New SF Hebrew School

Dan Pine writes for

Rabbi Daniel Rabin loves to share memories of growing up Jewish in Johannesburg. He says the warmth, the close-knit community and the strong sense of tradition all typify the South African Jewish experience.

That’s exactly what Rabin wants to bring to L’Chaim Hebrew School, his new San Francisco institution for Jewish kids ages 5 to 13. The school is set to open officially Sept. 7.

“With a lot of [Hebrew] schools today, you have to be affiliated with a synagogue,” Rabin says. “But this is for anybody, to feed children knowledge they don’t get at home and school. We want to bring the South African style, which is very community-based, to San Francisco.”

L’Chaim will offer three basic programs. A two-hour Sunday school for kids ages 4 to 6, called First Step, introduces children to the holidays, prayer, Torah stories and elementary Hebrew. The regular Hebrew school, also two hours on Sundays, offers more advanced studies for ages 7 to 10. There is b’nai mitzvah training for kids 11 and up, much of it one-on-one tutoring.

Rabin runs the school with his wife, Sarah, a San Francisco native. Ordained at both Machon L’Horoah in Pretoria, South Africa, and Machon Ariel in Jerusalem, he comes to the Bay Area after a career in the kosher food industry, helping companies such as Kraft Foods with their kashrut compliance.

Yisroel Pensack emails Editor Marc Klein:

Whom does the Rabin family live with in SF?

Are Rabbi Rabin’s in-laws on welfare or receiving AFDC?  Are the Rabins?

Does the house they all live in contain a shul?

What is Rabbi Rabin’s wife’s maiden name?  What are the Rabin couple’s ages?

In view of Rabbi Rabin’s age, how can you write: "he comes to the Bay Area
after a career in the kosher food industry"?  What is the shortest work
period required for a job or business to qualify as "a career" nowadays?

How has Rabbi Rabin supported his family since they’ve been living here in
SF?  When did the Rabins relocate to SF, and why?  Where and when was the
Rabins’ wedding held, and who paid for it?  What hotel was it in?  How many
people/guests attended their wedding?  How much did their wedding cost?

Who, if anyone, pays Rabbi Rabin to be "working on outreach every day"?  How
does he afford to feed himself, his wife and their two young children?

Who are some of the children pictured on the L’Chaim Hebrew School website?

What is theBarah Institute, and who’s behind it?

Are the Rabins Chabad-Lubavitch chassidim?

Did you and/or Dan Pine know these things or think of these questions when
you ran this puff piece?

Marc Klein responds: "I’m sure you know that he is Rabbi Pil’s son-in-law. We didn’t want to get into all that. I had length conversation with Rabbi Langer about this. I decided to handle it straight and to keep it short."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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