Rabbi Richard Zionts has served historic Reform congregations which include Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco, CA, Mickve Israel Temple, Savannah, GA and Temple B’nai Zion, Shreveport, LA. As a student rabbi, Zionts served a one- year internship at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St. John’s Wood, London, England.
In 2004, Rabbi Zionts founded Congregation Har-El in Palm Desert, CA, Member, and Union for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Zionts continues to serve as Founding and Presiding Rabbi.
Rabbi Zionts received his B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh and was invited into Phi Beta Kappa. He was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, also receiving his M.A. in Hebrew Letters.
Zionts earned a Ph.D. in the History of Late Antiquity with minors in Middle East Studies and Religious Studies at Penn State University, State College, PA.
Zionts’ academic profession has consisted of teaching at LSU, Penn State and Mt. Aloysius College, and during the last twenty years at Cal Poly-Pomona for thirteen years and to the present day, at College of the Desert, Palm Desert, CA where he has served on the faculty for eighteen (18) years.
Zionts considers his greatest accomplishment the establishment of an innovative Reform-Jewish congregation for the Coachella Valley emphasizing adult learning which continues to thrive.
Rabbi Zionts is married to Lynda Solomon Zionts and between them they have four children and nine grandchildren.