36 Under 36 2009: Daniel Rouach, 27
Friday, April 24, 2009

 In recent years, the Upper West Side has seen an influx of French, Moroccan, and Israeli Jews. Daniel Rouach is one of them. He grew up in France, graduated as a computer science engineer, and came to the U.S. in 2004 to attend the International Business School at Brandeis. There, he became close with the Chabad rabbi, Rabbi Peretz Chein, who encouraged him to learn more about his Jewish heritage.

When Rouach moved to New York in 2005, he was surprised to find only two French Jews at the Jewish Center on West 86th Street. To foster a sense of community among the 400-some Jewish French people on the Upper West Side, Rouach began organizing large Shabbat meals. What he really yearned for was a synagogue that would unite French Jews of all religious backgrounds. So Rouach, who heads the Index Derivatives department for Cantor Fitzgerald, created just that by revitalizing West Side Sephardic, growing the small synagogue with just 15 regulars to a full-range Sephardic synagogue with 100-plus people every Shabbat. The goal, he says, is "for all Sephardic Jews to feel they have a home on the Upper West Side."

As an active member of the board, Rouach arranges weekly Torah classes with Rav Levy Djian and organizes 10 events each year, including Shabbatonim, holiday parties, and Hiloula (a yarzheit gathering). He also launched an organization called the International Torah Organization (internationaltorah@gmail.com), which pools money from members to bring in prominent rabbis from France and Israel to teach Torah. Now the community has outgrown its space at Ohav Shalom and is seeking to hire a rabbi and search for a bigger location. "I want to build a real community," he says, "To gather Sephardim under one roof."

All in the family:  Rouach (whose middle name is Barouh) is named for his illustrious great-grandfather, Rabbi Rephael Barouh Toledano, a famous Moroccan rabbi. Good timing: Rouach left Bear Stearns for a new job the Friday before the company was bought out by JP Morgan.

 

 

Staff Writer

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