Growing up within the Temple Bat Yam community in South Lake Tahoe shaped my personal and religious identity. I was born in South Lake Tahoe in 1988. At this time, my family was working with community members to build a Jewish community in the basin. The community was so new that we did not have our own building and my “name giving” ceremony was in the basement of a local church. When I was 2 years old, in 1990, TBY bought a building and our congregation had a home. It was in this home that my Jewish identity was born.
On Friday evenings we went to temple for Shabbat. On Sunday mornings we went to temple for Hebrew and religious school. It was here that I learned about Jewish customs, teachings, and living. From listening to Torah chanting or making macaroni Menorahs, I was always learning and engaged. I learned values, morals and ethics within the walls of Temple Bat Yam. With the help of my parents and brothers, who were also immersed in Temple Bat Yam, the teachings continued at home.
Temple Bat Yam also engendered many friendships throughout my life. I consider the mothers and fathers of other TBY children as my own aunts and uncles. I know they have my best interest at heart and would always go out of their way to lend a helping hand. The children of our congregation were some of my favorite playmates and friends. In fact, my best friend, who I talk to virtually everyday to this day, was introduced to me at TBY. Throughout the years, all of the TBY “children” have grown up and flourished with each other’s help.
My upbringing within the TBY community has influenced my desire to continue my Jewish study and involvement in a Jewish community. I now live in Los Angeles and am engaged to a Jewish man. We celebrate Shabbat with our friends and family both in our home and within our new synagogue (Temple Emanuel). We also are excited to be married within the walls of our synagogue. Our lives are filled with Jewish customs and teachings, many of which I learned at TBY. I am excited to continue my Jewish education and incorporate Judaism into my every day life. I will always be grateful for growing up in the TBY community.