Shedding New Light on Jewish Traditions

Ruth Mermelstein Story

Ruth Mermelstein’s Story


Jules and I came to the Congregation of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in the second year of the congregation. We joined because we were both comfortable at services.


I was thrilled to have my first Aliyah here. When I did not make mistakes, Barbara Siegel asked me what else I could do. I replied that I had read Haftorah and Megillah as a teenager, and they asked me to do it here.  It was difficult the first few times, and then it got easier.  If you propose an idea or display a skill, you will be asked to use it. If you want to learn something, someone will teach you.


For our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, Rabbi Vivian made me a tape of Torah trope, and Hannah and I learned it together. In preparing my children for their services, I experienced “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.”


The first lay-led service I attended was spiritual, and the ceiling did not collapse when the leader made a small mistake. That gave me the courage to try it myself; and now I, too, am one of the lay leaders.


In 1994, Rabbi Vivian asked Jules and me to teach Confirmation class together. With my ritual background, and his Masters degree in education, we made a qualified team. The first time I taught class without Jules, it was a disaster; but, over time, I improved. Over the many years of teaching the Confirmation class, we got to know a lot of great teenagers, and loved the experience.


Finally, we’d like to say that in the many years that we have been members and teachers, Or Hadash has shared our troubles and joys. We consider the Or Hadash community our family.