and innovative programming to Shomrei Torah Synagogue and the West Valley.

Equally involved in building our Jewish community, Rabbi Camras serves as President of the Pacific Southwest Regional Rabbinical Assembly.  He served for three years as the Chair of the West Valley Rabbinic Task Force at the Valley Alliance Federation and is a lecturer of Practical Rabbinics at the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies as well as oversees the West Valley/Conejo Valley Introduction to Judaism class sponsored by the American Jewish University.

He previously served as Associate Rabbi of Chizuk Amuno Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland for seven years and was ordained from The Jewish Theological Seminary in 1992.  He and his wife Carolyn have two children, Talya and Noah.

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Video Sermons Click to see the library of Rabbi Camras' Shabbat and Holiday Sermons
 
 Contact Rabbi Camras by email: rcamras@stsonline.org or by phone: (818) 854-7650.
 
 

Cantorial Intern David Childs

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David Childs is thrilled to join the Shomrei Torah Synagogue community as Cantorial Intern. He sees music as a means for strengthening community and carrying important messages, and hopes you will join him in these endeavors.

As a performer, David has sung with esteemed companies such as the LA Opera, LA Chamber Orchestra, and Pacific Opera Project. In 2017, David gave a recital with pianist Mark Robson as part of Boston Court Pasadena’s Emerging Artists series. A five-year stint with the Latin pop-fusion band, We The Folk, brought him to venues such as the Troubadour, Teragram Ballroom, and HopMonk Tavern. He studied opera at UCLA with director Peter Kazaras, baritone Vladimir Chernov, and coaches Victoria Kirsch, Rakefet Hak, and Tali Tadmor. During his undergraduate studies, David took opportunities to perform Jewish music, singing Yiddish song as a soloist and with the UCLA Klezmer Ensemble. David is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival, where he sang in the Aspen Opera Center and co-founded the klezmer group Mountain Mishpokhe. In 2021, David collaborated with his father Cantor Mark Childs and pianist Bob Remstein to release an album titled The Layered Path: Jewish Songs for Healing and Respite, available for listening online.

David currently studies in the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary, coaching chazanut with cantors Jacob Mendelson, Robert Kieval, z”l, Richard Nadel, Joel Caplan, and Dr. Boaz Tarsi. Prior, he studied for two years at Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. From 2018 through 2021, David served as Cantorial Intern at Sinai Temple in Westwood, where he led services and life cycle events, prepared b’nei mitzvah, and taught in the religious school. He studies voice with Gabriel Reoyo-Pazos. When he is not singing, David enjoys playing softball and laughing at his two cats.

Contact Cantor Childs by email: dchilds@stsonline.org or by phone: (818) 854-7650.

 

 

Rabbinic Intern Avram Ellner

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Avram Ellner is a rising fifth year rabbinical student at The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, and is excited to join Shomrei’s community as our Rabbinic Intern. Avram graduated from Tufts University in 2016, where he studied physics and philosophy. His undergraduate academic pursuits culminated in his senior honors thesis in biophysics, “A Study of Neuron Growth on Micropatterned PDMS Surfaces.” After graduation, he served as a JDC Entwine Jewish Service Corps Fellow as an informal Jewish educator for the Jewish community of Mumbai, India. His time and travels in India allowed him to realize that his path was not that of a physics professor, but of a rabbi.

Having been deeply impacted by his experiences at Tufts' Hillel, he strives to become a rabbi who works to create strong interpersonal relationships with community members and a vibrant, diverse Jewish community. Through his relationship and community building, he wants to empower others to explore and craft their own authentic relationship with Judaism. Prior to beginning school at Ziegler, Avram worked for a year at Muhlenberg College Hillel as their Programs and Engagement Associate, supporting students to craft innovative programming.

He currently works at Camp Ramah in Northern California as their Teen Coordinator where he is developing an array of Jewish leadership programming for high school-aged campers. Since 2019, he has collaborated with the senior staff at Camp Ramah in Northern California to establish the cultural foundations and educational arc for Nachshonim, camp’s leadership training program for the oldest edah (age group) of campers entering their junior year of high school.

Contact Rabbinic Intern Ellner by email: aellner@stsonline.org or by phone: (818) 854-7650.

 
   

Rabbinic Intern Hazzan Joel Smith

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A native of Los Angeles, Hazzan Joel Smith was the Ritual Director at STS from 2003 until 2017 and has rejoined the STS community in 2021 as a Rabbinic Intern, currently in his fourth year of rabbinical school at the Academy for Jewish Religion California.

An expert Ba’al Kriah, Hazzan Smith brings to life the sacred writings of our people: Torah, Haftarah, & Megillah. He is passionate about helping others find meaning and purpose through chanting and study. His patience, persistence, fortitude, and serene qualities give others the confidence, strength, and assurance they need to achieve success.

Previously, Hazzan Smith served congregations at various Shuls in the West San Fernando Valley area, including Kol Tikvah, The Calabasas Shul & Eim Habanim of West Hills. A lover of music, passionate about prayer, with an intense interest in Torah, Hazzan Smith has studied Hazzanut with Cantor Sam Radwine & Hazzan Baruch Cohon and music theory with Tina Caplan Weiss. A graduate of the Cantorial Soloist program at Hebrew Union College, after rigorous written and oral testing, he received his commission as a Hazzan by the Cantors Assembly.

Hazzan Smith began his musical training at a young age and plays various instruments, including viola & low brass. He has sung with the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum and the San Fernando Valley Master Chorale on some of the most prestigious concert stages, including the Hollywood Bowl & Symphony Hall in Boston and at the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

He holds a degree in Geology and Computer Science with Honors from Harvard College. An avid cyclist, it is not uncommon to see him out and about on the roads of the West San Fernando Valley.

Contact Hazzan Smith by email: jesmith@pobox.com or by phone: (818) 854-7650.

 

 

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Shomrei Torah Synagogue
7353 Valley Circle Boulevard
West Hills, CA 91304
 
Main Office:
(818) 854-7650
 
Education Center:
(818) 854-7690

 

 

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