Congregation Adat Yeshurun of La Jolla is preparing for the historic installation of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Daniel and Brooke Reich from April 30 to May 2, cementing the milestone of the synagogue’s first rabbinic transition in its 34 year history.
La Jolla was forever changed in 1987 when a group of Orthodox observant Jews led by Rabbi Jeff Wohlgelernter established Adat Yeshurun, a vibrant, diverse, Orthodox community known for its welcoming atmosphere of caring and spiritual growth. Rabbi Wohlgelernter initially agreed to lead the synagogue for a year, but remained an energetic and beloved spark, brilliantly teaching and encouraging congregants, and creating one family bound by Torah for 34 years.
Following Rabbi Wohlgelernter’s retirement last year, Adat Yeshurun’s major annual fundraiser of 2021 will mark the official installation of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Reich, both in person and virtually with its multifaceted event, dubbed “Milestone.” The event includes a Zoom installation ceremony on Sunday evening that will feature a musical performance by Moshe Storch, who specializes in creating a spiritual and uplifting atmosphere. A pre-installation celebratory Shabbat at Adat Yeshurun will include services led by Storch and lectures from scholar-in-residence Rav Hershel Schachter, head of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS).
“We’ve come to know Rabbi Reich as a dedicated teacher of Torah, an inspirational leader in our prayer services, a spiritual guide in many of our lifecycle events, and an uplifting leader of our community,” said Brian Marcus, President of Adat Yeshurun. “Rabbi Reich’s vision for our community is clear, his stirring approach to his varied classes is always positive and inclusive, and his commitment to elevating our understanding of Judaism is unsurpassed, touching our hearts and our minds. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Reich have taken over the helm at Adat Yeshurun at this very difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have nevertheless continued to build on the legacy of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Wohlgerlernter.”
Born and raised in Edison, N.J., Rabbi Reich received his B.A. in History from Yeshiva University in New York City. He received his Semikhah (rabbinic ordination) from RIETS, as a member of their Honors Program. Rabbi Reich also completed a Certificate Program in Pastoral Mental Health Counseling.
“As a child, I can vividly remember the warm and loving interactions among my grandparents,” Rabbi Reich said. “It was a sight to see as my paternal grandfather, Saba Yehuda z”l, a Holocaust survivor, who spent his adolescence in Auschwitz, and his wife Savta Sarah a”h, a religious Libyan woman, would share a heartfelt interaction with my maternal grandmother, Mommom, a traditional Conservative Jew whose American roots in Somerville, N.J., date back to the 1870s. Through language and cultural barriers, they loved and respected each other. I knew this because they would each respectively educate me to love and respect every Jew and member of society, but even more so I knew this because I witnessed them, as well as my parents, live this way. This fundamental lesson that was fostered at a young age was a personal priority in my family and my community, and it was emphasized in the education I received. This has always been one of the driving forces behind my passion to become a rabbi, and how to lead a congregation.”
Rabbi Reich met his Rebbetzin, Brooke, a native of Englewood, N.J., when they were both completing their undergraduate studies at Yeshiva University. They have been married for seven years and currently live in La Jolla Shores with their two daughters, Leeba and Shira and their son, Asher. Brooke, a licensed Social Worker (LCSW), received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yeshiva University.
In addition to their roles as the Rabbi and Rebbetzin of Adat Yeshurun, the Reichs devote their time to San Diego’s local yeshivas. Brooke is a beloved Judaic Studies faculty member at San Diego Hebrew Day School, while Rabbi Reich teaches at Southern California Yeshiva High School and Torah High School.
For additional details on the rabbinic installation, watch the Adat Yeshurun website, www.adatyeshurun.org.