Shedding New Light on Jewish Traditions

Michelle Smithman Story

My time at Or Hadash

Michelle Smithman


My family has been members of Or Hadash since 1997 and we have participated in many different aspects of congregational life. My children have attended religious school, with my daughter also working as a school aide through high school. My husband has been a High Holiday shlepper, Purim Spieler, and is now a member of the board as Building and Grounds Chairperson. I have served on a number of committees and chair two:  Kitchen and Adult Study Havurah. I am also a member of the Spiritual Life Committee, Finance Committee, Investment Sub-Committee and B’nai Mitzvah Task Force. In the midst of all this, I somehow ended up as a Board member at-large.


I would like to talk more about the two committees I chair:  Kitchen and Adult Study. They are very different and yet have a strong commonality. I’ve been Chair of Kitchen Committee for seven years and we make sure that there is food at every Oneg Shabbat and Kiddush, as well as work with congregants and other groups when planning events at the synagogue. You couldn’t possibly have a synagogue event without food. It would be sacrilegious! This is my second year chairing the Adult Study Havurah, and that involves monthly discussion groups throughout the year, culminating with a presentation and discussion at the High Holidays.


The common factor of these two groups is the amazing people that I have had the privilege to work with. Everyone works with equal dedication, interest, and humor. And there are a lot of laughs. But in all seriousness, I consider myself very fortunate to spend time with such thoughtful, intelligent, hard working (especially when we kasher the kitchen for Passover), “willing to jump in there at a moment’s notice,” and generally fun people. I got involved with the synagogue in different ways because of personal interests, but I feel that I get back more than I give. And who could beat that deal?