Obituary

Lior Darel

Lior Darel, 24, passed away on December 7, 2010, with his family and close friends by his side at UC Irvine Medical Center.  The funeral was held at Kibbutz Horshim in Israel on December 12, 2010.

Lior was born March 29, 1986, in Israel to Meira and Eitan Darel. He was a great brother to Sharon, Guy and his brothers of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

During his three-and-a-half-year-long battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, Lior managed to earn his B.S. in Bioengineering from The Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.  He was an esteemed alumnus and former President of the Chi Sigma chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. His interests included computer science, biotechnology and sports. He not only loved watching the Minnesota Vikings and the Anaheim Angels, but also playing baseball, coaching football and dominating his fantasy leagues.

As an entrepreneur, Lior co-founded his own graphic design company, which focused on website development and logo creation for local businesses. As an aspiring engineer, Lior helped design a glucose monitor for visually impaired diabetics that was later patented.

Although Lior only had 24 years with us, he lived life to the fullest and will serve as an inspiration to all who knew him. Everyone who knew him loved him because of his sense of humor, sincerity and genuine love of people. He was the type of friend that everyone wishes for but few ever find.

One could say that Lior’s greatest accomplishment was to have such a lasting impression on those around him. He will be greatly missed by all those fortunate to have known him. Lior’s family would like to thank all who have been a part of his life, especially Dr. Leonard Sender, Chabad of Irvine, Chai Lifeline and Lior’s fraternity brothers.

A memorial service will be held at Chabad of Irvine on Sunday, January 9, 2011, at 7 p.m. to signify the culmination of the first thirty days of morning.  Lior’s family would be honored by the presence of those who would like to pay their final respects, and those who would like the opportunity to be inspired by the story of a young man who never let such a horrible disease overtake his spirit.

Rabbi Bernard King

For Rabbi Bernie King, spirituality equaled charity. During 32 years leading Harbor Reform/Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Orange County, Bernard P. King constantly looked for ways to extend the power of faith beyond the synagogue.

Helping followers recover their religious heritage, campaigning for racial equality, supporting low-income families – in these ways and others, the gentle-mannered leader of Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine sought to extend religious and social horizons. It is a long list of achievements for one who amiably denies being a “holy man.”

In the late 1950s, King was 21, a junior-college student recently discharged from the U.S. Navy, when a young rabbi befriended him and suggested that he, too, take up the rabbinate. At first, King protested, saying he was not a man touched by God, but his friend said King was qualified, in his deeds and causes, to be a spiritual leader. King arrived in 1969 at the house of worship then called Harbor Reform Temple and based in Newport Beach. The atmosphere of the synagogue, which included about 50 families, struck the newcomer as polite, sedate – and bled nearly dry of spiritual life.

He wasted little time in shaking up temple activities. An Israeli guitarist began performing at Friday night services. Hasidic songs joined the more traditional, organ-driven melodies. King revived a long-neglected tradition, the act of parents formally blessing their children. Warmth of spirit and manner became the rabbi’s watchwords, a way to present an open door to the Jews of Southern California. His congregation moved in the early 1990s into its own building in Irvine. The temple later was renamed Shir Ha-Ma’alot to honor Israeli children killed in a town of that name. To King, sharing is part and parcel of Judaism itself: examples of tzedakah, acts of Jewish charity.

In 2001 Rabbi King was named Rabbi Emeritus of Shir Ha-Ma’alot. He continued to share his spiritual message. He remained actively involved in the Jewish community and strived to make the world a better place. Over the past thirty plus years, the rabbi nurtured close working ties with the Christian, African-American, Arab-Muslim, and Hispanic communities. He is the author of When Naked Hassidim Laugh, A Spiritual Odyssey. He is survived by his wife Barbara; his children, David, Stephen, Neil and Adeena; and his two grandchildren.

Rabbi King received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from UCLA, his master’s degree in Hebrew letters, his ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and his Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College.  He was the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards:

  • The American Jewish Committee’s prestigious Micha Award for humanitarian efforts in 1982.
  • Humanitarians of the Year, along with his wife, Barbara, in 1993 by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
  • Anti-Defamation League’s Leaders of Distinction Award, along with his wife, in 2001.
  • First rabbi invited to speak at the dedication of an Orange County Mosque.
  • Selected by the Orange County Register in 2005 as one of the most influential 100 shapers of Orange County over the past 100 years. Included in the list are John Wayne, President Richard Nixon and Gene Autry.
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