Sign In Forgot Password

Some History of YI San Diego

In 1988, three families (the Ziffs, the Shermans and the Tehranis), living on the north side of the Interstate 8 in Del Cerro and San Carlos, casually began discussing their hopes to have a place to pray close to their homes. They sought advice from a few Rabbis including Rabbi Bradiwitz and Rabbi Korobkin. In 1989, these families made their wish come true with the part-time leadership of Rabbi Daniel Korobkin. 
They began meeting and holding services first in the home of the Tehrani family. Shortly after, the group shared the rent of another house with the Ben Chayim family. In the words of the first president, Yossi (Dean) Ziff, they kept their minyanim on Shabbat going by knocking on doors and canvassing Jewish neighbors to help fulfill the mitzvot of praying and filling the count. 
Regular attendance for Shabbat services grew and a weekly class on the Ramchal's Derech Hashem provided by Rabbi Korobkin was so popular, it regularly attracted 30-40 people. This group of founding members included the following families:  Ziff, Sherman, Tehrani, Ben Chayim, Meyer, G. Sonabend, A. Sonabend, Kugler, Magen, Winter, Weiss, Barlarsky, Wachtel, Berkowitz and Goodwin.  These families together with Rabbi Korobkin, applied to the National Young Israel Movement for membership and the group was accepted into the organization.
 After two years, due to city zoning compliance, the new Young Israel of San Diego rented a small office front in a commercial building at the corner of Jackson and Navajo Road in San Carlos.  Within six months, the space was too small. Young Israel Congregation moved into a larger suite in the same building. The growing pains continued. The next move brought Young Israel to the Realty Executive building at the corner of Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road. By now, the shul was thriving with Shabbat and holiday services, classes, an afternoon Talmud Torah for children, special events and life cycle events. This was the early golden days that included a concert by the infamous Jews Brothers. Soon, in 1993, the congregation would face a challenging blow to the leadership when Rabbi Korobkin and President Ziff moved away at the same time. 
The Shul was blessed with two new leaders: Rabbi Elchanon Snyder came onboard, and Richard Goodwin became President. The good times continued. New families moved to the neighborhood, families already living in the area became more observant, and other families had more children.  There were B’rit Milahs, Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, classes and special events. There were also sad times because included in those life cycle events, came the passing of active and beloved members and the moving away of more families. In 1988, Rabbi Snyder and his family moved to New York.  Rabbi Chaim Hollander became the congregation's new spiritual leader. As the current Rabbi, he leads the congregation to this day celebrating 20 years. 
The growth continued and the members came and members moved away remaining lifetime friends and honorable lifetime members of the Young Israel of San Diego community. In 1999, Rich Goodwin turned over the Presidency to Dr. Edward Federman. The space for the Shul became too small. In the summer of 2002, the Shul rented space in its current location at 7289 Navajo Road.  There was much construction to ready this location for the community. Shabbat services were held even when the facility wasn’t complete. The members were happy to work together to fill the unfinished house of prayer. Additional generous donations by many allowed the builders to make purchases, install furniture and carpeting, and custom-build a beautiful Aron Kodesh and mechitzah. The services for the High Holy Days took place although there was still work to complete. Many members thought the Synagogue should no longer rent property and to try and purchase their own property. The timing, however, just wasn’t right. All of the commercial real estate in San Carlos and Del Cerro was at its peak in price and the investment wasn’t feasible at that time.
The current facility has a main room that is used for the sanctuary, meetings and banquets that accommodates up to 200 people. There is a children’s play room, an office, a kitchen that is equipped with a stove, refrigerator and separated sinks for meat and dairy, separate restroom facilities for men and women, and three storage rooms. There are many occasions when this facility is full to capacity. 
That is the history of the Young Israel of San Diego for the first 30 years.  This story is, by no means, at an end.  There is still the matter of a permanent home, an eruv, a mikvah, more classes including Jewish History, more services, more holidays, more special events and more life cycle events.


Sun, November 27 2022 3 Kislev 5783