Steven Greene and Debbie Somers: Our Or Hadash Story
We had small children who were in a Jewish pre-school when we started “shopping” for a congregation. We had heard of the larger shuls in the area and visited them, but they all seemed large and somehow impersonal. We spoke to our friends and others about choices and options, but honestly, Or Hadash wasn’t on most people’s “radar.” Bershert or otherwise, we first set foot in Or Hadash for an Open House Tot Shabbat one Friday night in May 2004. Whether it was the friendliness of the people, the welcoming atmosphere, or maybe just the awesome food at the potluck dinner, it just felt right. We joined the congregation in July and have been very happy with our decision. As it turns out, we joined Or Hadash, the same day that Rabbi Josh began his tenure as our spiritual leader.
Over the past several years, both of our children have come through the religious school, both have celebrated B'nai Mitzvah, and one of them has been confirmed. This past May, over nearly two years of work, Debbie completed the adult B'nai Mitzvah class with a beautiful service. So three of the four members of our family have become B’nai Mitzvah at Or Hadash by Rabbi Josh. (Maybe someday I’ll re-Bar Mitzvah to complete the family tradition.)
In the meantime, I have served on the Board as an At-Large member, as a religious school “room parent,” and as a member and chairperson of the school’s parent organization. I am currently the Congregation’s Co-Vice President for Membership. I have also helped to organize programming, including musical coffee houses as well as Havurot.
As part of my most recent role as Membership VP, I speak to members and prospective members about our “special congregation,” and I have come to further understand the great blend of people and talents and energies and ideas that comprise our Congregation. I find it very easy to speak to people about Or Hadash because it has been such a positive experience for our family. When potential members asked me what I like about the Synagogue, I say it is a special place where we are able to feel spiritual and social and accepted without conditions, and that when you are in the building you just feel good about being there.