Getting to know Senior Rabbi for Rodeph Sholom Joshua Hearshen with this week's "10 questions"

TAMPA, FLA - Are you ever curious about the real lives of politicians, celebrities, local newsmakers and athletes?

Each week, ABC Action News asks 10 questions of a Bay area leader, politician or even national celebrity.

We go beyond the questions that are news of the day. After all sometimes, we want know more about them. What's their favorite music? Biggest regret? And who do they look up to?

During this time of the year as we celebrate the holidays, we wanted you to  get to know some of our religious leaders in our community. I reached out to all of you and received many suggestions, that we truly appreciate.

I could not feature everyone in these next few months, but I hope to profile all your suggestions throughout the New Year!

This week as many celebrated and marked the end Hanukkah, I am thrilled to feature a new senior rabbi in a well established synagogue in the Bay area.

Just last month, Congregation Rodeph Sholom hosted a celebration, formally introducing 34 year old Joshua Hearshen as the new senior rabbi.

Hearshen comes to the Bay area from New York, but is a native of Michigan.

He grew up in Detroit. He said as a young boy he knew that he wanted to become a rabbi, so he set on that path.

He graduated from Michigan State University. Then went on to receive his master's in rabbinic studies.

The rabbi's career began in a city that I actually spent a lot of my childhood in! I am from Washington state and the rabbi spent time as an assistant in Mercer Island. It is a beautiful city not far from Seattle.

From there, Hearshen served at a synagogue in New York. There, focused on innovative programming and established strong personal connections with all members in his community. A huge part of his goal was to bring young families, young adults and teenagers into synagogue life.

The rabbi is a strong believer in this philosophy, "A community prays together, socializes together, enjoys life together, learns together, and longs to be together when apart."

Hundreds in Tampa attended his installation ceremony back In November, including some well known faces, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen.

Synagogue officials said the rabbi opens a new chapter for this well established congregation.
Rodeph Sholom has been a part of this community for more than 110 years.

It was 1903 when a group of men first decided to form a synagogue. They named it Rodeph Sholom which means Pursuers of Peace.

The building now sits on the beautiful Bayshore Boulevard.

The rabbi is thrilled to be here at Rodeph Sholom in his first senior pastor position.

The rabbi met his wife Carrie in college, they have one daughter.

1. What is your all time favorite movie or song?

Star Wars is the movie

Song is Rocky Raccoon by The Beatles

2. Do you have a Smartphone? If so, what's your favorite app?

Yes, an IPhone 5S.  My favorite app is anything dealing with cooking

3. Who do you count as your mentor(s)?

My 4th grade Hebrew School Teacher Mr. Morton Wolin, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rabbi Martin Cohen, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

4. What was your very first job?

Hebrew School Teacher beginning in 8th grade… And I also began working at Baskin Robbins around that time.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I would love to be able to sing… I make dogs cry when I sing right now.  I also would love to be able to have a better memory.

6. What do you consider your greatest success?

My five year old daughter Ayelet

7. Tell us something about you most people don't know?

I was offered work with IBM right out of High School without going to college and turned them down.  I wanted to work with people.

8. If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would they be?

My wife of course… Well and…Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Any relative of mine from before my family emigrated from Europe (1800s)
Theodore Herzl

9. What is in your fridge right now?

Latkes (I made with my wife and daughter last night), Lemon Meringue Pie I made for Thanksgiving, Lots of ingredients to be transformed into great food.

10. If you could have a different career, other then what you're doing now, what would it be?

This is a tough question.  I love being a rabbi.  I guess I would either be a Tour Guide in Israel, a Psychologist/Social Worker or a Lawyer.  But of course I would first tryout for the NHL or head off to be a clown in the circus.
Please keep sending me your suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you!

If you would like to suggest someone for 10 questions you can e-mail me at . or "like" me on Facebook. To do that just head to ... and find me under the favorites tab and click the "like" button.

Sarina Fazan
News Anchor/Multimedia Journalist

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