Golden Couples of Pacific Palisades

1946 Rabbi Yerachmiel and Rachel Loebel

(Editor’s note: In this ongoing series, we have now profiled 62 Pacific Palisades couples who have been married 50 years or longer. If you haven’t yet alerted us to your marriage, please do so by phone (454-1321, ext. 29) or e-mail: editor@palipost.com. If you have already communicated with us, please be patient; we haven’t forgotten!) Yerachmiel and Rachel Loebel first met as teenagers in a children’s home in Switzerland during World War II, where they had both made their way after escaping from Nazi persecution. “The boys and girls were separated and we hardly ever spoke to one another. The first time we spoke was when Rachel and I visited a sick child at the same time,” says Yerachmiel. Born in Germany, Yerachmiel in Plauen and Rachel in Karlsruhe, they each came to Switzerland via France, with the help of the French Jewish underground. Rachel’s mother and Yerachmiel’s father perished in the Holocaust. After the war, the two emigrated separately to Israel. Yerachmiel, who was reunited with his mother and sister in Israel, attended Kol Torah Rabbinical School in Jerusalem. He and Rachel met again at the kibbutz in Kfar Saba, that Rachel had helped to establish, and fell in love. They married at the kibbutz at age 19 on December 10, 1946. After a few years living and working on the kibbutz, they moved to the town of Magdiel, north of Tel Aviv. Two of their children, Jacob and Batsheva, were born in Israel. In 1954, they emigrated to the United States, and Yerachmiel graduated from Connecticut State College with a master’s degree in child psychology. Their youngest child, David, was born in New Jersey. Yerachmiel was a rabbi for conservative congregations in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Rachel was a homemaker and raised their three children. In 1978, the couple moved to Santa Monica to be near their daughter Batsheva. She is now the director of Temple Akiba Nursery School in Culver City. “When children are small, they go where their parents are. When they are adults, we go where they are,” says Yerachmiel. For 10 years, Yerachmiel worked as the school liaison for Vista del Mar, an institution that helps emotionally handicapped children. “I was helping to find proper school programs for some of these children, to mainstream them.” Since his retirement in 1988, Yerachmiel has taught a Talmud class at Chabad of Santa Monica. Rachel volunteers at Santa Monica Hospital. They have been living in the Palisades since 1991 and are active at Chabad of the Palisades. For their 50th anniversary, the couple had a “double celebration,” first in Jerusalem, visiting their son Jacob and his wife Yochevet. The second one happened in the Palisades, a surprise party with friends and family. “My beloved wife Rachel has stuck with me through everything,” Yerachmiel says. “It pays to stick together, to celebrate your 50th anniversary.” He attributes the secret of marriage as being considerate of one another. “Each one puts the other person before himself.” The couple have 11 grandchildren-six who live in Jerusalem, two in Connecticut, and three in the Palisades. “I thank our friends and family, thank God we have many, and we hope they all get to celebrate 50 years too,” Yerachmiel says.