Rabbi David Rebibo first toured Phoenix in 1964 while investigating the possibility of starting a Jewish day school. Rebibo was there at the behest of a small cadre of Jewish families in the Valley that had contacted Torah Umesorah – National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, a well-regarded Orthodox charity promoting Torah-based Jewish education in North America, to seek its assistance in starting a school. The charity’s director, Joseph Kaminetsky, enlisted Rebibo to scout the area and determine whether to proceed.

The young Rebibo arrived in a desert city with a population of 10,000 Jews, give or take, most of whom were not observant. In fact, even the act of keeping kosher was a challenge due to limited resources; there was one shochet, a person certified to perform ritual slaughter, in town but for most kosher products, people had to drive a considerable distance and stock up.

What the small group of Phoenix Jews was asking for was not easy and another rabbi may have turned them down. Rebibo, however, was not one to back down in the face of adversity. He accepted the challenge and moved to Phoenix in 1965. What quickly became clear was that the young rabbi had an even larger vision of what the Orthodox Jewish community could become.

Sadly, the pioneering Rebibo, who influenced and touched the lives of a multitude of Jews, passed away on Shabbat, June 15, in Jerusalem, after succumbing to a long illness.

Fortunately for those left behind, his many accomplishments live on, as does his name.

To read the full obituary in Jewish News, click here.

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