Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 – 11:50 AM
Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills has announced the newest addition to its team – former Aerospace Engineer, Rabbi Educator Adam Lutz as Religious School and Lifelong Learning program director.
For three years, Lutz worked as an aerospace engineer focusing on Navy planes on Coronado Island. One spring day he climbed into the cockpit of an F-18 fighter jet and contemplated his “imminent flight toward the rabbinate” – a journey to pursue a passion that embodied emotional, spiritual and intellectual wholeness. While he enjoyed working on these Navy planes, Lutz felt a hindering disconnect in his daily experiences and sought something deeper, meaningful, and enriching. Suddenly, the gentle salty breeze of the Pacific Ocean and the tarmac’s strong scent of sulfur and jet fuel became distant memories of a reminiscent past.
Today, Rabbi Lutz connects his love of technology and design with his love for Jewish education. His goal as Religious School and Lifelong Learning Director is to help students discover their identities by using Judaism as a tool for self-exploration. Lutz’s expertise and progressive approach to problem-solving and technology, meet the needs of the 21st century, offering human-centered and holistic methods as meaningful alternatives to classroom learning.
“As a rabbi I believe it is my obligation to lead with the heart, to reach out with compassion and empathy, and to help others do the same.”- Rabbi Adam Lutz
Judaism has always played a significant role in Lutz’s life. He considers his synagogue youth group and Camp Alonim, in Simi Valley, a home that provided him with a safe, strong, and joyful foundation to begin exploring his Jewish identity.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the UC San Diego, and a master of science in engineering from UCLA and working for the Navy, Lutz felt his true calling was in the Jewish community. Lutz’s comprehensive Jewish professional education at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, L.A, and Jerusalem, earned him a master’s degree in Hebrew Letters (2015), Rabbinical Ordination (2016), master’s in Jewish Education (May, 2017), and a graduate certificate in Jewish Non-Profit Management (August, 2017).
During his tenure at Hebrew Union College, Lutz was invited to join two fellowships – The Bonnie and Daniel Tisch Fellowship, which focused on developing innovative synagogue leaders for the 21st century, and the Be Wise Fellowship for Jewish Entrepreneurial Endeavors, in which he developed the technical infrastructure for “ProjectZug” an online educational platform which connects Jews in one-to-one conversations across the world. Following the success of “ProjectZug,” Lutz launched “KabbalatTorah,” an online community of Jewish practice and learning – a project still evolving.
Born and raised in L.A., Lutz’s love of Judaism and Jewish education was instilled in him by his parents. Debbie, his mother, is a teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and his dad, Barry, is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge. Lutz met his wife, Emma, a cantor at Stephen Wise Temple during their first week of rabbinical and cantorial school in Jerusalem.
“I believe the mission of the Jewish people is to bring about a world that is whole by being compassionate to ourselves and having empathy for others…”- Rabbi Adam Lutz