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Rabbi Richard M. Steinberg

Rabbi Richard M. SteinbergThe Rona Perley Memorial Senior Rabbinic Chair

Rabbi Richard Steinberg is the dynamic and transformative leader of Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot, since 2001. At that time, the congregation consisted of less than 300 member families. Today, it is a thriving Congregation of over 625 families with Orange County’s largest Religious School. He works diligently at providing a warm, caring, and educational environment for people to grow in all ways. Through creating an interactive partnership with the laity, Rabbi Steinberg is literally fashioning a place that people call home.

It has been said of CSHM, “This is the place where children bring their parents.” Teaching our children the values and virtues of Judaism is the number one priority to Rabbi Steinberg. Everyone is welcome at every service. He is very serious when he speaks of the Temple’s motto “A Lifetime of Belonging.” Temple is not a one stop shop to Rabbi Steinberg, but rather the place where one can come to feel rooted and part of something bigger than themselves. He believes that when one comes to Temple, they ought to feel better when they leave than when they walked in. He believes that Temples ought to meet people where they are and then take them on the journey of the spirit, and that Judaism ought to be compelling and relevant in one’s life, otherwise there is no purpose in practicing.

Born and raised in Northern California, Rabbi Steinberg has a varied and accomplished past. Graduating from the California State University system with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and minor in Sociology. After working for a police department for a year, he decided to focus on a different kind of law – the law of the soul. As a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he became the assistant rabbi at the historic congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Isaac M. Wise Temple – the place where Reform Judaism was founded.

  • Member, Central Conference of American Rabbis Board of Trustees
  • Member, Children’s Hospital of Orange County Mental Health Advisory Board
  • Member, CCAR/URJ Placement Commission
  • Commissioner, Chair Orange County Human Relations Commission
  • Chaplain of the Irvine Police Department
  • Executive Board, Orange County Sheriff’s Interfaith Religious Council
  • Executive Board, Aipac Orange County
  • Past-president, Jewish Association of Special Needs
  • Past-president, Orange County Board of Rabbis

He holds an MAHL; A Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters - and – Ordination as a Rabbi – and – an MFT; Master of Arts in Marital Family Therapy and is a licensed psychotherapist. He is married to Abby Rozenberg and together they have five adult children.

Contact Rabbi Steinberg

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo

The Sherman Family Rabbinic Chair

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo is honored to be a part of the clergy team at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot. Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, Rabbi DePaolo was active in her childhood temple’s youth programs. These early experiences sparked Rabbi DePaolo’s love of Judaism and inspired her to want to build strong and vibrant Jewish communities in the future. She now serves the SHM community as the B’nai Mitzvah Program Coordinator, overseeing the education and preparation of all of our B’nai Mitzvah students each year. Rabbi DePaolo also works closely with our sisterhood, NaSHiM, our Tikkun Olam Committee: SHeMesh, and our Adult Education groups including Chai Society, and Shabbat Edition.

A graduate of Vassar College with BA in Political Science, Rabbi DePaolo also received a Master of Arts in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York City, and was ordained by the College-Institute in May 2017. While in rabbinical school, Rabbi DePaolo served as the Reform Rabbinic Intern at the Columbia University/Barnard College Hillel, worked as an intern for ARZA: The Association of Reform Zionists of America, and served as the student rabbi at several Reform congregations in the NY Metro area. She also completed a chaplaincy internship at Greenwich Hospital.

With her rabbinic colleagues, Rabbi DePaolo was the recipient of the entrepreneurial BeWise fellowship at HUC-JIR, organizing an intensive day of learning for faculty, staff, and students focused on the use of technology in congregational life. She was also a participant in the Wiener Educational Center Fellowship, and was honored to receive the faculty prize in homiletics from HUC-JIR as well as commendations for her work in Jewish communal organizations and synagogue management. As a lover of young adult engagement, she now sits on the board for Hillels of Orange County.

Rabbi DePaolo is driven in her rabbinic work by a commitment to joyful exploration of Jewish learning and spirituality, building a community full of deep relationships, and the pursuit of social justice. In her free time, Rabbi DePaolo enjoys cooking, reading, exploring, and discussing Pop Culture. Though native New Yorkers, Rabbi DePaolo and her husband, David Bernstein, happily relocated to beautiful Orange County, and now make their home in Lake Forest, CA with their dog, Glenda.

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Rabbi Bryan Zive

Rabbi Bryan Zive

Associate Rabbi and Director of Congregational Music

Rabbi Bryan Zive is proud to have served SHM since 2019.

Combining love and meaning with prayer and text, Rabbi Zive sets the mood for people of all ages, merging traditional liturgy, Jewish themes and modern insight to help them become more connected with their Jewish identities.

Rabbi Zive has the unique privilege to engage with community members musically as a major part of his rabbinate. He fell in love with Jewish music growing up in Southern California and attending the UAHC (now URJ) regional camps, Camp Swig as a camper and Camp Newman as a counselor and song leader. He began composing Jewish music in 2001, which is now widely included in congregational and camp repertoires across North America, has produced two full length contemporary Jewish music albums and had his song, Rock and Redeemer included on Transcontinental Music’s compilation release “Ruach 5769” as one of the 19 most popular Jewish songs.

Prior to Rabbinical School, he served as the full time Cantorial Soloist of both Temple Sinai in Denver, CO (2009-2014) and Temple Israel in Columbus, OH (2002-2009). He is an active and proud Israel supporter, having been AIPAC’s Rocky Mountain region’s Young Adults Ambassador. In 2014, after deep soul-searching, Rabbi Zive and his wife, Melyssa, decided to leave Colorado to pursue his dream: becoming a Rabbi. They moved to Jerusalem for a year of study in Israel and five years later, received his Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles Campus, in May 2009 after serving Congregation Shir Ami in Castro Valley, CA as his student pulpit and Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles, CA as their Rabbinic Intern, each for two years. Aside from music, prayer and Torah, Rabbi Zive holds a passion for history, most especially Holocaust and World War II. His rabbinic thesis is titled Time and Space: The Transformation of Holocaust Memory in America. For some light reading, feel free to ask him for a copy!

Rabbi Zive and Melyssa have the joy of raising their beautiful son, Hayden, who you see running around our beautiful synagogue. Rabbi Zive is fortunate to serve such a warm, welcoming synagogue like SHM and looks forward to continuing infusing music, prayer and Jewish values into our community.

Contact Rabbi Zive

Arië Shikler, Cantor Emeritus

Arie Shikler, Cantor Emeritus

The Hollander Family Cantorial Chair

Arië Shikler was the Cantor of Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot from 1968 to 2018. A multi-talented artist, Arië is also an accomplished painter and designer with many products and exhibitions to his credit. Cantor Shikler is a composer and arranger of music. He has released five CDs. He loves to give to the community through benefit concerts to various organizations. Arië is also an innovator. At the beginning of his career, he introduced the guitar as accompaniment during Shabbat Services, the first to do so in Orange County. The Temple Music Program is vibrant thanks to the foundation set by Cantor Shikler's talented ear with adult and children's choirs, adult musicians as well as a youth band which brought a wide range of music to our Shabbat Services each week. Whether it is singing in one of many languages he either speaks or has researched, or playing an interesting instrument, he always puts his all into it.

Contact Cantor Emeritus Shikler

Rabbi Bernie King, z'L

Rabbi Bernie King was the founding rabbi at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine, which started in Newport Beach as Harbor Reform Temple. He led the congregation for 32 years before he retired in 2001.

From the beginning, he set a tone of religious harmony.

The temple rented space from Newport Beach churches St. James Episcopal Church and Christ Church by the Sea, United Methodist for nearly 10 years. In 1978, the temple joined with St. Mark Presbyterian Church in the same building and sanctuary, a partnership that sprang out of both congregations’ need for more space to grow. King had met the church’s pastor at an interfaith gathering.

"It shows that we’re not working artificially to make brotherhood happen,” King told The Times in 1986. “They took a vote on this shared relationship when it was proposed, and it was virtually unanimous."

The arrangement lasted till 1994, when Shir Ha-Ma’alot moved into a former health club in Irvine for more space. But the move didn’t dampen King’s interfaith work, which friends and family say was motivated by his view of seeing the holiness in everyone. The license plate on his SUV read U2RHOLY.

Born April 21, 1938, in Arizona and raised in San Francisco, King was a submariner in the Navy before earning his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from UCLA.

During his studies to be a rabbi in 1965, King was prompted to join the last of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Selma-to-Montgomery marches by the screams of Bloody Sunday protesters he heard on radio news reports. He graduated from rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 1969.

After the 1992 Los Angeles riots, King decided his congregation should reach out to the poorer communities in Orange County and began an adopt-a-family program. Through the Santa Ana school where his wife taught, they matched up needy families with members of the congregation to provide meals during Thanksgiving and toys and gifts during Christmas. More than 1,000 people receive help during both holidays.

Thu, February 22 2024 13 Adar I 5784