It was a hard decision to leave one community for another. The place where our sons were born and raised, the place where we had great jobs and friends, the place of our Jewish Community.
We’re not risk takers, and don’t take decisions lightly. We tend to stay where we’re planted. But, we decided. To leave Oklahoma after 25 years, to move to Charlotte to be closer to family; our next chapter, change, new adventure.
I believe Community means Connectedness, a feeling and being part of something bigger than yourself. It’s where you are, wherever you are. It’s who you’re with, it’s shared lives and experiences. And sometimes, just sometimes, you don’t know the depth of that Community and Connectedness until you leave.
Our Oklahoma Jewish community was a staple in our lives. It was the village that helped to raise our sons, it was our value-base. And when community members let us know that we would be missed and that our contributions over the years were noticed, it meant a lot. We are grateful to those who stay in touch, keeping us connected to that important community.
And at the same time, we quickly started building our connectedness to the Temple Beth El community, by putting ourselves out there, telling people we’re new here, sharing our story. We’ve been welcomed at Shabbat services, Temple brunches, and Newcomers events. We’ve made new friends, and I found a new job (a Jewish one!) We’ve become connected in this community through what we have in common with others: our interests, our grown children, our empty-nesterness, and our mutual interest in seeking ways to be part of something bigger. We’re grateful for those who have reached out and brought us along on their journey.
Community = Connectedness…thankfully we feel more and more connected each day.
Ann Baumgarten, HR Director for Moishe House, and her husband Eddie Traylor, Professor of Physical Therapy at Langston University, moved to Charlotte in July 2017. Ann holds degrees in Counseling and Education, both from the University of Georgia. She and Eddie have two sons, Evan, who lives in NYC and works for the Union for Reform Judaism, and Fred, a junior at University of Texas at Dallas.