Rabbi Elliot Kukla

Rabbi Elliot Kukla was ordained by Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 2006 and trained in chaplaincy at UCSF Medical Center in 2007. Elliot’s articles and ideas on gender diversity, chronic illness, and healing are published in numerous magazines and anthologized widely including in the New York Times, and his work as a rabbi has been featured nationally, including in the Washington Post and National Geographic. His liturgy that marks loss and transition appear in numerous prayer books and are used in synagogues across the country. He has served as adjunct faculty in pastoral care at Starr King School for the Ministry (a part of the Graduate Theological Seminary of UC Berkeley).

Before joining the Healing Center’s rabbinic team, Rabbi Kukla organized for economic justice with Clergy and Laity for Economic Justice (CLUE), and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. He has a BA in Religion and Fine Art from the University of Toronto and before attending rabbinical school he worked as an arts journalist in Toronto. He is a painter and enjoys integrating visual art into his work with clients. Elliot lives in Oakland with his wife, son, and a menagerie of animals.


  • B.A. in Religion and Fine Art from the University of Toronto
  • Masters degree in Hebrew letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion(2004). Ordained in 2006.
  • Clinical Pastoral Education Level 1 and Level 2 certification from UCSF Medical Center (2007) and San Francisco Theological Seminary
  • Trained in community organizing with the Jewish Funds for Justice (2006) and through Interfaith worker’s Seminary Summer (2005)

Accomplishments & Publications

  • Magazine and Journal Articles appear in: “The New York Times”, “The Body is Not an Apology”, “The Jewish Daily Forward”, “The CCAR Journal”; “Zeek: A Journal of Jewish Thought and Culture”; “Sh’ma a Journal of Jewish Responsibility (co-written with Judith Plaskow)”; “Lilith Magazine”; Guest editor (with Rabbi Eric Weiss) of a special issue of Zeek “The spirituality of Healing”
  • Contributing writer to a number of anthologies and prayer books including: Mishkan Refuah, ed. by Rabbi Eric Weiss et al, URJ Press, 2012; “Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding”, ed. by Nancy Weiner, URJ press, 2012; “Balancing on the Mechitza”, ed. Noach Dzumra, North Atlantic Books, 2011; “The Passionate Torah”, ed. Danya Ruttenberg, NYU Press 2010; “Torah Queeries” ed. Gregg Drinkwater et al, NYU Press, 2009; “Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice” ed. Or Rose et al., Jewish Lights 2008
  • Guest adjunct faculty in pastoral care at Starr King School for the Ministry, Graduate Theological Seminary of UC Berkeley, 2009