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Lipner & Yasgur, Meyerson, Wettstein Families

 

Joey Lipner, Attorney, Professor

Abigail Yasgur, Librarian, Development Professional

Emma, 23, talent placement professional, New York City; Max, 21, sophomore Boston University; Rose, 17, senior Shalhevet High School

Members since 1991 

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Barbara Wettstein, Psychologist
 
Howard Wettstein, Professor of Philosophy
 
Members since 1998
                                                                         
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Eve Wettstein Meyerson, Clinical Social Worker, Gerontologist
 
Gabriel Meyerson, Jewish Educator
 
Rafi, 8 and Lavi, 3
 
 Members since 2009
 
 

Abigail Yasgur and Joey Lipner were the first in this four-generation family to come to B’nai David-Judea, along with Rabbi Danny Landes back in 1991. Along with many other committed and passionate then-young professionals, they helped revitalize the congregation. Their involvement only deepened as their three children grew up in the community, learning in the Gesher b’nai mitzvah program and going from children to counselors in Rechov Yeladim. Joey frequently offers his own drashot from the bima, providing laughter along with powerful words of Torah. Abby, a former president of BDJ, continues to work behind the scenes to, as she puts it “support a magical place.”

As Joey puts it, BDJ “feels like an adventure, not just a shul. We are on a religious quest here to make ourselves, the Jewish people and the entire world better in every way.”

So perhaps it was inevitable that Joey’s sister, Barbara Wettstein, would begin to attend the shul along with her husband, Howie. After moving to Pico-Robertson from the Inland Empire, they tried to find a spiritual home to settle into. For them, too, it was the people in the community that drew them in instantly — the openness not only to creating new relationships, but also new ideas. By the time the Wettsteins joined the shul, their children had already left the house. “We felt very much at home from the beginning,” Barbara said. “For me it was like the shul we grew up in. We were integrated with people of all ages, of all kinds of backgrounds.” Both Barbara and Howie have long been drawn by the parade of impressive scholars in residence the shul brings in each year. Education does not stop there — for more than a decade, Barbara has attended Rav Yosef’s Gemara shiur. “I had a day school education, but I never had a chance to learn Gemara at all and I was always very curious about it. To have an opportunity to do that in a way that is accessible, inside and up close for myself is something very special.”

Soon after her parents found a home at BDJ, Eve Meyerson began coming while she was a senior at UCLA. After graduating, she later moved to Jerusalem to study the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, where she met her husband, Gabe. When the couple returned to Los Angeles with their then 2-year-old son Rafi, there was no question that they too would find a home at BDJ. “We all love the shul for the people, and we all unify around Rav Yosef, who is morally sound, thoughtful and pushes people to being their best selves,” Eve said. With the arrival of Morateinu Alissa, she added, the community has become even more special. “She’s a natural at making the community aware of things that Orthodox Judaism has struggled to acknowledge, from post-partum depression to the experience of caring for older family members.”

Now that the matriarch of the family, Sara Lipner, moved from her home in Teaneck to join her children living in LA, the clan is one of a handful of four-generation families at B’nai-David Judea. During Rosh Hashana of 5776 every one of of them davened in the sanctuary.

“Rav Yosef is one of the most sincere spiritual personalities I know. He has all the good values of Torah and kindness and is such a positive force,” Abby adds. “I also love the range of people we have at BDJ. Every person is committed to making their own special and wonderful contributions to the shul.”

 

Sat, September 22 2018 13 Tishrei 5779