There are so many things I love about Temple Beth Abraham (TBA). I love my daughter’s joy, running: through the gate to the Gan (preschool) every morning; or across the bimah for candy after Ein Keloheinu; or for an extra piece (or two) from our dynamic seniors, who always seem to keep a stash of sweets to bribe smiles from the kids; or, around the whole sanctuary on a Rock n’ Roll Shabbat.
I love the way the community received my family when we first arrived here from Back East. We left behind friends and family, and this community welcomed us, and made what could have been a tough transition much easier. TBA is where my family met our chavurah, our extended new family.
I love the diversity of our congregation, with leaders who are African American, gay, Jews-by-Choice – maybe all three at the same time. This is a community with members I greet each week who are: poor and rich; single and married; very young and very old; doctors, lawyers, landscapers, and sushi chefs; sons and daughters of rabbis, and products of mixed marriages, brand new to synagogue life.
I love our Rabbi, who is the most welcoming, the finest community-building Rabbi I have known. He has a lot to do with the fact that so many youth here grow up with a positive Jewish experience – so much so, that many of our teens jump up to lead Ashrei and keep coming back to lead us in prayer, years after their bar and bat mitzvahs.
I admire the people who make this place run: from the devoted custodian; to the director of the religious school, who also reads columns of Torah on most Shabbats on a moment’s notice. We have members who teach our children what they need to know for their b’nei mitzvah, who handcraft tallitot, and who embody menshlikhkeit, making sure no member family in need ever feels they have to face life’s toughest challenges alone. Speaking of healing, I will put our weekly misheberach, led by the angelic voice of Dr. Denise Davis, up against any congregation’s. On another note: I doubt you will find a more delicious Oneg Shabbat anywhere.
TBA can fill even the most ambitious social action volunteer’s calendar – we have become a moral force in the East Bay. If you want intellectual stimulation, we have plenty – recently hosting not only famous Jewish scholars, like Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, but also a Jewish leader from China, Shi Lei. We have Israel advocacy, Holocaust remembrance, and Jewish history programs that can match any community of our size, and we will continue to build on these successes.
Maybe most of all, I love that TBA is a place where we can be ourselves, because this community will accept us, embrace us, and give us meaningful opportunities to make a difference. For me, every week, no matter what happens, TBA is a place that resets my system, giving me the courage and inspiration to face the week, to go forth and try to make the world a better place and take care of my family. TBA, simply put, is home. I welcome you to join us.