Members Musings – June 2017

Volunteer Spotlight

There’s a story…of these Lovely Ladies

These lovely ladies volunteer regularly at our front desk. They are the ones who answer the phone, open the door, stuff envelopes, and many other tasks. Please meet these new members of our community.

Fran Brown

Fran says that her journey to Temple Beth El began through a book group at Borders Books where she met Marla Shwarts, among other TBE members. Fran’s father passed away in 2004, and she came to our Shabbat service to say kaddish. She discovered that everyone she met was warm, friendly, accepting and nice. She was impressed that Rabbi Briskin and Cantor Davidson remember her name after only 1 or 2 visits. Despite her 95-year-old mother’s admonition that Fran “couldn’t afford to join a Temple” she did! She had never truly connected with other synagogues where she had spent time, but really liked the people here. She was really excited about the TBE trip to Israel led in 2015 by Rabbi Briskin, and decided that she had better officially “join” the Temple.Despite her 95-year-old mother’s admonition that Fran “couldn’t afford to join a Temple” she did! She had never truly connected with other synagogues where she had spent time, but really liked the people here. Fran volunteers because she’s retired, and “needs structure.” She discovered this delightful opportunity to give herself structure and give a little back to her synagogue.

Sheila Titlebaum

Sheila took her first steps into Temple Beth El via the Sisterhood’s Book Club. She found that group to be warm and friendly, and so she stayed, getting to know those women well. When her husband died in early 2016, she was embraced with “unbelievable warmth,” even though she was not yet a formal member of TBE. Rabbi Briskin helped convene a shivah minyan at Sheila’s home, something she could hardly believe since she “didn’t belong” to Temple Beth El. Rabbi Briskin was quick to assure Sheila that she was indeed “part of our community”—that we are not a club to which one must “belong.” Since then, Sheila knew that she wanted to engage even more in our community—to truly “be a part”—so she did! Helping at our front desk was something she knew she could do, and so she does!

Susan Ross

Susan first found her way to TBE in 2004 when she was writing a linguistics paper on Hebrew grammar and needed a teacher; enter Debi Rowe. Susan says: “Debi graciously gave me an hour of her valuable time” every Tuesday morning (Rabbi Lieb always greeted us with surprise to hear two voices instead of just one.) Two years later, there was Judith Sommerstein who comforted Susan when she was in the hospital. Judith’s visit brought Susan to a Saturday Healing Service. Two years later, when she ran out of Hanukkah candles, Shoni came to the rescue. And by the next week she was volunteering in the office. Susan officially became a member on December 30, 2016. She enjoys the camaraderie and satisfaction she finds participating in various temple events. She wants to support TBE, and in return, hopes to find a Jewish community where she feels comfortable and where she belongs.

Yves Edmond

Yves first came to Temple Beth El because she “saw a notice” about a “Gospel Service” on the Friday night of Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. “I love Gospel music” she says. Perusing the service handout she received that night, she discovered our Meditation Service. “Meditation and chanting  together—that’s heaven!” So, she began attending services, joined our email list and checked out our website to learn more. Then she got laid off from work; at the same time, she saw a notice in our weekly email for office volunteers. She visited the office saying “I’m here to volunteer!” Carrie Hernandez said “see you tomorrow” and a TBE volunteer was born. Early in Yves’ tenure at the front desk, Shoni Gramcko gave her hamantashen at Purim time, and that “sealed the deal.” Yves needed a purpose after being laid off, and found Temple Beth El to be “warm and loving and happy to see me.” She feels loved, appreciated  and needed.