Rob Raich has been a Trustee at CBE since 2010 and currently serves as our President, beginning his term in 2018. Rob works closely with our Board of Trustees, clergy team, and staff to ensure that CBE continues to be a welcoming and vibrant hub for Jewish life.
Photographed and Interviewed by Nate Jaffe, Communications Associate
“To me, CBE is a place to find community, to experience spiritual comfort, to learn new things and challenge ourselves…a place to call home.” – Rob
Nate: How long have you been connected to CBE and what brought you here?
Rob: I think about 13 years. We first found the community through the ECC.
Nate: Where are you from? If not, NYC, how did you get here?
Rob: I’m from Dix Hills, Long Island – I went to school out West, came back to begin my career in Manhattan, and then moved to Park Slope 21 years ago. I think I’m roughly 30 miles from home, but it feels like a million miles…
Nate: Who inspires you or who is someone you look up to?
Rob: The list is many. Anyone who overcomes adversity or stands up for what is right. The athlete, the dissident, the protester, the activist, the physically challenged, the rescuer or the unintentional hero. Every day there is somebody else that inspires me.
Nate: What in your life are you most proud of?
Rob: I am excepting my kids and family. There is nothing on that level. Outside of family, being President of CBE – not because of the position itself, but because it is entirely outside of my comfort zone.
Nate: Describe a past experience, from any point in your life, that defined or impacted who you are today.
Rob: I almost drowned as a child at three years old. I was at the bottom of the pool, until I was saved by a lifeguard. I still have a clear memory of it. I’m not sure it defines me, but it sure does remind you how fragile life can be. And I still hate to swim…
Nate: If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
Rob: I am sure I would change my answer often, but on an impulse, George Washington…or Joey Ramone…
Nate: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Rob: Never go over five minutes on your Yom Kippur Address. This was from our former President Paul Levy z”l.
Nate: Where do you usually go when you when you have time off?
Rob: I love the mountains – skiing, or hiking. Vermont or the West. Anything with elevation and lots of green.
Nate: Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever been to?
Rob: Tough to pick one. Bethlehem on Christmas Eve 1997 was fascinating, especially given events since. Venezuela a few months before Hugo Chavez was elected has taken on a new and tragic perspective since I was there.
Nate: Where in the world have you never been to but have always wanted to visit?
Rob: Many, many places. The entire continent of Africa is conspicuously and regretfully absent from my passport.
Nate: If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest?
Rob: Rachel Timoner.
Nate: How do you define success?
Rob: Maybe success is being able to define success for yourself, unfortunately, I can’t. Maybe to make meaningful connections, and avoid intentionally hurting people. The rest is just upside.
Nate: What are you currently watching on Netflix or what are you currently reading?
Rob: I just finished the second season of Fauda. Great show. I’m reading the first book in Rick Atkinson’s new Revolutionary War trilogy. Just in case I missed something in the first 50 books I read on the topic.