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Class Notes May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2

The Life of a Rabbi
David Kornberg, ’89


After only a year at UCSD, David Kornberg, ’89, was unsure where his life would take him. He had entered the University as a pre-med but quickly pursued his growing interest in Judaic Studies. “It was some of the teachers at UCSD that made me realize that even though I had a background in Judaic studies, I still had a lot to learn,” Kornberg says.

Kornberg went about that learning with gusto. He spent his six years in Rabbinical School, studying in Los Angeles, Israel and New York. Then he returned to southern California in 1999 to become an associate rabbi for Carmel Valley’s Congregation Beth Am, made up of over 700 families.

Now the senior rabbi, Kornberg finds a large part of his days devoted to teaching people of all ages, from pre-schoolers to adults. He also provides counseling to members of his congregation, as well as leading Shabbat services and delivering sermons. “What I love most about being a rabbi is being able to connect with so many people in different ways,” Kornberg says.

Since his arrival, he has also instituted two new programs designed to guide people through the critical times of marriage and death. Congregation Beth Am’s Hevra Kaddisha program trains a group of people to properly prepare a body according to Jewish tradition in a process called Tahara. Another program teaches couples, engaged to be married, about communication and making a marriage work. “Judaism has a lot to offer people during major moments of their lives,” Kornberg says.

According to Kornberg, the biggest issue that communities continually deal with is how to bring two rich cultures— Jewish and American—together. “We are constantly keeping dialogue open,” Kornberg says, “and bringing both cultures together in a way they can be harmonized as opposed to being in opposition.”

— Marnette Federis, ’06

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"It was some of the teachers at UCSD that made me realize that even though I had a background in Judaic studies, I still had a lot to learn."