Reflections on being Jewish in South Lake Tahoe: Temple Bat Yam is a family
Ryan Summerlin July 25, 2013
It was spring of 2005 when I traveled cross country from the DC suburbs to Northern Nevada. I had my dog, a bust of Moses and all that I could squeeze into my 1997 Ford Thunderbird. My current address, at the time, was that car and its license number. My son and daughter-in-law provided me with their address for authorization purposes and to dispel the rumor that I might be homeless or almost penniless.
Even with my job at Wal-Mart, I came to realize that I wasn’t getting any closer to meeting people or making friends. I decided that even better would be those of the same religious persuasion.
So, on a Saturday morning, I grabbed the dog and left Carson City to venture up to South Lake to attend Shabbat services at Temple Bat Yam. When I pulled into the parking lot of TBY, I was surprised that there only a few cars parked in front of the synagogue. Still, I didn’t get the total picture until I entered the building. I left the dog in the car and went into what was Temple Bat Yam. A small building, at best, with doors that opened into the sanctuary. Even more surprising was what I found when I walked in. I entered in the midst of a Torah study. The people there immediately made a place for me and, of course, the dog. Their warmth and kindness made me feel welcome.
That was my first encounter at TBY. After that, the president at the time welcomed me to TBY as a part of the family. I have since watched my two granddaughters named, attended temple seders for Passover and even had my own bat mitzvah in celebration of my 70th birthday. “Family” is the traditional part of the mystique that is TBY. TBY offers warmth, kindness and family to all those who enter.
Join us the weekend of Aug. 16-18 as Temple Bat Yam celebrates 30 years. For information and reservations, visit www.tbytahoe.org.