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How Mishkon Changed My Life

By Roberta Tishman

Having grown up in a completely secular Jewish home in New York, I had no model for any kind of Jewish affiliation.   I have no memories of Shabbat meals, High Holiday services, or discussions about Israeli politics.   Yes, my brother did have a Bar Mitzvah at the local temple, but that was just because it was the thing to do if you were a Jewish boy growing up in New York.   Although I was his twin sister, there was never any remote suggestion that I would have a Bat Mitzvah.   It’s not that I don’t feel Jewish, because I do in so many respects.   From the food I cook, to the friends I keep, to the humor and movies that I enjoy.   But the connection to a Jewish religious experience was a bridge too far.

It was not until I met my husband, Phil, that I began to be exposed to a synagogue, rabbi, religious services, and Jewish holidays and rituals.   It’s taken me years to feel at home in a synagogue.   I can’t say that I have yet to fully embrace the spiritual and religious practices of Judaism.   I still get antsy if the services run too long, and my mind begins to wander.  

What has kept me connected is the family I have found at Mishkon.   There is truly something magically bonding about celebrating births, deaths, celebrations, and struggles with the same group of people over many years.   My Mishkon family was there for me during Phil’s 18-month battle with Mesothelioma.   They knew Phil very well as a former Mishkon president, and they loved him, too.  We grieved together, and with their help, I was able to slowly move forward.  I will be forever grateful for the kindness, caring, and generosity of my many Mishkon friends.   It taught me the value of community.       

Mon, October 25 2021 19 Cheshvan 5782