When Rabbi Beau Shapiro told his parents he wanted to attend rabbinical school, they did a spit take with their chardonnay. Turning to his father, his mother asked, “Where did we go wrong?”
The answer, of course, is they didn’t.
Since that pivotal moment, Rabbi Shapiro has become a vital part of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, a member of our clergy who partakes in every important aspect of congregants’ lives.
“Being invited into people’s lives at some of the most significant moments is very special,” he said. “It’s a privilege; it’s an honor, and I love it.”
In addition to his pulpit responsibilities, Rabbi Shapiro oversees Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s social service programming and the Karsh Family Social Service Center, a co-located, integrated, social-service center adjoining the mid-town Glazer campus that opened in 2016.
“We don’t have to look beyond the morning paper or the evening news to see the brokenness in our world and the Jewish response to that brokenness is to do something to help fix it—tikkun olam,” he said, citing a core Jewish value that has a physical presence at the Temple unlike any other synagogue in the world.
The Karsh Center brings together nearly two dozen social service providers and most importantly, gives volunteers the opportunity to use their time and talent to help those in need. “Having had the chance to conceptualize and create the Karsh Center is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said, "and we’re just getting started.”
Rabbi Shapiro joined the Temple family in 2003 as the music specialist and song leader in the Religious School. Since then, he has taught music, Judaica and Hebrew in the Temple schools and served as a Judaic educator and student rabbi at its camps. As a part of his rabbinic training, he served as the Temple’s Rabbinic Intern from 2009-2011.
A California native, Rabbi Shapiro holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Hebrew letters from the Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion, where he was ordained in 2011.
Rabbi Shapiro sat on the board of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, ARZA; is a past president of the Wilshire Center Interfaith Council and currently sits on the Interreligious Council of Southern California, the Professional Development Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the board of NECHAMA – Jewish Response to Disaster.
From the pulpit to the Karsh Center and the Temple’s Disaster Response Team, he strives to bring people together to engage in meaningful work and experience the pride and warmth of our Jewish community.
Rabbi Shapiro grew up in Santa Barbara, California where his family still resides. He and his wife Ashley, are the parents of a young daughter. He is also an avid golfer whose office is adorned with vintage golf photography and memorabilia.