Rabbi Morris (Moshe) Rubinstein, who served as rabbi of Valley Beth Israel in Sun Valley from 1972-2000, died July 24 at 78.
Rubinstein received his bachelor’s degree at Yeshiva College in 1955, and a master’s degree in Hebrew Literature as well as rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York in 1959. He served as an Air Force chaplain in Ankara, Turkey and at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., and received the Air Force Commendation Medal for providing Jewish coverage in Turkey, Crete and Greece. He remained active in the Air Force until his military retirement in 1994 and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Upon leaving full-time military service in 1963, Rubinstein served as rabbi of the Strathmore Jewish Center in Matawan Township, N.J., and then Har Zion Congregation in Scottsdale, Ariz., before becoming the spiritual leader of Valley Beth Israel in 1972. He served as president of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Rabbinical Assembly from 1988 to 1990, and served on the Rabbinical Assembly’s beit din (Rabbinic Court) in Los Angeles. Rubinstein also was a frequent lecturer in Jewish studies at the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University) in Los Angeles. After retiring from Valley Beth Israel in 2000, Rubinstein continued his other involvements; he also taught Torah classes regularly at Temple Etz Chaim in Thousand Oaks and led the foreign policy group discussions at Leisure Village in Camarillo.
Rubinstein was well known for his deep and broad knowledge of both Jewish and Western literature, as well as for his melodic voice, his broad smile and his sense of humor. His rabbinate was shaped by his profound love for Torah and for God and all of God’s creation.
He is survived by his wife, Mildred (Miriam) Rubinstein; daughters Naomi (Rabbi Stephen) Weiss and Judy (Glenn) Massarano; sons Rabbi Aaron (Sharona), Daniel (Julie) and David; grandchildren Zohar and Maya Rubinstein, Rivka, Menachem and Yael Weiss, Sa’adia and Betzalel Massarano, and Jonah and Simon Rubinstein; sister-in-law Sybil Rubinstein; brother-in-law Martin Hochberg; nephew Zev (Janet) Rubinstein; and niece Mattice (Marc) Aaronson. Condolences may be sent to 20130 Village 20, Camarillo, CA 90312. Donations may be sent to the rabbi’s discretionary fund at Temple Etz Chaim, 1080 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 or to Yad Sarah in Israel, yadsarah.org.