27 Farewells to Rabbi Greg
A 27 Week Celebration of 27 years of Greg in Our ConGREGation
These are the responses from HAVERIM; thank you for your support and participation in our 60th Anniversary and a Farewell Celebration in honor of Rabbi Greg’s 27 years of service.
For nearly half of Congregation Bet Haverim’s rich and rewarding 60-year history, Rabbi Greg Wolfe has nurtured and inspired our partners and our community, transforming Jewish life in Yolo County. He always has believed in the divine spark that each of us holds to elevate our Jewish experience, individually and collectively. We reflect on his impact upon CBH with deep gratitude for what his investment in us has accomplished and made possible.
From small-and-meaningful to community-wide, we’re providing weekly means to engage in recognizing Rabbi Greg, and building for our future together. Please follow this link for the other aspects of our campaign.
Haverim have shared memories of Rabbi Greg and how you impacted each other.
Please contact the office if you have questions about photo formats or need assistance with scanning a print.
Thank you for sharing your memories with the CBH at 60 campaign, and our haverim
“From the first Friday night in 1997 that we arrived for Tot Shabbat, our family has felt completely enveloped in the welcoming embrace of Rabbi Greg and his own family. With a then 4-year-old and 2-year-old to match our own, the kids raced over-and-over through the ‘secret’ passageway in the bima (still the same bima!) at the old Oak Avenue synagogue, as we learned together Bim Bam, David Melech Yisrael, Mi Kamocha, and Shalom Haverim.
The rituals and routines – formal and informal – that sprouted from that very first evening together shaped and changed our lives as a family and as individuals from that moment forward. By the time of our third son’s birth and bris in this 2003 photo, not only was Greg our rabbi, he, Julie, Ariella, and Noah were extended family. And, for the past nearly 10 years, we’ve been fortunate to add ‘neighbor’ to his title!
Rabbi Greg’s influence upon our family and our lives has been profound. All of us have people we meet in our life’s journey who are pivotal to the humans we become and the trajectory of our lives thereafter. Indelibly for the Cohan family, Rabbi Greg Wolfe is such a transformational person.”
Week Two: The Frank-Bobell Family
Greg, I appreciate all you have done for our community and our family specifically. You have touched the lives of me, Michael, my parents, and our children in so many different ways and during so many of our important life events. You are always warm, kind, and caring, and have a gift of bringing people together with such ease and grace. May this next stage of your life be a true blessing for you and your whole family. We will miss you and always be grateful for all our times together.
I first met Greg at Berkeley when he was a senior and I was a freshman. My memory was of a warm and GREGarious person. Imagine my surprise when first stepping into CBH and there was Greg with a warm hug and big smile. Over the 25 years I’ve been in Davis, he has been my neighbor, friend, partner in CBH work, my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah and my son’s Brit Milah guide (Ben has forgiven you). What I love about him is that every conversation starts with creating relationship first. I’ll miss him dearly, but know that this isn’t Shalom, just L’hitraot.
It was during High Holidays in 1998 or 1999… a long time ago.
Rabbi Greg stepped up to the bimah at the Veterans’ Memorial Hall to deliver his sermon. He spoke about our wonderful community and how there were so many ways that we could grow together. But, he lamented, our building on Oak Avenue was so small that we had meetings and activities happening all the time on top of one another. He said: “I want to dream with you about what our community could be.” Rabbi Greg then challenged us to find or build a new campus that would match our dreams and create a bright future for our kehilla kedusha, our holy community.
At the end of the service, Larry Rappaport and I approached the bimah and said to Rabbi Greg: “Let’s do it! We’re in!” That was the beginning of the building campaign that allowed us to purchase this wonderful campus, including the Social Hall which Larry (who co-chaired the Building Campaign with Candace Naliboff) and Rabbi Greg dedicated together in this photo. Thanks to Rabbi Greg’s vision and countless hours of hard work by our entire community, CBH has realized that bright future, with more and better to come!
Larry and I have been married for 58 years. Eight years ago, Rabbi Greg, you planned and presided over our fiftieth wedding anniversary. It was really an ambitious wedding ceremony. It was much more than I thought of doing, but I’m glad it happened that way, since we did not have a formal wedding to begin with. Thanks to you, Rabbi, it was a memorable event for us, our family, and our friends to cherish always. Our granddaughter, Rebecca, decorated our Ketubah with Dahlia flowers, petals, and with music notes for Larry. (In the photo, you and Rebecca are examining the Ketubah.)
I will miss you, Rabbi, especially on Saturdays, because I attended Torah study sessions for many years and loved them. You know how to lead discussions with a gentle touch, a smile, understanding, and wisdom.
I will also miss our Torah service partnership. I would read five portions and leave for you only two. I hope you will forgive me…
Larry and I wish you, Rabbi Greg, much luck in your new chapter in life, after so many devoted years of service to our Bet Haverim community.
Fondly – Dalia and Larry
In the Loeb Williams family, we call Rabbi Greg simply, “our” Rabbi and “the” Rabbi. He has been with us through the most wonderful moments: Max’s consecration and naming, Max’s bar mitzvah, the congregational trip to Israel, Max’s confirmation, Nancy’s b’nai mitzvah. And, too, at the saddest moments: the loss of Nancy’s parents. Nothing has nourished our attachment to Judaism, as a Jewish family with one non-Jewish member, as much as our deep personal connection with our Rabbi.
This beautiful photo depicts that singular relationship; the festive kiddush luncheon for Max’s bar mitzvah in December 2010 and there is Rabbi Greg, food in hand, with Max’s arms wrapped tightly around his waist. It speaks of warmth and safety and the way that Rabbi Greg is so present in the moment, letting this very young man on his most special day feel his Rabbi’s devotion.
We thank you for all you have done for our family over these past fifteen years and look forward to seeing the future you and your family will forge.
Nancy, Bill and Max
I will always remember Rabbi Greg’s loving support when our son, Daniel, died in 2004. Greg came down to Fresno, where Daniel and his family lived, and conducted the funeral service and then showed up each evening for shiva to lead the shiva service and kaddish in our home in Davis. Nothing could be more meaningful than this kind of support in our hour of greatest need.
In addition, I have such fond memories of meeting with Rabbi Greg every month for approximately 10 years as part of the Kol HaNefesh committee. We could count on Greg, who was always an inspiration, to be supportive and helpful in the planning and organizing of all our programs. He contributed as just one more committee member as well as in the capacity as rabbi of the congregation. Among my fondest memories were those in connection with the Yom Kippur afternoon contemplative offering between morning services and N’eilah. We met in the Social Hall, always with a full circle of 60 or 70 participants, and Greg, among other things, always brought us through the conclusion of the ritual under a talit. We could count on his words to be comforting and moving to all. This is an image I hold dear to my heart.
I will remember Rabbi Greg fondly and wish him all the best in the next phase of his life.
Rabbi Greg is the first Rabbi I have ever met, and I had no idea what to expect. His gregarious nature has facilitated an easy working relationship. That he likes wild sox and has engaged in abstract painting in his free time has been a wonderful surprise!.
Before I worked here, I was familiar with the Rabbi who spoke at rallies and public events, and he seemed like a warm and welcoming fellow. I knew that having a positive relationship with him was going to be critical.
I was relieved when I found out what Rabbi Greg was like on a day-to-day basis: sharing, engaging, humorous, and interested my journey through the world. I also realized, after two weeks, that the books in his office, on his bench, and in the bookshelves in the library were not out of place; they were just waiting for a permanent home.
Greg: two words come to mind – Jewish Geography! And, finally we meet and work together in person… well, on Zoom mostly, sometimes masked, and at Peet’s outside, maybe once inside for the minute that COVID wasn’t a risk. It’s been a pleasure – your energy, creativity, enthusiasm and all the good jokes provided light during these difficult few years!
As an interfaith family, we felt very welcomed by Rabbi Greg, especially since he and Tom could “see eye to eye;” they were often among the tallest men in the room.
There was something magical which happened at Camp Swig when Rabbi Greg was the director. The facilities were crumbling and decrepit, but the programs and the people were so inspiring. The music we heard there resonates through our Songleaders services today. The silk-painting techniques we learned there have been passed on to many creators, including Debbie who designed her own tallit for her Bat Mitzvah. We were so fortunate to bring Rabbi Greg to Davis to be our rabbi for these many years.
He is a true partner; in music and Israel programs, and in past years in interfaith and youth programs. Anything we could envision he would support, and when he had a goal for a program, or a musical idea, it was a pleasure to bring his wishes into reality.
Looking forward to many more partnerships in the future with our Rabbi Greg as emeritus.
Sarah, Tom, David and Debbie Pattison
Like so many other families at Bet Haverim, Rabbi Greg’s greatest impact for us has been his influence on our children and helping them to connect with their Jewish identity. The warm and welcoming environment that he helped create at Bet Haverim provided a wonderful foundation that resulted in both of our children continuing to engage in their Jewish communities as educators. I was pregnant with our son, Tim, and our daughter, Valerie, had just started Sunday school when Rabbi Greg came to Bet Haverim. Today, Valerie is studying to become a Jewish educator at Pardes Institute in Jersualem and will be teaching in the US this coming fall. Tim has come full circle from being a student of Rabbi Greg’s to becoming his co-worker at CBH’s Religious School!
– Betsy Elzufon, Steve, Valerie, and Tim Brown