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How participation in the Jewish Community will enhance and enrich your life and that of your family.

As Jews we belong to a large and extended family, the Jewish community. Over time we have joined together to pray, study, celebrate and help one another.

Being Jewish evokes many feelings. It may be central to your life and self image or you may consider being Jewish just an accident of birth . You may feel somewhere between these two extremes. No matter how you feel there are definite advantages and benefits to getting involved in the Jewish community.

Case Study: Ira and Rose Berman, Grandparents

Ira and Rose Berman are a couple in their sixties. Ira was retired by his corporation long before he was ready. Rose still works. They have three children and two grandchildren. Two of their children are unmarried, one intermarried. Their intermarried daughter was in the process of divorcing her husband. As a result she was back in school completing a Masters Degree. Responsibility for the children was being shared by the Bermans and their daughter. As many of their friends have moved to warmer climes this was a good way to fill up their time.

The grandchildren, Sophie and Teena started to ask about their Jewish heritage. They were in a quandry.Ira and Rose never belonged to a synagogue or the local Jewish Community Center. Their only connection to Judaism was the Passover Seder they held each year.

Rose and Ira are movie buffs. Their eye was drawn to an ad for a movie series being held by the Center for Adult Learning at the local Jewish Community Center. They decided to attend, Not being familiar with the JCC they decided to go early to familiarize themselves with the building and get a good seat. Upon entering the building they asked directions of a JCC worker. When she found out they were new to the building she gave them an impromptu tour. Upon conclusion of the tour she told them about the various services offered by the various beneficiary agencies of the Federation that might be of interest to them and took their name and address. Rose and Ira started to receive publications, newsletters and meeting notices about various programs offered by the Jewish community in their town. They decided to get involved slowly. Maybe participation would help answer some of Sophie and Teena’s questions.

They started to attend Shabbat dinners specifically targeted to empty nesters like themselves. They found others like themselves who were rebuilding their social life while they were rediscovering Judaism. When Sophie and Teena spent weekends, they attended Jewish community holiday celebrations, Shabbat dinners, and programs where they could learn in an experiential way about Judaism, Jewish ritual and observance.

Today, Rose and Ira are members of the Jewish Community Center. Ira is a member of Men at Leisure, a group for male retirees. Rose is a member of the local ad-hoc Jewish matchmakers group. (She has even successfully found a match for one of her unmarried daughters) They both attend lectures and events sponsored by the local Jewish Education Association. They find time to volunteer twice a year in a community wide effort to bring food, clothing and cheer to elderly indigent members of the local Jewish community. Their calendar is full. Sophie and Teena and their Mom have joined a synagogue, Sophie and Teena are in religious school and expect to become bnot mitzvah in the next few years.

Case Study: Bill and Betty Arbuckle, new parents and newcomers

Bill and Betty Arbuckle were new to the community. They lived in a newly suburban town, on a block where most people had lived in their houses forever. They had a three year old and a six month old. Bill worked for a major corporation. Betty was for the moment a stay at home Mom. It was winter. They knew no one . Betty and Bill had been active in their local Jewish community all of their life. In fact, Betty and Bill had met at Hillel in College. They knew they wanted to meet other Jewish families and find a Jewish pre-school for their three year old.

Betty in desparation checked out the phone book. In it she found a listing of synagogues in her area and the local JCC. In calling the various synagogues she found that none had pre-schools. The JCC was in the process of organizing one. In speaking to a secretary at one of the synagogues she found that there was a Mom and Me group being held once a week, under the synagogues auspices, around the corner from her home. She brought the children to the group the following week. The Moms at the group were able to orient Betty to the neighborhood and to the services offered by the local Jewish community. They even knew about a Jewish Day School several towns away that had a great pre-school.

Today, Betty and Bob are heavily involved in their synagogue. Bob is chair of the Ritual committee and Betty is on the board of the synagogue pre-school she helped found. Betty is actively involved on the Community Relations Council of the local Federation and is President of the Home School Association of the Day School. Aaron their son is in Jewish Boy Scouts. Jessica, their daughter is on the swimming team at the JCC. Her goal is to participate in the Maccabiah games in Israel.


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