RELIGION

New rabbi hopes to bring Utah County’s Jewish community together

Apr 16, 2023, 10:55 PM | Updated: 11:11 pm

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — ​If you had one word to describe one of Utah’s newest religious leaders, “energetic” would be the first on the list.

Rabbi Chaim Zippel, his wife Esty, and baby Toviah moved to Utah County in December of 2022.

“We wanted to have a very open home and that everyone should feel very welcomed here,” Esty expressed.

But it’s about more than just giving folks a place to go. Rabbi Zippel and his wife hope to connect their Jewish community. His father, Rabbi Benny Zippel, did it when he first came to Salt Lake City more than 30 years ago.

Rabbi Benny Zippel established the first Orthodox synagogue in the state and was the first to light a menorah at the State capitol.

“There was very little going on in Salt Lake in terms of outreach and rejuvenating the community, bringing in new programs,” Rabbi Benny Zippel said. “It was a complete novelty.”

The Zippel family has continued expanding their footprint, bringing Chabad houses to Ogden, Park City, St. George, and now, Utah County.

“It’s not enough that people could just drive an hour up to Salt Lake or down to St. George. They need to have a home here,” Rabbi Chaim Zippel said.

When he was 14, Rabbi Chaim Zippel left Utah for about a decade to study, first at a school for Orthodox Jews in California. Eventually, he went to New York, where he met Esty. Now, Rabbi Chaim Zippel has come home.

“To see our kids being interested and attracted to want to continue the journey? It’s beautiful,” Rabbi Benny Zippel said.

As a welcome gift, Rabbi Chaim Zippel and Esty delivered homemade bread to Jews across the Utah county area. He said they had eight loaves the first week of doing this, and the second week they handed out eighteen.

“It would always end with the person genuinely asking me, do you actually have more stops to make? Am I, not the only Jew here in Utah County,” Rabbi Chaim Zippel said.

Rabbi Chaim Zippel believes his people have worshiped in isolation in the area for so long, and he’s hoping to find as many people as possible to provide them with a sense of community belonging.

“A sense of having a home wherever they can get together, celebrate, and have Jewish meaningful experiences,” Rabbi Chaim Zippel expressed.

 

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New rabbi hopes to bring Utah County’s Jewish community together