"We need an endowment at this Temple that will ensure the future."
The riveting tale of Jo Asmundsson's life story and how it led her to Temple Beth Sholom, where she has generously chosen to include a legacy gift in her will, is sure to captivate the attention of all who read it. No stranger to adversity, her path has taken her down many incredibly difficult roads. From heartbreaking to heartwarming, she shares her memories with the sincere desire to inspire others to follow in her footsteps.
Jo's childhood during WWII in England was filled with a constant fear of Hitler's army invading her homeland and what would happen to her family as Jews. Her adult years included traveling the world, and tragically losing her beloved first husband to lung cancer and her second husband to a divorce. Throughout it all she has been a true survivor.
She reminisces, "I was twelve years old when I was sent away from my family to live in the countryside to protect me from the atrocities of the war. I was safe, but my knowledge of Judaic practices and going to synagogue with my father had ended. I began attending the Church of England with the people that I was living with and at eighteen I pursued a degree in nursing." She shares that it took many years before her true faith returned to her life.
Several years ago, she was asked to volunteer to take two Catholic children to church. It was during a Thanksgiving interfaith service that she met Rabbi Glickstein and fate brought her here to join Temple Beth Sholom. "As always, when you are under terrible stress and something bad has happened in your life, you look to a place where you can gather solace and comfort in the words of our teachings," she says.
She eventually began attending services on a regular basis and was also deeply moved by Rabbi Davis and his family for taking such a great interest in her life and well-being. She credits him for getting her closer to the "fabrics of Temple Beth Sholom and philanthropy." Today Jo is proud of her volunteer work with WLRN, deeply enjoys helping others and is grateful for her good health.
As she reflects on life and death, nothing gives Jo greater joy than the knowledge that her contribution will be part of a vibrant tapestry filled with generous gifts from others, like her, who have chosen to secure the future of the Temple and continue for generations to come the rich traditions this congregation has forged. As the sole surviving member of her family, she's adamant in her thoughts. "Why not today, write your will and nominate Temple Beth Sholom as a recipient ...make sure to take care of the place where you have spent joyous times and have been welcomed with open arms."