15905 Pomerado Road, Poway
Rabbi: David Castiglione
Born: Brooklyn, NY
Formation: Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio
Ordained: 18 years
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Rabbi David Castiglione: It all depends. It can be anywhere from one hour to two hours. For the High Holy Days, writing can take weeks. Sermons revolve around what’s happening currently in the world, and I draw from scriptural and rabbinic sources, from the lessons they offer, to show the ways in which the Jewish tradition guides us.
SDR: What is the mission of Temple Adat Shalom?
RD: Mission one of Temple Adat Shalom is to be a center for Reform Progressive Judaism in the Jewish community in North County Inland. We’re the only Reform temple in North County Inland, so we have a tremendous responsibility for those seeking to experience and live Jewish tradition as we approach it. We are also driven to uphold the values of Reform Judaism, providing access to members of the Jewish faith and also to those outside the Jewish faith; providing outreach to the larger community through healing services such as providing shelter for the homeless or food and volunteer services for food banks.
SDR: What is it that concerns you as a member of the clergy?
RD: Without speaking on behalf of my congregation, but rather personally, I am deeply troubled at the growing rate of intolerance within our country. I am deeply troubled by corporate greed that ignores the biblical command to look after the poor, the marginalized and those who don’t have a voice, and that calls for justice within our gates.
SDR: Why did you become a rabbi?
RD: I always knew that this is where I was going to be. It was not a calling where I heard a voice come from Heaven saying, “David, get up and be thou a rabbi!” Rather, it was where I fit best. There are lots of things I love doing in life. If I could spend my life as a landscaper, I’d be perfectly happy. If I could have been a forest ranger, I would have been living a dream. But these things wouldn’t fulfill what I believe I’m supposed to do. God gives each of us certain gifts and then God says, “Okay, here you are. Now, don’t let Me down.”
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
RD: To be perfectly honest, Judaism doesn’t worry about that question, which is not to say we don’t have ideas about it in our folk tradition. But Jewish Scripture, the five books of Moses, are not worried about it. Rather, it’s concerned about our time here on Earth — about that which we have control over. If you do what’s expected of you, you will ultimately do well in eternity. I am convinced the soul is eternal, as the story of creation tells us. As we are created out of the dust of the Earth, our inanimate body will return to the Earth, but the breath of God breathed into it will continue on — in what form I don’t know. But it will be the same for everyone. I don’t believe in a Heaven of reward and a Hell of punishment. Until someone comes back this way to tell us otherwise, I can only assume that I should only worry about what is mine to worry about — that is, mainly today and tomorrow.