I grew up in our small town, Lynbrook, where many said I live in a bubble. I never considered the town being my home, only two places in this town – my house with my family and my house of worship. There were many milestones for me at Temple Am-Echad: I received my Hebrew name, attended Nursery School and Pre-K, broke out of my selective mutism phase, learned Hebrew, became a Bat Mitzvah, was confirmed, and graduated from Hebrew High School. These are all significant events in my life that make me who I am today. In the midst of these events, I met some of the most inspiring and amazing people, including my fiance. They say opposites attract; If any of you know Bryan (my fiance) and I, you could see that we are opposites. However, Temple Am-Echad is the one thing we have in common – we both call it our second home.
After we graduated Lynbrook High School and Hebrew High School we felt as if we lost a part of ourselves. I tried to make myself a new home in my college by starting a Hillel, but something did not feel the same. It wasn’t that my connection with G-d had changed, but it was the community that I didn’t get to see everyday.
Thankfully, I have a supportive family both at my house and at Temple Am-Echad. Bryan and I received congratulation notes and donations made in our name after we got engaged and we couldn’t feel more loved and thankful. While I was at school and/or busy with work, my parents could tell that something was wrong – Bryan and I felt that we lost touch with our second home. I woke up one Sunday morning to a picture text message from my brother; The picture was of a plaque in the synagogue in honor of my engagement to Bryan. Suddenly, we felt that sense of community once again and it is nostalgic and heart-warming to see this and have physical evidence that a part of us will always be with Temple.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for shaping us to be who we are today, being supportive and loving, and introducing us to each other.
– Samara Berry