Rabbi Hershel Brooks
December 3, 1930 – November 15, 2019
Rabbi Hershel Brooks, 88, died on Friday November 15, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV. He was born on December 3, 1930 in Brooklyn, NY.
The son of Cantor Mordecai Brooks of the Clymer Street Shul in Williamsburg NY, Rabbi Brooks was educated in traditional yeshivot. He was ordained with the extraordinary symbol of Yoreh Yoreh Yadin Yadin in May of 1951. At the age of 21, Rabbi Brooks was the youngest man to be ordained from Torah Vodaath. He also received Smicha from Rav Moshe Feinstein of Tifereth Yerushalayim and Rav Yisroel Hutner of Chaim Berlin. He earned a BA from the University of Miami in 1962 and then Masters Degrees in sociology and counseling in 1964. He was admitted to the Rabbinical Assembly in 1965. In 1961, he married Alma Lois Pachino of Baltimore when he was rabbi of Temple Zamora in Coral Gables, FL. She passed away in 2007. He served as rabbi in Coral Gables, Florida before becoming the rabbi in 1965 of Agudath Achim in Savannah. From 1968-1971, he served Beth David in Greensboro, NC. While in Greensboro, he taught at the University of North Carolina in the Department of Religious Studies and in the Department of Theology at Guilford College. He served as campaign chair of the Greensboro UJA and was instrumental in founding the Solomon Schechter Day School there. He had a prominent role in coordinating the Wild Acres rabbinic retreats which take place each August until this day. He was the vice president of the Greater Carolinas Association of rabbis. In 1972, he became the rabbi of Temple Beth Emeth in Northeast Philadelphia and five years later left the East coast in 1977 when he became the rabbi of Temple Beth Emet in Anaheim, CA. After three years in Anaheim he became the spiritual leader of Temple Sholom in Ontario, CA, which he served for 13 years before he and Alma retired to Las Vegas, NV. During his tenure in California, Rabbi Brooks served as vice president of the Board of Rabbis and chairman of the Kashrut Committee of the Orange County Board of Rabbis. He was also instrumental in establishing a Jewish day school in Orange County, CA which later became Tarbut V’Torah in Irvine, CA. In recognition of his years of service, The Jewish Theological Seminary awarded him a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in 1984. In 1996, Rabbi Brooks “retired” to Las Vegas, NV where he became the part-time rabbi of Bet Knesset Bamidbar, a position he held for close to 15 years until his second retirement in 2011. In 2010, he published Worship in Joy with co-author, Robert Mirisch (president of Bet Knesset Bamidbar) which articulated his vision of teaching and preaching. He expressed the value of including humor in preaching. From snappy one-liners to stories that illustrated his point, he understood how important it was to keeps his congregation's attention by virtue of warmth, insight and sense of humor. His philosophy is that there is no reason a person should leave services without a smile on his or her face. He is survived by his children, Dr. Sharna (Yakov Levy) Shachar, Zev (Yvette) Brooks, David Brooks and Sasha Brooks. Grandchildren: Ziva Shachar, Micah Shachar, Noah Shachar, Jacqueline Brooks, Danielle Brooks, Brooke Neubauer, and step grandchildren Aviv Levy and Elan Levy. He is also survived by his siblings, Temi Kamenetsky, wife of Rosh Yeshiva Shmuel Kamenetsky in Philadelphia, Moishe Brooks, and Hendel Nadoff. King David Memorial Chapel handled the arrangements.
- Funeral Service Monday, November 18, 2019
- Committal Service Monday, November 18, 2019
Rabbi Hershel Brooks
estelle and joseph harf
November 19, 2019
We are blessed to have known this wonderful man who brought so much joy to the members of Bet Knesset. Our memories of him naming our first grandchild, Tanner Kaiden, and blessing our home with a mezzuzah ceremony always bring joy to our hearts. His warm welcoming personality and memorable sermons will be so missed by all who were so fortunate to have known and loved him.
We are saddened to learn of his passing . We know his love will continue to be a part of our lives.
November 19, 2019
He did the services for my father Ronald Nussbaum . Rabbi brooks was a wonderful man and will be miss dearly.
November 18, 2019
To Sharna, Zev, David and Sasha, my most sincere condolences on the passing of your dear father Rabbi Brooks. We have know each other since your move to Anaheim many years ago when you dad became the Rabbi of Temple Beth Emet in Anaheim. We was a wonderful Rabbi who was full of compassion and grace. He always greeted everyone with a warm smile and handshake. He made people feel welcome to TBE and to his home. His legacy will live on in each of you and your children. May Hashem be a source of comfort and strength to you at this difficult time. May the name and memory of Rabbi Hershel Brooks be for a blessing. May he rest in eternal peace with your dear Mother of blessed memory.
November 17, 2019
Rabbi Brooks did three of my grandchildren’s bar and bat mitzvahs. He was a kind patient and loving man. With each grandchild he became more and more family. We will always have great memories of Rabbi Brooks and will miss his pleasant smile. The Galsky and Feldman Families