Growing up as a child in the vibrant Jewish community of New York City, with the loving, strong faith-based, positive influence of a Jewish family, culture, philosophy, traditions and beliefs, was one of the most critical influences in my life. I cannot think of any part of my life that has not been touched or influenced by the wonderful “neshomah.”

I am so grateful that my grandparents, parents and entire extended family worked tirelessly to see that my sister and I were exposed to all the joyous and fulfilling experiences that a Jewish home and synagogue community can provide. Those warm memories remain with me today.

Moving to San Diego in the 1970s was a bit of culture shock to my family. The Jewish community was so much smaller than we were used to. By joining Tifereth Israel Synagogue, though, we were able to replicate some of that great feeling of Jewish continuity and belonging.

To quote Pirkei Avot, Chapter 6, Number 9, “I would not live anywhere, except where there is Torah.” Leaving a legacy to Tifereth Israel Synagogue and the Jewish community of San Diego allows me to play a part in seeing that the blessings I have received will be able to be passed on to the generations to come. Compared to what my family and I have received, this small measure is something I can do to say “Todah Rabah.”