By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Chanan Feld, the popular mohel of the San Francisco Bay area and a spiritual leader in northern California, passed away Wednesday, Cheshvan 10, 5770.
He was 54 and suffered from ‘yene machla’ in the last year.
Engaging and warm, Rabbi Feld co-founded Beit Midrash Ohr HaChaim, a Torah learning center and synagogue in North Berkeley.
Born in Chicago to a Jewish non-religious family, Chanan Velvel Feld found his roots through Chabad whilst living in Berkeley, California.
Meeting the Shluchim Rabbi Yehuda Ferris and his wife Miriam, inspired Feld to connect to his heritage, resulting in learning in the Yeshiva of Kfar Chabad, Israel, and others.
After his marriage to his wife Jodi, Rabbi Feld settled in Berkeley, becoming what some described as “a pillar of the Lubavitch outreach community.”
As a mohel, Feld circumcised thousands of Jewish males of all ages.
“It’s literally a linking up with other generations,” Feld once told a reporter of the J. weekly. “Each baby is the culmination of all the generations that came before.”
Rabbi Feld added the Hebrew name Simcha during his illness, which friends say befitted him.
“He was warm, sweet and always had a smile,” a neighbor and friend told COLlive.
“Even in his last days when people were coming over depressed, it was he who comforted them.”
In June of 2009, Rabbi Feld come full circle when he married off his son Dovid Feld to Rivkie Ferris, the daughter of the Berkeley Shluchim.
He is survived by his wife Yehudis Leah and children Rabbi Dovid Yitzchak, Daniel Sapir and Rochel Chaya.
The funeral will be held in Israel.
Baruch Dayan Haemes.