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Ari Schwarzberg

As Pepperdine’s rabbi-in-residence, Ari Schwarzberg serves students of all faiths

Pepperdine People

  • Pepperdine created the position about two and a half years ago in response to student requests for a Jewish mentor. “I’m grateful that this strong Christian university wants to cultivate the religious growth of non-Christian students,” says Schwarzberg.
  • Schwarzberg, who is the dean of students at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles, works with Pepperdine’s Jewish Culture Club to run the convocation where students study classical Jewish texts and ideas, often in comparison with Christian literature. He loves the chance to work with an interfaith group.
  • He wishes for college students to devote more attention to how their education shapes their spiritual journey and less on their professional and financial ambitions. For many students, Schwarzberg says that finding professional success overshadows the issue of “Who do I want to become?”
  • Schwarzberg finds that as a rabbi, being part of the community can sometimes be isolating. He says that for that reason, he thinks of himself more as an educator than a rabbi.
  • Schwarzberg believes that “any religion is going to be its best when its adherents are seriously committed to its values. Jews who are fully committed to Judaism will naturally be impacting the world positively, and the same applies to those of any faith.”
  • Pearl Jam’s “Immortality” is one of the rabbi’s favorite songs. “It’s a good one for the business of thinking about purpose and meaning.”
  • Schwarzberg finds that he can relate to young people on many levels. He’s an avid consumer of culture and music, and he says that his eating habits are still waiting to mature. “I tend to eat more like a teenager than an adult,” he admits. His sweet tooth is wide ranging, but in keeping with his love of rock, he can’t resist a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

Stage Secrets

The Pepperdine Music and Theatre Departments brought turn-of-the-century New York to the Smothers Theatre stage in multiple sold-out performances of Ragtime, where trap doors revealing hidden secrets and dynamic elements like a multipurpose piano surprised and delighted the audience each night.

Stage Secrets - Pepperdine Magazine


The Pepperdine community paid tribute to beloved Weisman Museum director Michael Zakian.



One of my all-time favorite professors. Thank you for expanding my appreciation for art and for your kindness and support.


Stellar human, tireless arts advocate, gifted teacher. Such a great loss.


A warm, intelligent soul that was a pillar of the California art scene. RIP dear friend.


A wonderful director and curator. His rediscovery of Agnes Pelton looms large!

Did You Know

As the University responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2,674 classes across all five schools were moved to a virtual online format.

Sound Bites

“To get the real perspective of this beautiful world, you have to leave it. As you look down on this earth, it is painfully obvious that we are all interconnected. We are all in this together.”


EVENT: An Evening with Astronaut Richard Arnold

“God gives you open doors, but he also gives you open windows. Doors are the easy-to-see moments of your journey. Windows are the special moments of opportunity that God puts in your path, but you have to be curious; you have to be present enough to see them.”


EVENT: Innovation to Impact: Leading Change in a Challenging Time

"You should own that a big part of your path is failure, not success. We’ve got a ‘failure wall’ in our office, and my quote is: ‘Failure, failure, failure, success.’ That’s the rhythm you’re looking for.”


EVENT: Graziadio Business School Executive Speaker Series

“I’ve always been impressed with leaders who are honest about what they know and what they don’t know. You need to ask questions and be curious and lean on the people around you who have that knowledge. They need to teach you.”


EVENT: Dean’s Executive Leadership Series

From the Archives

During the presidential campaign of 1964, the George Pepperdine College Young Democrats held an evening rally for the Johnson- Humphrey ticket on the patio next to Lawhorn Hall (left). On the right, members of the College’s Young Republicans march down 79th Street on the edge of campus in support of the Goldwater-Miller presidential campaign two weeks prior to the election.

From the Archives - Pepperdine Magazine