Volunteer of the Month – February 2022

Grant Perry

What happens when your first visit to Temple Beth El, with your wife and young daughters, happens to be during the marathon-long adult b’nai mitzvah of 12 passionate members of our synagogue, nearly 20 years ago? Once he wipes away his remaining tears, a still- moved Grant Perry would say, “You’ve found your Jewish home and you join!”

That’s the story of how Grant Perry, this month’s Volunteer of the Month, came to Temple Beth El. After “shul shopping” all over the South Bay for some time, Grant and his beautiful wife, Laurel, had found the place where they wanted to raise their daughters, Rachel and Sophia, and give of themselves to their new community.

Grant Perry is Temple Beth El’s own Renaissance Man. His love for everything creative, for his community, and especially for his family is inherent in all that he does. Throughout his life, he has worked in construction, as a chef, a musician, and currently, as a teacher and Department Chair of the Electrical Program at the Southern California Institute of Technology. In his spare time, which isn’t much, Grant finds time to garden his own vegetables, be there for everything his family needs, and volunteer countless hours to Temple Beth El.

Grant loves sharing his many talents with his beloved temple. Since almost its inception, Grant has been a critical part of the Moody Jews, our house band. He helps prepare the charts, is such an important part of any rehearsal, and perfects the music that makes our services and concerts such a huge success. Speaking of concerts, Grant is our amazing sound man. Without him, our concerts and programs would never sound so incredible. Of course, there are countless children who adore Grant, too. For many years, he taught in our Torah School, and since his girls joined our Youth Choir, when they first came to TBE, Grant has volunteered to be the Assistant Director of our Youth and Teen Choirs, traveling with them, accompanying them in their performances, and running rehearsals with Cantor and when Cantor is not available. For many years, Grant also volunteered to sing in the Adult Choir, and we’re sure he’ll be back, when his teaching schedule allows. Many of us have enjoyed Grant’s incredible cooking, either at events he catered for the temple or at Cooking with the Cantor programs, where he not only feeds us, but teaches us how to make his masterpiece recipes. Finally, Grant has volunteered to work on electrical repairs and installations at the temple, not to mention his beautiful craftmanship on not only one, but two Sukkot that have adorned our community celebrations.

If you asked Grant how he does it all, I’m sure he would attribute it to his beautiful family. His amazing wife, Laurel, who is his partner in everything he does and a social justice hero, volunteering to help those in need around her. Together, they have raised two incredibly strong women. Rachel, who graduated from Lewis and Clark College in 2017, with a degree in Rhetoric and Media, lives with her partner of 8 years, Isaac, in Irvine, working in HR for Road Trip Nation. While Sophia is in her final semester at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, she’s completing her double degree in Educational Policy and Sociology, with a minor in Math, while working 6 jobs, clearly a chip off the old block.

We are so blessed to have Grant Perry and his wonderful family as a part of our community, and it is such an honor to spotlight him as our Volunteer of the Month for February.

If you would like to nominate someone as Volunteer of the Month, please reach out to Carrie Jacobs at tbeoffice@bethelsp.org. Thank you so much!