"If we don't focus on the strength of having a strong synagogue and a vibrant community space, we're not going to be around for the next generation."
We met in college in Baltimore over 55 years ago. Our first child, Richard, was born while Arnie was in the army and Donna in law school, and Margaret was born three years later. After Arnie completed his medical training and military service, he was offered a job in Miami and we did not hesitate to relocate to the Sunshine State.
We were raised in different Jewish backgrounds (liberal Reform and Conservative), so we wanted to belong to a Temple where we would both be comfortable. It became even more important for us to find the right fit as our son and daughter were preparing for their religious education. We cannot quite put our hands on what drew us to Temple Beth Sholom, but after meeting Rabbi Kronish and seeing the number of young people attending the synagogue, we knew we found our place.
Our strong connection to the Temple spans forty wonderful years filled with memorable family experiences. Because of our children's experiences at Beth Sholom, though now living in distant communities, they also recognize the importance of a strong Jewish religious education. Our 3 year old twin grandchildren in Boston attend Tot Shabbat and recite the Shabbat prayers. Our two oldest grandchildren celebrated their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in Philadelphia and the younger is preparing for hers. We renewed our wedding vows with Rabbi Glickstein after 50 years of marriage. Being surrounded by our family made the ceremony in many ways even more special than our wedding!
The Temple's commitment to Israel is also why it was so easy for us to connect. Our family has taken many trips there including a Federation mission with Rabbi Glickstein and Cantor Haas. We recently took a family trip to Israel (planned by Cantor Haas) with our children and grandchildren (ranging in age from 1.5 to 15 years old at the time).
All these extraordinary family experiences stem from our relationship with the Temple and its commitment to its members. We hope our legacy gift will ensure a strong congregation serving its Jewish community of all ages with a basic emphasis on Jewish education and Jewish traditions. This is why we became actively involved with Beth Sholom and other Jewish communal entities such as the Federation.
It is imperative for us to give back because we both come from modest backgrounds. We both worked our way through school (college, medical school and law school), so education has always been a top priority for us to support. Temple Beth Sholom embodies both the importance of education and of religious commitment and must be supported and nurtured by its members to ensure these critical Jewish ties for its congregants remain unbreakable. Our legacy gift will help to continue preserving the future of the Temple and its growing Jewish community.