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Rabbi Steven Finley

Rabbi Steven Finley



GMC 2076

Office Hours

Shalom! Allow me to share a little about myself …

I was raised in Southern California and reared in the Conservative Movement. My Jewish identity flourished as a child and upon graduating high school, I left for Israel to explore my roots. On my twentieth birthday I obtained Israeli citizenship and settled in to kibbutz life in the beautiful Jezreel Valley. Three weeks later (that’s another story!) I was inducted into the Israeli Army. After my compulsory army service, I eventually returned to kibbutz and began my higher education, earning a Bachelor’s in Linguistics and English Literature as well as acquiring teaching credentials. Over the ensuing ten years, I taught elementary, middle and high school English on various kibbutzim and in Arab Christian and Arab Muslim towns and villages. During those years I met my wife to be Yaffa and we married in 1996.

With family in tow, I returned to Southern California after roughly twenty years in Israel and immediately began working in the Los Angeles Jewish community as I furthered my education. Within a few years, I had earned a MA in Jewish education at the American Jewish University. From there, I enrolled in rabbinical school, and in 2009 I received my ordination at the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA.

My first rabbinic full-time position came a year later when I was hired by the Beth Israel Community Center in Mexico City, Mexico. I had an incredible experience, serving in full capacity in all aspects of the religious, spiritual and communal life of the community. When this contracted time came to an end in 2014, I had the good fortune to receive an offer here in the beautiful town of Sonoma, California with Congregation Shir Shalom.

My wife Yaffa and I have a daughter, Ayelet, living in Los Angeles with her husband Michael and their daughters – Libby and Mia. Our older son, Yonatan, lives in Israel with his wife Roni, their son, B’naya and the newest addition to our family, their daughter Emmanuel. Our youngest, Ben, graduated high school in 2017 from Sonoma Valley High School and remains a resident here in Sonoma.

I am currently in my seventh year with Congregation Shir Shalom and look forward to further years as we continue to flourish in peaceful times, discover resilience and paths towards success in crisis, and no matter what, we always find opportunities in both to build a stronger community.