Grateful for Our Community by Jessica Auslander

Our family just celebrated our daughter’s bat mitzvah. It was an amazing milestone for our family for multiple reasons. As I reflected on her journey, I became even more grateful for our TBE community.  

I did not have a good religious school experience, and my parents did not force me to continue. Most of my Jewish education was self-directed in high school and college. I never learned to read Hebrew, but I learned to pray with my flute as I studied Jewish music in college and participated in ensembles in various congregations through college and graduate school. Dan was raised in the conservative tradition, so his experience was different.  Our children have had the variety of experiences we wished we could have had. Lillie has loved religious school, Hebrew class, Sheva, and tutoring (she has commented a few times that she misses it!).

I loved watching Lillie have such an active role in her preparation. I love that she was invited to engage her creativity and include a prayer that is so meaningful to her. What I also noticed was that her service reflected her love for this community. It was so important to her that she could see both clergy on the screen. She had to have “temple food” catered by Izzy’s Catering (Jered Mond) because of her happy memories of events and the time he has spent with her to make sure that she could participate fully and safely despite her food allergies. She wanted Susan there because of her constant support, encouragement, and advocacy. No matter what this kid is going through, she knows TBE is a safe place for her.  

Thank you for creating and sustaining such a wonderful environment for our family to grow spiritually. Both Jaden and Lillie have come through this process with a love for all things Jewish (2 kids down, 1 to go!). Our family is so lucky to be a part of this community.