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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  ( has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.

I’m writing this blog while sitting in Ben Gurion Airport waiting to board my flight back to San Francisco. Understandably, I have a lot of mixed emotions. As you know, Israel has been going through a very challenging time with daily attacks by knife wielding Palestinians. People are on edge. No one knows when and where the next assault will be. Everyone has become quite vigilant.  Some have armed themselves with a variety of easily accessible defense devices such as: pepper spray, bats/broom sticks, nunchakus, umbrellas and even rolling pins (I’m serious).

Despite all this, life goes on, and it goes on with gusto and enthusiasm. People are determined to not let the terrorism significantly alter the way they live. The atmosphere is at one and the same time both cautious and sort of carefree. Personally, I find it quite exciting and inspiring. This is juxtaposed with the heavy heartedness of having to leave my children, grandchildren, three brothers and their extended families.

However, I very much look forward to returning to San Francisco. As wonderful as Israel is, I find that when it comes to where I feel that I can make a difference - San Francisco is the place I’m meant to be. Having completed two and a half years at Adath Israel, I have a good handle on who’s who, what’s what and where we need to go. The big question is- HOW?

I knew from the beginning that nurturing traditional Judaism in SF was going to be a serious challenge. Yet I’m still confident that it can be done. Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how WE can create a vibrant traditional community. It’s not a one man/woman job. It is going to take the time, effort, energy and resources of a group of people who are committed to making OUR community a place where our children will want to live. If you are interested in not just surviving Jewishly here in SF, but thriving, please give me a call – let’s get together and begin working on the future.