Clergy and Staff

Rabbi Alan Lachtman DHL, MFCT, LTC  ret was born in San Francisco. He has been our beloved Rabbi since 1976. He and his wife, Ellen, serve the congregation with warmth, dedication and a spirit of inclusion. Rabbi Lachtman has a degree in Marriage Family Child Therapy. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Army Reserves. He teaches at the University of Judaism, the American Jewish Committee and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Hebrew Union College honored him with a Doctorate of Divinity in 1999. He was voted best Rabbi by the readership of the Pasadena Weekly.

Our Rabbi will be honored for his 42-plus years as Temple Beth David’s spiritual leader and for the tremendous contributions he has made within our community at the 2018 Honoring Community Leaders brunch, on Sunday, October 21, 2018. JLife SGPV had the opportunity to sit down and speak with him on a wide range of topics ahead of his receiving the Jewish Federation’s honor and as a chance for him to reflect back on his career that has spanned five decades in the community. To read the interview, click here

Rabbi Alan Lachtman


Cantor Lilah Sugarman believes in empowering individual voices to create inclusive sacred communities through song, study, celebration, and tzedakah. Cantor Lilah was raised in Los Angeles where she grew up working and volunteering at her home synagogue, Kehillat Israel. Her family and synagogue community fostered a deep love for Judaism, learning, and music. She attended San Diego State University where she graduated with high honors in Music, English, and Dance. Cantor Lilah received her Master of Sacred Music and ordination from the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion.

In addition to her love for Jewish music, Cantor Lilah is also passionate about learning and teaching Torah. She has been a Jewish educator teaching children and adults for ten years. Cantor Lilah received the Advanced Pedagogic Award from the San Diego JCC two years in a row. Additionally, in collaboration with Rabbi Molly Kane she rewrote the religious school curriculum for Brooklyn Heights Synagogue. Cantor Lilah’s poetry is published in the San Diego
Poetry Annual.

In the Book of Psalms, it is written: “Let them Praise God’s Name in Dance.” This text speaks to Lilah’s interest in engaging in full-body Judaism that engages the mind, body and spirit. She explores this idea in the intersection of movement and prayer in the way she leads prayer, teaches music, and through teaching Jewish yoga classes. Cantor Lilah is a 200-hour certified Vinyasa yoga instructor, and also studied with Rabbi Myriam Klotz, a leader in Jewish yoga. She has lead Jewish yoga programs, classes, and services in schools and synagogues in New York and Los Angeles.

Cantor Lilah has served communities in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Colorado, and Los Angeles. Cantor Lilah lives in Los Angeles with her husband Ben and their three cats. Ben is a social worker and works at Pacific Clinics in South Los Angeles. Together Cantor Lilah and Ben love to cook, read, practice yoga, and explore the outdoors.


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Education Director Gal Kessler Rohs joins us with bundles of energy, and passion for the world of children, families, community, education, Judaism and religion. Her experiences are from London, Tel Aviv, New York and Los Angeles. Gal grew up in Israel and London, served in the Israeli Air Force, attended Tel Aviv University, and then relocated to New York where she completed her Masters at the renowned Teachers College at Columbia University. Gal is a certified California Program Director, who believes in the “Children First” philosophy. Gal anticipates rolling up her sleeves, and, yes, engaging in messy hands-on activities with Temple Beth David’s children and families! Read the latest from our Education Director.