Our Clergy

Richard A. Zionts, Ph.D

Rabbi Richard Zionts has resided in the Desert for two decades.
The Founding and Presiding Rabbi of Har-El, Member, Union for Reform Judaism, says that these two decades have been the most rewarding years of his professional career.
Dedicated to promoting lifelong Jewish learning, he has served on faculties of higher education with eight years at Penn State University and Cal Poly, Pomona for thirteen years. He begins his twentieth year at College of the Desert.
Rabbi Zionts graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pittsburgh and received his rabbinic ordination with a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, OH where he also received the degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Rabbi Zionts holds a Ph.D. from Penn State University in the History and Philosophy of Late Antiquity with minors in Religious and Middle East Studies.
Married to Lynda, between them they have four children and nine grandchildren

Joseph D. Gole

Hazzan Joseph Gole currently officiates at Friday night Shabbat Services at Har El Congregation in Palm Desert.   For the High Holy Days, he officiates at Temple Israel in Great Neck, New York.  He is Cantor Emeritus of Sinai Temple where he served as cantor for over twenty-two years.  For eighteen years, he was the Cantor of Congregation Mogen David in West Los Angeles.  A native of Southern California, Cantor Gole attended the University of Judaism, Hebrew Union College, and received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California. The recipient of an honorary doctorate in music from the Jewish Theological Seminary in December of 2008, he has served as a cantor for over five decades.

He served as the International President of the Cantors Assembly – the largest professional organization of cantors in the world with 550 members and was a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Cantor Gole is a featured cantor in the recently released documentary film – 100 Voices – a Journey Home.