Over a three-day period, the OU West Coast Region was privileged to play host to OU Executive Vice President, Emeritus Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb in a variety of venues throughout the Los Angeles community. The uniqueness of this particular event was found not only in the volume of information that Rabbi Weinreb shared but also in the sheer breadth of expertise he displayed in his talks.
Diverse audiences had the opportunity to hear about philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, and of course, deep and insightful Torah thoughts. Rabbi Weinreb’s first talk was at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where a large auditorium filled to hear about “Jewish Values in Patient Care.” Over Shabbat, Rabbi Weinreb enthralled the community in North Beverly Hills with thoughts and stories about the contemporary issues of our day. The Shabbat culminated in a reception for the Los Angeles Trustee Society at the home of our West Coast President, Dr. Steven and Linda Tabak, where Rabbi Weinreb continued his discussion of the mesorah in a more intimate setting.
Capping the weekend was Rabbi Weinreb’s talk at the West Coast Youth Professionals Summit, at which youth professionals from across the West Coast were able to both listen to and interact with Rabbi Weinreb on a variety of timely topics dealing with the future of the Jewish people.
The feedback from the weekend was universally positive. One local rabbi told our office that the Sunday lecture was one of his most meaningful experiences in recent memory. Doctors, chaplains and community members at Cedars-Sinai from across the religious spectrum raved about the way that Rabbi Weinreb weaved sources and thoughts together throughout his talk, while the members of the community who heard him over Shabbat and Motzei Shabbat left asking for more.
Rabbi Weinreb declared, “I try to address a variety of topics, and usually mention the many ‘hats’ that I wear. But the real message is that Judaism is relevant to the full range of human experiences. In Los Angeles, I tried to show the connection of Torah to grief, poetry, religious experience, pluralism, philosophy, joy, modernity, adolescence, music, and especially the tsunami and the horrible murders in Itamar, Israel. Thankfully, the audiences in Los Angles were so welcoming that I felt totally comfortable in delivering that complex message.”
Rabbi Weinreb’s visit is an example of the programming of the West Coast office and our constituent communities have many more events to look forward to in the future in Los Angeles and throughout the Region.
Stay tuned! Shabbat Shalom is working to obtain video recordings of Rabbi Weinreb’s talks. They will be made available for full viewing online from the OU’s web site.
Rabbi Adir Posy is Assistant Director of OU West Coast.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.