|I love being the rabbi of Temple Etz Chaim because it is a warm and welcoming congregation which truly embraces its members and all others who walk through our doors. We strive to be a home where every individual can satisfy his or her own spiritual, religious, educational, and social needs and all of us together can find a sense of community in good times and bad. When I arrived in Thousand Oaks in August of 2000 to begin my tenure as rabbi of Temple Etz Chaim, it was in many ways a dream come true. Born and raised on the East Coast, having served as a rabbi in the Midwest and Southwest, it was always my desire to live in beautiful Southern California. Residing here has been everything I had hoped for and more. Soon after my arrival, I met my “beshert” Linda, and we were married in front of a full congregation in June of 2003. Today, we are the proud parents of four wonderful grown children, two beautiful daughters-in-law and three adorable grand children. I have become a “native” Californian in appreciating the glorious nature – the sunny days, the blue skies, the mountains, the ocean, the palm trees and so much more that makes life here so enjoyable. Oh, yes, I have also become a Dodgers fan, a Lakers fan, and a supporter of USC football and UCLA basketball. I am very fortunate to be a rabbi with a marvelous congregation. If I were to ask for a better place to be a rabbi, I could not even imagine it. At Temple Etz Chaim, we look to our Jewish heritage to give us inspiration and guidance as we move forward to a rich and promising future.|
More about Rabbi Spiegel:
Rabbi Richard Spiegel was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Before coming to Temple Etz Chaim in June 2000, he served in synagogues in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Rabbi Spiegel has been an active participant and leader in the Rabbinical Assembly, the international body of conservative Rabbis, throughout his career. Most recently, he served as President of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Rabbinical Assembly and is a member of the Board of Jewish World Watch.
Rabbi Spiegel has inspired our membership with his love of Judaism and his warm and friendly manner. He is eager to reach out to members of all ages, from our youngest preschool students, to our most elderly seniors. His goal is to teach children and adults alike that our ancient Jewish heritage can be a vibrant and dynamic force in our 21st century lives.