The Phoenix Community Kollel recently welcomed Rabbi Don Bacharach as its new rosh kollel and dean. He and his family moved to Phoenix the last week of December 2013: “We came at the best time – we left behind the cold Chicago winter!” he wrote in an email.
Before moving to the Valley, he visited twice to familiarize himself with the Jewish community and has already started the recruitment process to hire four new full-time rabbis and their families to join the kollel team.
“I have a deep-seated passion in two areas,” he wrote. “To connect with Jewish people in a real way and to share with my extended Jewish family what is most dear to me: Jewish education. A kollel provides a perfect opportunity to accomplish these goals.”
He describes a kollel as “an organization that harnesses the talents of a group of young families who are dedicated to continuously advance in their own studies and share their Torah knowledge with others in a warm, nonjudgmental, and upbeat environment.
“It is a privilege for me to enable the growth of Jewish education in the Greater Phoenix community.”
Bacharach studied at Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, where he received his master’s degree in Talmud law. He then moved to Jerusalem with his family to attend an advanced rabbinical study program and received smicha (ordination) there. He also has a life coaching certification and was a teacher at Ohr Sameach Yeshiva in Jerusalem and the rosh kollel/dean of a kollel in Buffalo Grove, Ill.
His wife, Dina, is the “true partner in the work I do,” he wrote. She has a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis on curriculum development, and has more than 10 years of experience in elementary through college-age and adult education. She also does freelance writing for various Jewish publications. The couple have four children.
“There is a fervent feeling of Jewish pride and desire for knowledge which I see here across all affiliations and ages,” he wrote. “Whether you’re Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, unaffiliated or somewhere in between, the kollel is your home for Jewish learning that is relevant, invigorating and inspiring. I look forward to further enhancing an already vibrant Jewish community.”