We officially joined Beth Sholom which is a Modern Orthodox Jewish Congregation near our house. Now if you told me a few years ago we would be joining an Orthodox Shul, (even a Modern Orthodox one) I would have thought you were crazy. My family wasn’t/isn’t observant and I, in particular, didn’t have much of a Jewish identity. Melissa didn’t grow up observant either and in some ways her family was less religious than mine. But we both agreed we wanted to give our kids more of a framework and cultural identity than either of us had. But I don’t think either of us had any idea just how much more we would want to give.
Over the last few years we have become increasingly involved in the community. When we first moved in Melissa already had a few friends, clients, and a second cousin (who I actually grew up with) at Beth Sholom. So we popped in on a couple Shabbat’s for Torah Tots, not planning on joining, just that it would be a good experience for Joshua and he could see where his friends were going every Saturday morning. Then last year it was time for preschool. We looked at a few, but we heard such good things about Beth Sholom’s ECC and well, it’s walking distance. Joshua loved it and actually started asking to go to Torah Tots. Then this year we started Elijah at the ECC and somewhere along the way we ended up going to Torah Tots every Shabbat. The kids are learning so much, it’s really incredible to see. My two year old already knows more Hebrew than I do. And Josh, wow its incredible how much he knows – The Hebrew, the songs and the stories.
Our kids were a gateway, but it is more than that. It’s the community that brought us in. I have never experienced anything like this. Most everyone has gone out of there way to help us feel welcome. They have shown us the power of community. What started off as something for the kids has become something for all of us.