Shelley Sanders Remembers
I came to or Hadash because my grandchildren, daughter, and son-in-law were members, but I stayed because of the sense of community and belonging. I love watching my grandchildren’s eyes light up as they watch the candles being lit, sing their favorite songs, play with the other children, or show off what they made during services or Sunday school. I love that they talk about “their” synagogue and that they look forward to going to Or Hadash. I love that their other grandmother, who is not Jewish, is warmly welcomed whenever she attends an event.
There are many congregants who belong to a synagogue for many years but always feel like strangers. At Or Hadash, we came as visitors and felt like we belonged. So, we joined. I remember going to a Nosh with Josh, right after we joined. A member that had joined the previous year commented about how quickly people can become involved in the activities. I thought that was because she was an outgoing person, not shy like I am. The same time the next year, I was Chairperson of the Hesed Committee.
Hesed is the word, which for me describes the synagogue. Caring, or Hesed, is what the community is all about. Nobody cares how expensive your car, house, or dress is. Everybody cares how you are feeling and if you need help. This is even reflected in the children. My grandchildren love the attention they get from the older children. Now, at the ripe old ages of 3 and 5, they are living what they were taught and are making sure that the younger children at Tot Shabbat have musical toys.
We are not sure how long we have been members, less than five but more than three years. It seems like forever – like we’ve always been members. Our only regret is that it hasn’t been longer.