When Rabbi John Carrier arrived in Pasadena, he had no idea how much he would fall in love with it.
He had an interim role at Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center, and missing being a regular part of a community.
“My friends at PJTC needed some help during a time of change,” Carrier said. “Little did I know how much my family and I would grow to love this particular community—and how important online learning would become for all communities in this historic moment.”
Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center recently hired Carrier as its senior rabbi. The entire community looks forward to Carrier’s official installation on August 16.
The center’s president, Geoffrey DeBoskey, said while Carrier was temporarily employed, the congregation enjoyed his caring, warm and engaging demeanor, strong teaching skills and ability to connect with a wide range of generations.
“From the moment Rabbi Carrier first began working with our community on an interim basis, I was impressed by him as a person and a rabbi, and I am very excited to now be working with him both on PJTC’s needs today and ensuring the synagogue remains strong for many years to come,” DeBoskey said.
The center’s executive director, Beryl Strauss, is looking forward to Carrier’s continued leadership of the temple and center.
“He has shown to me a sincere willingness to be fully present with the congregation,” Strauss said. “Actively listening is one of Rabbi Carrier’s strong suits, as well as his incredible collaboration and inspirational teaching ability. I see Rabbi Carrier being the lightning rod to the congregation for the future.”
Cantor Ruth Berman Harris says, “I am so blessed to have Rabbi Carrier as my partner. We are so very different and complement each other so well; it is the greatest gift to work with him and lead the PJTC community to higher grounds.”
PJTC describes itself as an open-minded, conservative-movement based congregation with a traditional and creative take on Judaism.
The temple and center serve members hailing from throughout the San Gabriel Valley. As one of the oldest congregations in the area, it has built an intergenerational, diverse and rich community with more than 475 families.
Carrier was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University. He previously served as the rabbi of Burbank Temple Emanu El, a diverse conservative synagogue in Burbank.
Carrier is especially passionate about Jewish adult education. He has taught for the Miller Introduction to Judaism program for more than five years and the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning for two years. In 2018, he published his first book, “The Promised Life,” and he founded The Jewcurious School, an online learning portal especially for people around the world who don’t have access to synagogues or traditional settings for Jewish learning.
Besides teaching formal classes at PJTC and around Los Angeles, Carrier has created many free resources online to help people learn about basic (and not-so-basic) Jewish ideas and traditions, including more than 200 videos on YouTube.
In addition to serving the PJTC community, Carrier sits on the local Rabbinical Assembly Batei Din (rabbinic courts) for conversion to Judaism and for Gittin (Jewish rituals for divorce).
Carrier is a native Texan, but lived throughout the country before settling in Southern California 10 years ago. He and his wife, Kara, have two adult sons and two young daughters, and together they enjoy comedy, puzzles, mysteries and cooking.