The rabbinical and lay leadership of Young Israel of Orange County were the ultimate keys to building the Irvine Eruv — and, fittingly, we are located right in its heart in the lovely community of University Park, Irvine 92612.
Back in 2005, a committee that had been working for more than a year on getting an Eruv constructed in Irvine had run into several difficulties and perplexing obstacles. Money was desperately short. And there was a need for strong rabbinical leadership to emerge and carry the ball across the goal line at City Hall.
From among the lay leadership who a few short years later would comprise the founding visionaries creating Young Israel of Orange County, there emerged the financial generosity and vision to see the Eruv built.
During that same critical period Rabbi Dov Fischer, the founding Rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, received the call to come to Irvine. When the call came, Rav Fischer still was a congregational Rav serving his community in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. But he was asked to undertake the two-hour drive to Irvine — several times — for a series of critical meetings with government leaders and agency officials in City Hall. They had concerns, and they needed persuasion.
Rabbi Fischer brought with him to that series of City Hall meetings not only the rabbinical studies and halakhic training garnered through a rabbinical career extending two decades, but also the secular legal background and substantive legal knowledge derived through the course of his ten years practicing in major national law firms as an active member of the State Bar of California and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School.
There still was no Eruv anywhere in all of Orange County when Rabbi Dov Fischer arrived in Irvine in August 2005. But within weeks of his arriving and meeting with City Hall officials and government officers, the last round of barriers started falling and disappearing. And then one of the last remaining barriers — the serious money shortfall that now threatened to delay the Eruv further — was resolved through the generosity and vision of lay leadership that ultimately would be among the founders of Young Israel of Orange County.
The Irvine Eruv was completed and formally inaugurated in the second month after Rabbi Fischer arrived in Irvine. For Orthodox Jews, Irvine now had become the center of Jewish life in Orange County. And the Young Israel of Orange County would be established two years later, fittingly in the heart of the community covered by the Irvine Eruv — the community of University Park in Irvine 92612 — that YIOC’s lay and rabbinic leadership had played so key a role in constructing only two years earlier.