I grew up Jewish in western Colorado. With only about 40-50 Jewish families in the area, we bonded together and created an environment in which Conservative members worked alongside Reform members to build a Jewish community, and over time it felt as if we were one large extended family. Most years, we could only afford a cantor, not a full-time Rabbi. I left Colorado to attend college at Brandeis, in part seeking that larger Jewish population.
After college, I was an occasional attendee of services with my cousin, essentially just a High Holiday Jew for many years. When I chose to adopt as a single mom, I realized that the community aspect of a synagogue was again very important to me. As a mom to a bi-racial child, I wanted to find a community that I felt could embrace him and not make him feel in any way “othered.”
TBE is a huge congregation, with many resources and roots throughout the local Jewish community, but it is one of the few I visited that had the same feel as my childhood synagogue. That no matter your background, history, race – that working together as a community was important for the benefit for everyone involved. There is a sense of family and openness that I love about TBE.
My son’s beautiful conversion service performed by TBE clergy in 2015 and the ongoing connections we make through Yaldeinu/Families with Young Children will help my son to make friends in the community, long before he is ready to start religious school. We both look forward to being part of the community for a long time to come.