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Our Clergy and Staff

Rav Ahud Sela

Originally from New Haven, CT. Rav Sela became an adopted Californian, receiving his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from UC Santa Barbara, where he also met his wife Alisha. After receiving his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, he served as an assistant rabbi at Sinai Temple in Westwood under Rabbi David Wolpe.

Since joining Ramat Zion in 2010, Rav Sela has worked tirelessly to make this synagogue a dynamic and vibrant center of Jewish life that meets the needs of our members and our larger community, both spiritually and practically. His religious and academic interests are the connection between Judaism and social justice, our connection to the world and the environment, and the writings of the Chassidic masters. While attending rabbinical school, Rav Sela also received a Master’s Degree in Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania and still often teaches on this subject.

Rav Sela’s wife Alisha is a native Angeleno with deep roots in the community. Her grandfather Rabbi Max Vorspan was a professor and administrator at the University of Judaism (now the AJU). Her father, Rabbi David Vorspan, teaches at de Toledo High School and is the rabbi for Congregation Shir Ami. Rav Sela and Alisha are the proud parents of Yael, Gavi, and Eitan, and as the parent he understands the importance of making Judaism accessible for everyone in our member families.

You can contact Rav Sela by emailing him at rabbisela@trz.org.

Hazzan Daniel Friedman

Throughout his youth, Daniel Friedman was involved in Jewish life. By the age of sixteen, he began his synagogue career as the Hazzan Sheini (Second Cantor) for Adat Ari El in Valley Village, CA.

Following a sixteen-year career as a performer, where he graced the stages of Broadway and worked in commercials, television and film, he began a personal renewal of his Jewish identity, leading him to accept a position as the full-time Cantor of Temple Beth Sholom of Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the next eight years he dedicated himself to enhancing the lives of his congregants through the use of music and the dramatic arts.

In conjunction with his normal responsibilities as Ramat Zion’s cantor, Cantor Friedman has produced and performed in numerous concerts with legendary Hazzanim and contemporary Jewish singer/songwriters as Theodor Bikel, Craig Taubman, Debbie Friedman and Neshama Carlebach. He has released two CDs of Jewish music, performed with the Las Vegas Philharmonic under the direction of David Itkin. Together with his collaborator D.J. Sinai, he created new innovative prayer experiences to engage his congregations he has served in prayer. His greatest production, however, is that of his three beautiful children.

You can contact Cantor Friedman by emailing him at cantorfriedman@trz.org.

Julia Levine, Religious School Director

Julia Levine was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley.  She has a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, San Diego with a double major in Judaic Studies and English Literature.  Julia continued exploring her love of Jewish education by earning a Certificate in Jewish Day School Teaching as a DeLeT: Day School Leadership through Teaching fellow.  In 2007, she received a Master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.

Julia has a passion for formal and informal Jewish education and spent 16 summers at Jewish summer camp as a camper, counselor, educator and administrator.  Before coming to work at Temple Ramat Zion, she worked for several years as the Experiential Educator at Sinai Temple in West Los Angeles.

Julia, her husband Adam, and their daughter Hannah and son Joshua are very happy to be learning from and with the Temple Ramat Zion community!

You can contact Julia by emailing her at julialevine@trz.org.

Hayley Wood - ELC Director

Until we get to meet in person, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Hayley Wood and I am so very excited to step into my new position as director of the Temple Ramat Zion Early Learning Center.

I have been in the field of early childhood education for almost twenty years. I have had the joy of working with little ones ages 18 months to 5 years. I cannot say with certainty which age I love the most. I absolutely love them all! In my almost twenty years, I have been an assistant teacher, teacher, assistant director and most recently director of the preschool at Temple Beth Emet in Burbank. Due to the pandemic and a change in community, that school will not be reopening at this time.

I am married and have two wonderful children, Bennett, 7 1/2, and Declan, 3 1/2. As both my husband and I have grown up in this area we are so excited to to have our family be a part of the TRZ community. Contact Hayley Wood at hayleyw@trz.org

Danielle Stein Newland, TRZ Youth Director

Hello TRZ Community. I am so excited to be the TRZ Youth Director. It has always been a dream of mine to lead our youth group. I am also a fellow graduate of our lovely preschool and religious school. I became a bat mitzvah here and have been an engaged member of TRZ since. It is truly an honor to guide our inspiring young Jewish generation. There will be empowering events, community engagement, and Jewish discovery all throughout the year. When I am not at TRZ, I am a student at American Jewish University studying psychology. In my little free time between school and work, I love to be outdoors. My husband Paul and I love to go camping, hiking, or rafting in the near by mountains. When I am finally resting, it is usually at home with my two fur babies, Mitzu, our 23 year old black and white cat and Binx, our 5 year old all black and very mischievous cat watching a sci-fi or fantasy show, or painting at a nearby pottery studio with my girlfriends. 

You can contact Danielle by emailing her at danielles@trz.org.

Wed, October 20 2021 14 Cheshvan 5782