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Children are our future

Abby Schwartz

In April of 1991, as the older of our two children became a Bar Mitzvah, my husband David (voice quivering and eyes brimming with happy tears) quoted these lines from Whitney Houston’s 1985 hit song, “Greatest Love of All”: I believe the children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way. Corny, I know, but these words express so much about what it means to me to be a member of the Bene Israel Society of K.K. Bene Israel Rockdale Temple.

David and I both grew up in synagogues where our parents were active and where each of us had  meaningful experiences in Hebrew School and youth group; where we made friends and reinforced the 
Jewish values that were taught and modeled at home. Years later the rabbis from our respective congregations married us, and a week later we left New Jersey to establish our first home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As synagogue engagement had been important to both of us Abby and David Schwartz and their grandchildren growing up, one of the first things we did was join a temple, where we quickly became involved in teaching, leading youth group, and attending worship services. We made friends who are still in our life today. And then again, four years later, we left Ann Arbor when David’s medical residency took us to Cincinnati. Now parents of a 2-month-old baby in a new city, we once again looked to synagogue life to provide a familiar anchor. And so it was at Rockdale that we raised our son, followed three years later by our daughter, and through the years, built friendships and relationships, contributed our talents where we could, celebrated s’machot and mourned losses, all in a community that nurtured and nourished us for every one of the 43 years we have lived in the Queen City.

Like us, our children left their hometown and spread their wings in New York and Milwaukee. We taught them well. We let them lead the way. And part of what we taught them is the importance of giving back to the communities where they make their homes, and in ensuring the continuity of the institutions that sustain and enrich those communities. We have talked with our children and our five grandchildren about the legacy gifts we have made in Cincinnati, and particularly at Rockdale, and we know that when their turns come in their communities, they will follow suit.

As I look at the photo attached to my story, I smile. Because it really is all about these kids. Wherever their futures take them, it all started here at Rockdale for their grandparents and their parents, and even for their great-grandparents who joined us in Cincinnati and at Rockdale in 1991. And I’m glad they know how seriously we take the responsibility to pay it forward. I can’t wait to see them all take flight, confident in the example we have set for them.

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784