The evening included a potluck dinner, numerous tributes to the rabbi, Israeli folk dancing, singing - and a Havdalah service.
Kertesz is the son of European refugees, grew up in El Cerrito and still lives in the family home there.
He graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon and joined a kibbutz in Israel for several years. He and his wife Carla Cassler have a daughter and son.
When the post of rabbi came open in 2006, Kertesz was selected from a large field of more experienced candidates.
"His decades of life experience, work with Jewish organizations, relaxed intelligence and desire to serve this community made him the winning candidate," a Temple Beth Hillel member said.
|Cantor Fran Burgess leads students in song at the celebration|