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Rabbi Cynthia Jane Minster

Rabbi Minster

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Rabbi Cynthia Jane Minster is honored to be Temple Israel’s spiritual leader. She moved to Alameda with her husband Chung-Mau Cheng, sons Jack and Ezra, and dog Minerva, in July, 2022 from Alhambra, California. 

Rabbi Minster earned a BA in Peace & Justice Studies from Wellesley College (2000), and an MA in Rabbinical Studies from the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, where she was also ordained (2022). Her thesis title was “Internal Growth, Human Relationships, and Reaching Towards God: The Concurrent Development of Ethics & Mysticism in Early Modern Jewish Texts.” Her work breaks new ground in explaining how mysticism forms the philosophical basis for the development of ethics. This exploration creates a clear basis for a modern, progressive approach to Judaism.  

Rabbi Minster's career took her from a public health consultancy firm to labor union organizing, to marketing, to software development. While working in advertising, she met the creative director who made it possible for her to pursue her dreams; her husband, Chung-Mau Cheng.

Her entire life, Rabbi Minster felt most at home and most at peace in Jewish prayer and Jewish community. Growing up, she was a choir member, B’nai Mitzvah tutor, and youth group leader. In the late 90s, a variety of factors led her away from organized religion. For over a decade, peace activism became her spiritual focus. Finding Rabbi Mordecai Finley and his unique synergy of rational intellectual history and spiritual practice reignited Rabbi Minster’s soul.

She served as the student rabbi and as a religious school teacher at Temple Beth David (TBD) of Temple City as well as the student chaplain at Methodist Hospital of Southern California. Rabbi Minster also attended Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute (DLTI), was a Shalom Hartman Institute iEngage Student Clergy Fellow, and a CLAL Leading Through Innovation participant.


Rabbi Steven Chester is married to Leona. They were married in 1969 and have two children, Adam and Shira. Adam and his wife, Keng, are the parents of Rabbi and Leona's granddaughters, Anna and Amanda.  Shira and her husband, Daniel, are the parents of Rabbi and Leona's granddaughter, Trinity.

Wed, June 12 2024 6 Sivan 5784