Rabbi Zecharia and Rivkah Phillips arrived in the city of Walnut Creek, twenty-five miles east of San Francisco, last week. They will expand the preschool established by Rabbi Dovber and Chaya Berkowitz and focus on youth and teen programs in Contra Costa. Members of the Walnut Creek Jewish community have been dropping off gifts of flowers and fruit in welcome of the new couple.
The Phillips’s first event will be a communal Zoom meeting where they will meet their new community and vice versa. Though the pandemic is posing a challenge viz-a-viz meeting in person and holding communal events, Rabbi Zecharia says the restrictions also present a unique opportunity. “Rather than getting to meet many people at a big event, we will build connections with individuals via Zoom, or in socially-distanced visits.”
The rabbi became involved with Chabad through his interaction with Rabbinical students in Melbourne, Australia. Both he and Rivka have apprenticed for Chabad emissaries around the globe, with Rivka having led Friendship Circle programming for children with special needs.