Guest column: What this Rabbi loves about Tahoe — Part II
Ryan Summerlin November 14, 2013
Last week, I shared part one of what this Rabbi loves about Tahoe. As I considered the many ways my life as a Rabbi, a Jew and a resident of Tahoe, there are so many points of connection. From the array of ways to engage with our natural surroundings to the wonderful people, all reflect so well the values of Reform Judaism — a modern liberal approach to an ancient tradition (www.reformjudaism.org).
This community sitting on the beautiful shores of our lake is rich with people from so many walks of life. From the quintessential ski bum, to the young professional to the tourism industry seasonal worker, to the seasoned business owner embracing another winter and beyond, we see a lot of different people with varied interests. Our Temple Bat Yam community just celebrated 30 years of being a vibrant and healthy Jewish community in town. This is due in large part to welcoming all walks of life we have in Tahoe. We celebrate those who may have different faiths represented in their own homes, those who are here to visit for a short period of time and those aiming to raise their families here. Welcoming all walks of Jewish life and those in the wider community who are interested in learning is an important piece of our identity.
Another part of our Tahoe identity that I love and work to embrace is how much gender equality is lived, especially in recreation. There is an organization that a friend introduced me to lives this value too. It is called SheJumps and has a clear mission: to increase female participation in outdoor activities. (As I have watched this organization live its mission and friends engage with their programs, I cannot help but notice the connection this has to part of Temple Bat Yam and Reform Judaism’s identity as well. The Reform Movement of Judaism that I call my own (Reform) has worked for decades to not only encourage equality of the genders, but to engage women in the highest echelons of our leadership, both lay and professional.
I wake up each morning to discover new reasons I love this place. I am always finding new points of connection between our Tahoe identity and the synagogue I serve and know there is such a great future ahead. For those looking to learn more about Judaism, you are always welcome to join us and for those interested in re-connecting to your Judaism we look forward to seeing you soon. As the Aspens lose their golden beauty, may powder days return with frequency!
— For more information about Temple Bat Yam, visit www.tbytahoe.org.