May 21, 2019

The Connection and Community We Crave

“I just returned home from our first trip to Israel. I’m 45 years old and converted to Judaism at the age of 24. I was raised with Christmas but without religion. I was shomer Shabbos for 11 years and have been just Jewish for the past six.

My husband is born and bred west Rogers Park. He went to Ihop on Saturdays as a child and graduated from Brisk Yeshiva, valedictorian in a class that numbered two. His brother made aliyah as a teenager. My husband went to DePaul University and worked at the J.

We are raising four children who have attended Jewish and secular preschools, day school and public school, Jewish and secular camps. We are no longer members of a shul, but are guests of dear friends for every holiday meal, and our daughter has joined her University’s Chabad community. We are today’s Jewish family.

As the new CEO for JCC Chicago, getting to Israel was top on my list. That the General Assembly was being held in Tel Aviv presented an opportunity just a couple months into my tenure. I joined the Chicago delegation and, at the suggestion of my Jewish Federation colleagues, invited my husband to join me. We added a few days before and after to experience the homeland of the Jewish people.

Our trip was scheduled to provide a baseline. Trip must-sees included: Caesarea, Jaffa, Masada, Jerusalem, the Independence Hall exhibition, Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum, City of David, Old City, Western Wall tunnels. And more.”

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