Sorry for the long hiatus; just recovering, finally, from the holidays. Lots to post soon. For now, here’s my article that will be in the upcoming Voice. Mark Jan 11 on your calendars- it’s going to be great!!
In February 1999, Michelle and I moved to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, and put our roots down here. Unlike many in this neighborhood, we enjoyed living in LA. The weather was great, there was a lot to do, and most important for us, we had a wonderful Jewish community. So it was not without some sadness that we left the city that is not a city to become Northern California denizens. Of course the most difficult part about moving was leaving our friends behind, relationships that we had built and treasured.
Among those friendships, one of my closest was with Keith and Laura Miller. We met in 1994, at my synagogue in Santa Monica, and I became very close with the Millers and their children, Adina, born in 1992, and Zachary, born in 1995. When we moved, one of my biggest regrets was not being around to see Adina and Zack grow up.
Watching kids grow up is amazing. We watch them discover the world. We see them change in so many ways, shedding their physical and emotional baby fat, evolving through their adolescence into adulthood. For me, the most gratifying part of my job is the relationships I get to form, especially with young people.
I’ve been at CBJ for more than eleven years, which means that my first bnei mitzvah students are out of college and in the “real world.” I have been able not only to watch them grow up, but also to help guide them through the years. When I get together with these twenty-somethings today, it’s with the ability to see where they have been, and how much they have matured.
How much the moreso do I feel blessed then to see my own children blossoming even as I gaze! Aviva is twelve, and Shira is nine, and every day brings new joys and challenges. I am proud at the young people they are, and at what they are becoming.
I am also so proud of Aviva, who will be celebrating her Bat Mitzvah on January 11, because she understands that Bat Mitzvah is about taking on the responsibilities of mitzvah, of doing for others. In the next Voice, she will write about her tzedakah (Project Leket); it will be a little hard for her father to believe that her picture will appear next to her bio in the Voice as a Bat Mitzvah.
Michelle, Aviva, Shira and I hope that you will be able to join us on January 11. This community has helped to raise our children, and we feel so blessed to be a part of it. We look forward to celebrating together!
By the way, Adina Miller is now a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she is active in the Jewish sorority, and Zack is a freshman at Puget Sound, where he is on the basketball team. And my good friend Keith was the Cantor at my synagogue in Santa Monica, and he will be honoring us at Aviva’s Bat Mitzvah when he leads us in Musaf!