Temple Shalom rabbi to lose driver’s license as result of DUI arrest

Zev Tein Sonnenstein

A rabbi from Temple Shalom will lose his driver’s license as a result of a drunk driving arrest.

Zev Tein Sonnenstein, 56, last week in Sumter County Court, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence. In addition to losing his license for six months, he has been placed on probation for one year and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.

The rabbi had been at the wheel of a white Nissan utility vehicle at 11:11 p.m. Aug. 11 when the vehicle began to “sway heavily” taking up two lanes of travel on Buena Vista Boulevard in the area of Stillwater Trail, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

Rabbi Zev Sonnenstein conducted his first Shabbat service at Temple Shalon on Feb 8, 2019.

Sonnenstein’s eyes were bloodshot and he “had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” coming from his breath, according to the report. He admitted he had been drinking, but “didn’t think it was very much.” His speech was heavily slurred.

The Brooklyn, N.Y. native who lives in the Villages of Parkwood struggled through field sobriety exercises and nearly fell onto a deputy. The exercises were stopped out of concern for Sonnenstein’s safety. He refused to provide a breath sample. A check revealed he had been convicted on a DUI charge in 2003 in New York.

Sonnenstein was installed in May as rabbi at Temple Shalom, which is located in Oxford.