After a nineteen year hiatus, Rabbi Ron, as he is fondly called, and his wife Silvia returned to San Diego, California in 2015, where he now serves the unaffiliated in the Jewish community as an independent Rabbi. Rabbi Ron serves the Jewish community by officiating at lifecycle events such as weddings, baby namings, Bat/Bat Mitzvahs, conversions, funerals, and other life celebrations.
A native of Israel, Rabbi Ron is the son of Czechoslovakian Holocaust survivors, who immigrated to Israel as part of a Haganah unit in 1948. With his formative childhood years in Israel, he grew up in Los Angeles, California from the age of ten. With his unique blend of Israeli-American character, Rabbi Ron is sensitive, compassionate and imbued with a strong sense of justice and fairness. Versed in Jewish tradition and learning-and at the same time grounded in the social sciences, history, modern study of the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish texts- Rabbi Ron delights in sharing his love for learning and the wisdom he finds in Judaism.
Educated at UCLA, the University of Southern California, and ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Ron was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 2002. While still a rabbinical student, Rabbi Ron served as a chaplain at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and was later the first Jewish Chaplain to serve the Sharp Hospital system in San Diego, California. In 1983, he founded Congregation Dor Hadash (A New Generation) in San Diego, California, where he gained the experience in and a reputation for forming Havurot (fellowship groups), pioneering Family Education (where children and parents studied together) and creating vibrant, lively Shabbat and holiday celebrations that included instrumental music, singing, discussion, and meditation. Rabbi Ron coined a phrase for the three attributes of his congregation: “CLC” (Community, Life-long Learning, and Celebration). Rabbi Ron’s multifaceted career includes service as a congregational rabbi, chaplain, congregational consultant, teacher of Judaism and spiritual counselor.
Rabbi Ron Herstik is married to Silvia, formerly Silvia Engelmayer of Mexico City, and they are parents to twin daughters, Alexandra Yael and Gabriela Lorraine.