Thousand Oaks rabbi leaves post

Rabbi Ted Riter of Temple Adat Elohim (TAE) in Thousand Oaks officially ended his tenure at the Reform synagogue on May 1, and in a subsequent Facebook post announced that he no longer intends to continue in a similar post. 

“It is with bittersweet emotions that I write this letter to you, my Adat Elohim family,” Riter wrote May 3 on his Facebook page, in a post that has since been removed. “After 16 years of experiencing countless blessings in the synagogue world, I have decided that it is time for me to pursue a new career path outside of the traditional rabbinate.”

The post did not indicate what new career path he intends to take. Riter declined immediate further comment via e-mail. He did not respond to subsequent questions from the Journal sent by e-mail or telephone.

TAE President Richard Jackman said that he did not foresee Riter’s departure.

“Some people may have anticipated it; I didn’t,” Jackman said. “For some people it was abrupt, for some people it wasn’t.”

A communication was sent to the congregation indicating that Riter had resigned as senior rabbi and that a committee would be formed to search for an interim rabbi, followed by a permanent one. 

Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe, a Los Angeles native who has been with TAE since 1997, has filled in following Riter’s departure. Jackman said that the board aims to have someone to replace Riter before the High Holy Days in September.

“We are 630 families, so we need two rabbis,” Jackman said. “We hope to have somebody in place in July. At the very latest, August.”

Riter joined TAE as senior rabbi in 2005 following eight years as Temple Solel’s rabbi in Encinitas. He received his rabbinical training from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. A Texas native, Riter received his undergraduate degree in political economics from Tulane University in New Orleans.

According to Jackman, in Riter’s nearly eight years at the Thousand Oaks synagogue, he implemented numerous programs, including Mussar classes (personal ethical development) that have drawn about 200 people.

“It was a great eight years,” Jackman said. “He brought a lot of wonderful things to our congregation.”