We have a long tradition of sharing our Jewish journeys. We have had photo shows of members’ trips to Israel, and family trees, Friday night Growing-up Jewish talks, and contributions to our literary journal.
We love learning about each other!
Read about Abe's story in this interview, "Google the Kugel," taken by Annette Duke.
Starting in the late 1970’s, I began my first of several “serial joinings” of TAA. In other words, I was a new member of TAA more than once. I would join, allow my membership lapse and then at some moment of inspiration would join again. But the last time I joined about 18 years ago seems to have worked! At that time I went to the new member dinner as an existing member to welcome new families. However, like the new members, I was given one of the centerpieces. “You’re a new member, then you’re not, then you are,” was how the centerpiece was presented.
What changed? My marital status for one, and being the mother of a young son for another. I wanted to raise my son to be strong and confident and to understand his heritage as a Jew of mixed race. My husband is not Jewish. Jonathan and I attended several pre-school gatherings at TAA where we met parents and children with similar but different stories. We connected. Jonathan was later enrolled in the TAA Hebrew School, was Bar Mitzvahed and went to Israel with Y to I (Youth to Israel.) I got involved with the school, joined the Board of Directors and was TAA President from 2007-2009. It’s amazing what one seemingly small step can lead to!
I learned my synagogue prayers in an Orthodox synagogue in Cleveland, Ohio. In my synagogue even the children of grade-school age knew the prayers - in Hebrew - although we did not know what most of them meant. We also knew the tunes and sang along. Frankly, we could not help but know them. We had been hearing them every week, on Shabbat and holidays, since we had learned to walk. Click here to read more.
I am a convert to Judaism and so when I first started coming to TAA, I worried that people would not accept me. I could not read one word of Hebrew and I had no idea how to follow the Shabbat service. My son was an infant who wiggled around and seemed to cry during every Amidah. I did not know the difference between Shavuot and Sukkot. Now, I feel like TAA is my home away from home; I have gone to Israel with a group from the congregation. Click here to read more.
My parents joined TAA in the 1970s when I was in high school. We joined because of Rabbi Geller (now Rabbi Emeritus), but we stayed because of the tremendous community. When I moved back to Beverly with my husband in the 1990s, we joined TAA and been active ever since. Our kids have been embraced by the community as they once toddled around during services and now as teens. For our family, TAA is a three-generation affair, with our kids participating alongside their grandparents in services, community Friday night suppers, and musical programs. And it's not just their own grandparents - it's all of the TAA "aunts" and "uncles" who have become an integral part of their lives.
Phoebe Potts and Jeff Marshall
We stumbled into TAA as newlyweds, looking to strengthen our connection to Jewish life we had initiated planning our wedding. We had just moved to Gloucester, to an apartment next to the synagogue, and songs in Hebrew wafted up to our windows. Rabbi Geller welcomed us and inspired us to learn more about Judaism. My Jewish background was patchy, and Jeff has Jewish heritage, but had no religious upbringing. This didn't give anyone pause: we were treated as part of the TAA family immediately. Click here to read more.
Faith and Fred Rossi
Almost 100 years ago my great-grandparents were welcomed to the very early TAA community when they came to Gloucester from outside of Minsk. They became part of a fledgling Jewish community that grounded them in their new country. The tradition continued as my grandparents, mother and aunt were active members into the 1950's and 1960's as the congregation relocated to Middle Street and transitioned to being a conservative synagogue. Forty years later, after coming to the North Shore as a young family, my immediate family, including my husband Fred, our sons, AJ and Tyler, as well as my returning mother, Sally, have been welcomed again into today's open and inclusive TAA community. Though each generation has found different things in the evolving TAA congregation the long-standing history and continuing traditions remain meaningful.