Rabbi Bella Bogart
Rabbi Bella is gifted prayer leader, teacher, musician and healer, with over 30 years of congregational experience. She holds a vision of the wisdom and vibrancy of our heritage as a profoundly relevant Judaism for today and tomorrow. Her unique bimah presence reflects the richness and diversity of her own Jewish journey, seamlessly blending the traditional nusach and Hassidic melodies of her youth with modern liturgy and music. She is expert at creating warm, inspirational services that engage participants of all backgrounds and levels of observance.
Rabbi Bella brings her Shabbat and holiday services, torah teaching, music, chant circles and more to communities striving to foster a meaningful Judaism for their members, in which they can explore and embrace a wide variety of Jewish practice, culture and spirituality. She received smicha from the ALEPH Ordination Program and served as Chair of the ALEPH Alumni Council. She and her husband, Dillon, split time between residences and grandchildren in California, New York and Florida.
Ramat Shalom (Reconstructionist) Plantation, FL
Hazzan, 1982 – 2000
This synagogue was my first full time congregational job; it’s where I received my calling to the bimah. Weaving together ancient and new traditions, composing original liturgy, crafting our own rituals; these things reignited my passion for all things Jewish.
Congregation B’nai Israel (Independent) Vallejo, California
Religious Leader, 2000 – 2003
B’nai Israel is the only synagogue in its county (Solano) of nearly half a million people. It serves a saml, but wildly diverse population of Jewish (and non-Jewish) folks; I discovered my gift for creating authentically Jewish worship and learning that was accessible and relevant todiverse communities. By 2003 the congregation was thriving; at my request, we initiated a search for an ordained rabbi to fill my place.
Congregation Beth Shalom, (URJ) Napa, California
Hazzan/Director of Education, 2003-2008
Napa county is also home to only one synagogue. Helping this community re-engage in their worship through music and chant and witnessing all the creativity and growth that naturally flowed into other areas as a result was an amazing blessing. Average weekly attendance at Shabbat services increased by 60%- 80% in the first two years. My favorite, most popular education series were annual 6 – 8 week seminars on Jewish Spirituality, in preparation for the High Holy Days.
Congregation Shir Shalom, (URJ) Sonoma, CA
In 2009, I took a position as High Holiday hazzan for Congregation Shir Shalom and, unexpectedly stayed on as permanent rabbi. We shared space with a First Congregational Church which led us to be engaged in deep ecumenical and community work over the years with so many of our neighboring faith communities. The congregation was my lab for everything I was learning in the ALEPH ordination program and my support system throughout the process. I retired from congregational work in 2014 to travel and focus on sharing my music and teaching.