I was born and raised in Houston, TX and have lived in Arlington, VA; Jerusalem, Israel; New York City; and Aspen, CO. I studied Classics and Judaic Studies at Princeton University (2003) and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York in 2010. From 2010-2017, I was the rabbi of the Aspen Jewish Congregation, serving the Roaring Fork Valley of Western Colorado. My wife, Cantor Rollin Simmons, was my co-clergy.
In July 2017, we moved to Houston, TX, where my wife is the cantor at Congregation Emanu El. In addition to freelance religion writing for the Houston Chronicle, from 2017-21, I was the Texas Lead Organizer for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. I built a statewide organization of Reform synagogues in Texas (RAC-TX) and worked with congregations across the state to make their justice work more strategic and rooted in their people's stories. We mobilized in the 2021 Texas Legislative session to protect the freedom to vote.
As of fall 2021, I am a student at University of Houston Law Center, continuing to pursue my interest in justice through the lens of law.
Growing up in Houston, I attended Congregation Emanu El, a Reform synagogue. I was a "lifer" (K-12) at St. John's School. I graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Classics and Jewish Studies. After graduation, I worked at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC for two years, after which I went to rabbinic school, in Jerusalem and then New York. During my rabbinic training, I was blessed to serve as Student Rabbi in a number of settings, including: Bates College Hillel in Lewiston, ME; Temple Israel in Uniontown, PA; Princeton University Hillel in Princeton, NJ; and Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, NJ. I spent summers interning as a hospital chaplain in Seattle, WA and as a community organizer with the URJ's Just Congregations in Boston, MA.
In March 2014, the Jewish Forward named me among America's Most Inspiring Rabbis. I am an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, where I continue to gain valuable leadership experience and build relationships with Jewish professionals across denominational lines. During my time in Aspen, I was on the board of the Manaus Fund, the Valley Settlement Project, and the Aspen Homeless Shelter. From 2012-17 I wrote a monthly column for the Aspen Times, for which I won a 2015 and 2016 Colorado Press Association award for Best Humorous Column Writing, and I am a freelance writer for the Houston Chronicle and other media. I dabble in stand-up with my comedy trio Three Rabbis Walk Into a Bar.
I'm interested in religion and spirituality, faith in public life, politics, gender, parenting, pop culture, Americana, humor, and more. I've taught classes on Biblical and modern literature, aging and end-of-life issues, humor, and more.