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Mara Marnocha

My reasons for leaving my Jewish legacy contribution are quite  simple—for my children, their children, and hopefully many more generations of children to follow them. My story is kind of unique. I was originally raised as a Conservative Jew until my dad's second marriage when I was eight years old. At that time, my family joined Temple Sholom and became Reform. I was always forced to go to services, Sunday school, and Hebrew school, and I didn't realize its meaning or importance in my life until recently, thanks to my oldest daughter, Lindsey. You see, as soon as I left for college and my grandmother died, my family stopped practicing, so when the holidays rolled around, there was no one for me to share that with anymore. Unfortunately, that part of my life kind of drifted away from me. I married a man of Catholic faith who was also not practicing his religion.

When Lindsey, at the age of thirteen, approached me with a very strong desire to feel connected to something like so many of her friends at school seemed to be, I introduced her and my eight-year-old Kristen to a Friday night service at Rockdale. At first, it was extremely uncomfortable for them. They had never been exposed to Hebrew, or anything religious, for that matter, besides a Christmas tree and an Easter basket once a year. After getting over the initial discomfort, a beautiful thing happened. You see, my girls craved the connection. They were not forced as I was and as most kids are—for good reason, now that I look back and reflect on the gift my parents gave to me. The decision to expose my children to Rockdale will go down in my life as one of the top five most important decisions I have ever made. That beautiful connection and identity is something that I want my family to continue to experience for decades after I am no longer on this earth. I feel like it was the least I could do because what Rockdale has given to my family cannot be matched with money. The legacy I leave, however, can continue to bless us for generations to come. Thank you, Rockdale. I will forever be grateful.

Wed, October 4 2023 19 Tishrei 5784