About Rabbi Steve

Shalom! My name is Rabbi Steve Finley and I have the great honor and privilege to serve as rabbi of Congregation Shir Shalom. Allow me to share a few words about myself...


My early childhood, I grew up in Compton, California but eventually my family moved to the neighboring town of North Long Beach, where I graduated from high school. Soon after, I ventured off to Israel, and in 1980, at age twenty I obtained Israeli citizenship and settled in to kibbutz life in the beautiful Jezreel Valley.

After my army service, I began my higher education, earning a BAEd in Linguistics and English Literature as well as acquiring teaching credentials. Over the ensuing ten years, I taught elementary, middle and high school English on our kibbutz and in Arab Christian and Arab Muslim towns and villages.

Returning to Southern California in 1999, I began to work in the Los Angeles Jewish community as I furthered my education. Within a few years, I had earned a master’s degree in education at the American Jewish University. From there, I decided to enroll in rabbinical school, and in 2009, I received my ordination at the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA.

My first position came a year later when I was hired by the Beth Israel Community Center in Mexico City, Mexico. I had an incredible experience, serving in full capacity in all aspects of the religious and spiritual life of the community. When this contracted time came to an end, I had the good fortune to receive an offer here in the beautiful town of Sonoma, California with Congregation Shir Shalom.

My wife Yaffa and I have a daughter, Ayelet, living in Los Angeles with her husband Michael and their daughters – Libby and Mia. Our older son, Yonatan, lives in Israel with his wife Roni and their son, Binaya. Our youngest, Ben, graduated high school here in Sonoma in 2017. .

Rabbi Steve Finley / February - 2018