by Sue Lifschiz, September 28, 2012
A year ago, just before the High Holidays, Jule and I moved from our home in San Rafael where we had lived for 48 years to Oakmont--a senior community in Santa Rosa. At a newcomers' event we met another Jewish couple, and they invited us to attend High Holiday services with them at their synagogue in Santa Rosa. Anxious to establish connections in our new community, we accepted. The services were OK, but something was definitely missing, and I didn't identify exactly what that something was until last week when we returned to Rodef Sholom.
Even though Rodef Sholom is only an hour's drive from our new home, at our age driving is becoming more of a challenge, especially at night. So we drove down early on Erev Rosh Hashanah and stayed overnight at a nearby hotel so we wouldn't have to drive home late at night and back early the next morning.
By the end of services on Yom Kippur, I was simply overwhelmed by my sense of comfort and belonging. We had joined Rodef Sholom shortly after our daughter Jan was born in 1964, and she was named in the synagogue. Both our girls were confirmed at Rodef Sholom, and Jill was married by Rabbi Barenbaum. Rabbi Stacy Friedman blessed the memories of my parents as we laid them to rest. Certainly we weren't as involved in Temple life as we could have been. Like many others, I suppose, our level of activity seemed to vary with our needs at the various stages of our lives.
This year, before, during and after services, we reconnected with so many old and dear friends. We caught up on the news of their families, their travels, and yes, even their illnesses. We saw how, like us, they had aged but had mellowed. It felt so good to see them. Reuniting with so many lifelong friends, I was struck by what a major role Rodef Sholom has indeed played in our lives. Not only socially, but in other ways as well. We saw so many families where Jule had provided orthodontic treatment for the children.
We recognize the huge extent to which those contacts made at Rodef Sholom are responsible for the success of his practice. On Rodef Sholom's website it is stated. "Our congregants know the value of community." Sitting there among those who have been a part of our lives for so many years, I dramatically understood the full meaning of Rodef Sholom as community. Coming back to Rodef Sholom was truly coming home.