RABBI STEPHEN EPSTEIN
רבי שמואל בן-יהושע
A MODERN CONSERVATIVE RABBI
Rabbi at Temple Sholom of Ontario
Serving San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, CA and all of Southern California
August 2020 - Present Rabbi Temple Sholom of Ontario, Ontario, CA
Serving as the religious leader of this Conservative synagogue affiliated with United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The beginning of my practice was during the COVID epidemic. I led services mostly via Zoom. As the membership had shrunk over the years, I worked to keep the synagogue engaged with activities and growing. I organized and taught weekly Hebrew school on Sundays via Zoom. I also conducted B’nai Mitzvot training and conducted live services when applicable observing appropriate distancing. I have conducted three Miller Courses, Introduction to Judaism courses and arranged conversion ceremonies with the local Rabbinical Assembly members at the American Jewish University. I have participated in events with other local synagogues and am active in community outreach, giving invocations at various local government functions. As below discussing my tenure with Congregation B’nai Chaim, I also discharge typical Rabbinical duties as now conducting live services in a variety of venues, reading Torah and Haftorah, preparing B’nai Mitzvot, etc. I have also officiated at wedding ceremonies, many of which were "mixed" and interfaith.
Ordained Rabbi Independent Congregation/"Shteibel" Lake Elsinore, CA
September 2019 – August 2020
Leading independent, non-affiliated Conservative congregation. Conducting High Holiday and Shabbat services. Serving the community conducting Life Events for affiliated and non-affiliated, traditional and inter-faith couples.
Ordained Rabbi Congregation B’nai Chaim Murrieta, CA
July, 2017 – August, 2019
Lay Rabbi/Religious Leader Congregation B’nai Chaim Murrieta, CA
July, 2014 – June, 2017
Conducting regular Friday night and Saturday morning services for Conservative Congregation. Services are accompanied by my guitar playing which has lead to other congregants accompanying me playing violin and guitar as well. I officiate Family Services once a month in which our students from our school lead the service. Leading High Holiday services chanting appropriate nusach. Conduct holiday services that fall on New Moon and other holidays. Able to read directly from Torah scroll. Familiarity with both Torah and Haftorah cantillations. Trained four adults in Hebrew and Torah chanting for first all-adult B’nai Mitzvot conducted for Saturday Shabbat Mincha-Ma’ariv. Have trained numerous B’nai Mitzvot for both traditional Haftorah and Maftir Torah. Taught Hebrew and Prayers & Torah Classes for Adults. Currently teaching Hebrew school class for B’nai Mitzvot students. Have organized many events for synagogue including NJOP’s Shabbat Across America 2019 with Rebbetzin. Active in fund raising for the synagogue. Since I became rabbi two years ago, membership has more than doubled.
-Continuously studying Artscroll (Orthodox) and Soncino (Conservative) Chumashes.
-Studying Talmud for 15 years as part of “Daf Yomi” program using the Artscroll Talmud Series
-Studied Kabbalah reading Zohar edited by David Matt
-Consistently pray all three services daily including tefillin during secular mornings.
PART OF "BEIT DIN"/RABBINICAL TEAM
September 2007 – June 2012 Canyon Lake, CA
Co-lead lay congregation for "Conservadox" congregation. Participated in leading Shabbat and High Holiday services, including reading Torah and Haftorah. Also conducted periodic Sunday morning themed Talmud studies on various topics such as the Role of Women in Judaism and Astrology.
June 1999 - June 2007 Murrieta, CA
Served on board for seven years including President of the congregation for two years. Also assisted rabbi’s in conducting services and substituting during their absences. Conducted Torah study for adults. Instituted and led
once-a-month Shabbat Shachrit junior congregation.
February, 1986 -December, 1991 Served on Nursing staff of psychiatric facility.
Individual and group counseling activities; assistant charge nurse. Worked with variety of demographics: adolescent behavior and chemical dependency; adult chemical dependency; eating disorders; personality disorders including multiple personality disorders; psychotic and delusional disorders.
Rabbinical Ordination, Rabbinical Seminary International, New York, NY June 2017
MBA, Business Management University of Redlands, Redlands, CA
BA, Psychology State University of New York, College at Oswego
AS, Psychiatric Technology Saddleback Community College, Mission Viejo, CA