Rabbi Andra Greenwald…
...has been involved with the Mother Lode Jewish Community since the spring of 2014.
Both a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an ordained rabbi, the combination of these two ingredients has enriched the many MLJC events in which she has participated…not only leading the community in prayer but teaching the history and relevance of so many of our rituals.
R’Andra, as she prefers to be called, received her B.S. in psychology from Brooklyn College and her MSW from the California State University system. She and her husband, Loren Gonella, have raised 3 terrific daughters, one of whom is a hazzan (cantor). She enjoyed a long career in the mental health field, as a psychotherapist, both at a clinic and in private practice, served as a child custody mediator in the Superior Court and ending her career as the director of Family Court Services in Modesto.
In July of 2009, she was ordained as a rabbi. Her studies were not linked to any particular branch of Judaism, but did offer a strong interfaith component, which is invaluable in the context in which we in the Gold Country of California live our lives. The diverse nature of MLJC with our interfaith families and our welcoming of Jews by Choice made this path the perfect fit for our group.
Rabbi Andra Greenwald
R’Andra is an active volunteer, serving on the Boards of Directors of Modesto's Congregation Beth Shalom for many years, on Modesto's InterFaith Ministries, and is a member of the Stanislaus County Interfaith Council. She has also served as a volunteer chaplain at the Sierra Conservation Center and at the Redwood Family Center. She is both teacher and writer: leading classes for Jews interested in learning more about our history as well as individuals who are considering or want to join our faith; and recently several of her poems were included in A POET'S SIDUR SHABBAT EVENING, published in November of 2017 (see poems below). Since becoming involved with the MLJC, she frequently drives many miles through our rural counties to attend to someone critically ill, suffering some other type of personal crisis or for more joyful life cycle events such as baby namings, weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.
The Mother Lode Jewish Community has truly been spiritually and emotionally enriched by her regular participation in so many of our events.
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