After earning a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Florida, Rabbi Ian (Yitzchok) Werbin became successful in commercial real estate. Exploring Judaism, Werbin spent 12 years studying and learning Jewish philosophy and character development. Looking for more direction in his life, Werbin traveled to Israel to explore Judaism.
Werbin met his wife, Sarah, who had moved from New York to Florida, and then to Israel, for her gap year. They met and married and stayed in Israel, where four of their six children were born.
Family was the focus, as the Werbins moved back to Atlanta on Memorial Day weekend in 2018. It was their dream and desire to be close to their family. Growing up with a sense of Jewish pride, the Werbin family, Sam, Renee, Stuart, Robyn, and Ian, shared a story of a strong Jewish family.
Sarah is a marriage coach, a kallah teacher, and mikvah educator. Formerly a member of the rabbinical staff at Congregation Beth Jacob, Rabbi Yitzchok Werbin taught and continues to teach a weekly Torah class which is open to the public.
“My sense of Judaism was fading as I left the Hebrew Academy and attended public high school and college. It was time to ponder my sense of meaning and purpose,” Werbin said. “Exploration mode came after college, as I explored the purpose of life: what is it? For me, the main drive came with the second intifada and seeing all the atrocities. Now, it was time for to ponder the purpose of life and my sense of meaning and purpose.”
Rabbi Werbin focuses on helping the next generation of Jews to learn and appreciate their connection to Judaism.
“They need a reason to be Jewish,” he said. “If there isn’t a reason, why do it? This generation of Jews needs to know why they/you should be Jewish. Very purposeful — it can change your life!”
In his work, Rabbi Werbin focuses on the pillars of social justice.
“Extremes are balances, dualiies, unified, checks and balances, in all mitzvahs. Duality: you/others, with strong views, beliefs, and actions.”
Located in Sandy Springs (not the LaVista crowd) is the community supporting Kesher Torah. The community is extremely diverse…observant and not observant. Future focus is to reach others, with meaning and purpose, Werbin said.
“Kesher Torah” means “connection to Torah.” The goal of Kesher Torah, according to Werbin, is to build community and connect the Jews of Sandy Springs and to inspire and educate them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship to Judaism.
Kesher Torah was founded under Rabbi Werbin’s leadership in 2020 to serve the Sandy Springs community as a resource for prayer, learning, and connection through its unique non-judgmental approach to Judaism.
“As such, Werbin said, “Fundraising will enable us to repurpose with a $3.5 million building providing adult education and a functioning shul.”
Rabbi Werbin continued about his personal philosophy.
“Often, there is a lack of meaning as you grow older,” Rabbi Werbin explained, “and Kabbalistic learning explores the relationship between body and soul as we age. Soul overcomes the body as we are in our 50s and 60s. This leads to a mid-life crisis, and the soul is so much more meaningful. Excite the soul spiritually, merging two souls into one. The key ingredient in a good marriage is great character. And older generations inspire new generations…wine gets better with age.”
Rabbi Werbin was born and raised in Dunwoody where he attended the Greenfield Hebrew Academy and North Springs High School. He traveled south to attend the University of Florida where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance.
Enjoying a very successful career in real estate, he was inspired to explore Judaism on a higher level. The impetus behind the inspiration began early in life where he grew up in a traditional kosher Jewish household with loving parents, an older brother and a sister who are both very close and dear. Family life was steeped in Jewish tradition where Jewish values were taught and practiced and a love for Israel was abundant in all family members, including grandparents who eventually moved into the Werbin home.
The summer after his junior high school year, Werbin attended the Alexander Muss High School in Israel which further instilled his strong positive Jewish and pro-Israel feelings. While Werbin was studying in college, Israel experienced the second intifada and 9/11 occurred which had a tremendous impact on him and further sparked his desire for a deeper understanding of the world.
This, coupled with his desire for learning, would ultimately change his pattern in life. He packed his bags and headed to Israel where he eagerly enrolled in a Machon Yaakov, a Yeshiva that caters to young professionals who are looking for a deeper understanding and purposeful Jewish life. Two years into the program,
Werbin developed a deep sense of fulfillment and direction in his understanding of Judaism, which, in turn, helped him develop a keen understanding of deep ideas in life and in the world. Two years turned into 12 and Werbin, now Rabbi Werbin, taught Torah, Jewish philosophy, and character development in his beloved Jerusalem.
The dynamic, gracious and magnetic Rabbi Werbin shares the tools that connect timeless Jewish traditions with modern life. Additionally, the ever accommodating and warm Werbin family opens their home to share Shabbat with members.
Rabbi Werbin is a guiding light to all who wish to learn and experience the joys of Jewish life. Kesher Torah welcomes everyone to Friday night and Shabbat day services.
Rabbi Werbin said, “Please join us to pray and learn and be sure to stay to meet us and share in a l’chaim.”