"It's almost an obligation and responsibility of everyone that belongs to Temple to ensure the future. The continuity of the Jewish life depends on this."
"Certain things are in your DNA," reflects Elaine, as she describes her deep commitment to Judaism and the connection to Temple that began in childhood and continues today with her husband Steve.
Devoted members since 2000, they truly feel they have found a "spiritual home." "TBS is enriching my life. My legacy goes beyond involvement...it is a commitment to Judaism and all that Judaism stands for," adds Elaine.
Elaine's journey began with attending Hebrew School in Far Rockaway, NY. She recalls being a rebel. After faithfully attending Hebrew School six days a week, she realized that she had no friends who went to Hebrew School with her. She marched into the Rabbi's office and declared that she wasn't continuing. Elaine may have had the "chutzpah" to make that choice; but she realizes now that the experience gave her a background for Judaism in adulthood.
She and her late first husband, Miami-Dade County Judge Harvey Baxter, were blessed with two sons. Together they participated as founders of the Hillel Community Day School, became involved with Jewish Federation and made their milestone first trip to Israel in 1972. Elaine would continue this tradition over the years.
Following Harvey's passing, Elaine was fortunate to have met and married Steve Bachenheimer who, at the time, was retired. With his interest in wine, he became a sommelier and recently founded Wines of Israel Network – a non-profit association dedicated to increasing Israeli wine exports and tourism. Steve is also involved in AIPAC and shares Elaine's commitment to TBS and Federation. They're proud of their "combined" family which includes six grandchildren. They reached out to TBS prior to the High Holy Days. The warm response they received left a welcome impression. Upon joining, they immersed themselves in everything. Elaine especially had the calling of becoming a leader. They attended the Rabbi's open house, many educational classes, and Elaine immediately joined the fundraising committee, became an usher, with a goal of becoming a member of the Board of Trustees. Elaine is proud to have had her adult Bat Mitzvah and continues to participate in the Shabbat Minyan. "I have always been committed to involvement in the Jewish community. Who I am means not just belonging to a Temple but active involvement in Jewish causes and organizations." As active members they realized all the goals they had personally set for themselves. "The Temple is an integral part of our life. It's social, religious, education... it's endless," she shares.
What makes TBS so beloved, is that tucked within its sacred walls is that special feeling of being part of the Temple community. The generous nature of the clergy and staff to the members tells them they have found their spiritual home. Elaine and Steve sincerely hope their message will touch others to support the Legacy Endowment Campaign to perpetuate the future of Jewish life for generations to come.