“You know the Jews – they all stick together.”
A potential client told me that when I first started practicing law. At the time, it struck me as slightly paranoid (it happened that the business associates on the other side of his dispute were Jewish, though there didn’t appear to be any connection), if not vaguely anti-Semitic. Looking at my own life a decade or so later, however, maybe he was not so far off the mark.
Perhaps the more appropriate phrasing would be: “Communities take care of one another.” And for my family, the Jews, specifically those at Shalom Park and Temple Beth El, are our community.
This is where my kids feel most at home, where they feel safest, and where they are surrounded by the faces and friends they’ve known since before conscious memory.
These are the people who have reached out through calls and emails, in person and online, to support me in the past few months as I’ve launched my own law firm.
This is where we have celebrated and will continue to celebrate our life cycle events. This is where we celebrate the loved ones who surround us and remember those whom we have lost. This is where my wife became bat mitzvah, and where our children will become b’nei mitzvah. These are the people who helped us mourn the loss of my grandmother, and, all too soon after, my cousin. This is the community that supports us through the good and the bad.
Only two generations ago, Jews banded together out of necessity. My fraternity, Tau Epsilon Phi, was founded largely because in 1909 Jews weren’t admitted to the existing fraternity organizations. In reaction to that exclusion, Jews then were forced to create their own community. When the founders of Temple Beth El, and later Shalom Park, got together to dream up our amazing campus, other options were sparse. That’s just not the case now.
Now, we have a choice. Now, we have to work hard to create and maintain this precious legacy. And to be sure, this is not the only community to which we, or any of us, belong. But this is the one that is, and always will be, home. Because you know the Jews – we all stick together.
Harrison Lord grew up in the only Jewish family in Buies Creek, NC. His parents (also Temple Beth El members) drove him and his sisters an hour (one-way!) to Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, to make sure he and his sisters became a part of the Jewish community. It worked. Harrison and his wife, Annie, together with their children Andrew and Hadley, now call Charlotte, and Temple Beth El, home.