Rabbi Jon Sommer

Rabbi Jon Sommer served in the United States Air Force, and began his professional training and work at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and later in Washington D.C. and at Air Force Space Command. He received the distinguished Air Force Achievement Medal. He is a graduate of both Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the University of California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and a Masters degree in Hebrew Letters. Rabbi Sommer was ordained in 1998, and currently serves on the board of a Reform Movement think-tank that addresses critical and timely issues facing modern Jewish thought and practice.

Rabbi Sommer received his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at UCSF – Mt. Zion. Because of its demands, needs, and rewards he understands Chaplaincy as the part of the Rabbinical profession which uniquely exemplifies Baruch Spinoza’s observation that “all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”


  • B.A. in Literature from University of California at Santa Cruz, 1989
  • Masters degree in Hebrew Letters, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Ordained in 1998.
  • U.S. Air Force: Captain, Rabbi, 1995 – 2011. Served at U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, CO), Pentagon and Bolling Air Force Base (Washington D.C.), and Air Force Space Command (Mountain View, CA).
  • Training in Clinical Pastoral Education. UCSF/Mt. Zion (Unit 1), 1996
  • Trained in Clinical Pastoral Education. SFTS (Unit 2), 2009
  • Member of Association of Jewish Studies
  • Past Board Member of The Polydox Institute

Accomplishments & Publications

  • Air Force Achievement Medal and Commendation. 1996
  • Rabbinical Masters Thesis: The Role and Function of Myth in Judean Identity and Nation Building. 1996
  • The CARE Writing Prize/ Doug Adams Gallery at the Badè Museum: Stewardship and the Prophetic Voice of the Artist. 2010
  • Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Though and Culture: A Rationalist Approach to Suffering. 2012
  • Cambridge Journals: Association of Jewish Studies Review: November, 2011.
  • The San Francisco Jewish Bulletin: “Rabbi Boteach Showed no Sensitivity to Mental Illness”, August 4, 2011.