Rabbi P.J. Schwartz is the Rabbi Educator at Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, CA. He was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-HIR) in Cincinnati, OH in June 2013 and was the recipient of the Ferdinand M. Isserman Prize awarded to the senior rabbinical student who best contributes to the development of community relations. While at HUC-JIR, P.J. served student congregations in Marion, Indiana, Ishpeming, Michigan, and Marion, Ohio. He also served in numerous capacities as a teacher, Schusterman Rabbinic Fellow, and Rabbinic Intern for Isaac M. Wise Temple where he taught Religious School and Hebrew School, led regular Saturday morning services and Torah study, and adult education. He also pursued Clinical Pastoral Education and trained as a chaplain for Christ Hospital in the summer of 2010 and a Rabbinic chaplain for Jewish Family Service in Cincinnati, OH. Rabbi Schwartz wrote his rabbinic thesis on the traditional and contemporary understandings of kavannah (intentionality, thoughtfulness, and devotion) in Jewish worship.
In addition to his studies at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Schwartz received a Master's in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Jewish Education at Xavier University. He is a frequent contributor to the Union of Reform Judaism's weekly e-newsletter, Ten Minutes of Torah and is an active member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE), and NewCAJE.
Rabbi Schwartz grew up in Greenville, SC and is a 2007 graduate of the College of Charleston, where he majored in Religious Studies. In college, he served as a board member of the Jewish Student Union/Hillel as well as was on the executive committee of the local chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. He also was a teacher, assistant youth group advisor, and Religious Studies intern at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. Following his college graduation, P.J. began his rabbinical studies at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem, Israel, before returning to the Cincinnati campus to finish his studies.
Rabbi Schwartz is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, a special education teacher.