Stories from Our Congregation

The Rosenberg Family

Thank you PTS for teaching us, enriching us and allowing us a nurturing place to grow together as a family unit and part of a dynamic community.

Good Morning. My name is Marty Rosenberg. My daughters and I would like to share our PTS story with you.

When Jill was four and Julie two, we started “shopping” around for a Synagogue in which to affiliate. PTS was the first Synagogue, and as it turned out, the only, that we visited. Ellie and I took both Girls to a Shabbat evening Service where Julie immediately fell asleep in our arms, and Jill kept reminding us that we promised we would have dessert after services. After the Ein Keloheynu was sung, this effusive woman, nearly knocking people over, ran up to greet us and introduced herself as Helen Raiskin, calling out, “Jerry, Jerry, come meet this young family. It was the beginning of our Family’s love affair and 44 year journey with Peninsula Temple Sholom. That evening, not only were we warmly greeted by Rabbi and Mrs. Raiskin, but our beloved Cantor Reich and many warm and friendly Congregants. Weeks later, after joining PTS and being interviewed by Irwin Levin (who it turns out was Ellie’s Sunday School teacher at Beth Israel in SF years before), we were drawn into the Brotherhood and Sisterhood, ultimately serving as officers on both the Boards; I served on the Temple Board between 1982 and 1988 and sung in the Temple Chorale from the formation of the group to the last note sung. PTS has been our community where lifelong friends have been made. A Temple Mr and Mrs Group was where we met young couples our age with young children and many years later and most recently, our Temple Chaverah is where we continue to gather as seniors to play, kvetch and reminisce. It has been an amazing journey where, within these walls, we have studied, prayed, mourned and rejoiced; where we watched our two Daughters celebrate their Bnai Mitzvot, become Confirmants, marry and bless their own children. We have come full circle.

Good morning. My name is Julie Kraus, otherwise known as the little girl who fell asleep during my first PTS Shabbat service. I am representing the middle generation of the Rosenberg family, now known as the Kraus and Engel families. Our generation’s PTS story is about community and connections.

My sister, Jill, and I grew up at Peninsula Temple Sholom, our home away from home. We remember the joy of spending many Shabbats at services and sharing onegs filled with sweets and Israeli dancing. We remember high holiday services, sitting in these very pews, next to our grandparents, running our grandfather’s tzitzit though our fingers. We felt prideful when our dad, Brotherhood member and crowned “Latke Mixologist,” tossed golden pancakes made from the mix onto our paper plates. We couldn’t wait to carry our mother’s home baked Oneg Shabbat sweets to the kitchen during the years when she coordinated the Oneg Shabbats with Jan Batlin.  We remember the excitement that built before the annual Purim carnival during the years when our father co-chaired the carnival with David Nigel. I would spend hours walking in a circle at the cake walk, hoping to land on the number that would award me the frosted chocolate cake. Jill and I attended religious school each Sunday and Hebrew School twice a week. On Monday evenings, shortly after Hebrew School ended, we would rehearse with the youth choir, led by Mrs. Raiskin.

All of these warm and fuzzy memories remind us of how our family found an extended family at PTS, a connection to our Jewish community and personal connections that span several generations. It is so heartwarming to attend high holiday services with those we sat with for more than 40 high holiday seasons.  Listening to Cantor Barry’s voice always grounds us.

Jill and I have not had a major milestone celebration without the clergy of PTS, beginning with Rabbi Raiskin, may his memory be a blessing, and Cantor Barry. This includes our marriages, Jill to Marc, and myself to Ed. It is worth noting that my marriage grew from a meeting at a Chutzpah event. Chutzpah was a PTS prayer and social group formed for young adults. Once again, making connections within our community, ours was only one of several marriages to result from a meeting at a Chutzpah event.

Through the years, both Jill and I taught religious school. The year I taught while studying for my elementary school teaching credential was most significant for me, rejuvenating me each week and enabling me to return to my student teaching week with a full heart.  Jill has taught for many, many years and is still known as Teacher Jill, both on Sundays and during the week in the Pre-school.  Jill has been involved in Sisterhood and sat on several committees, and I spent two years as a co-chair for Sholom Parents. Marc and Ed, our husbands, have always felt welcome at PTS. So welcome, in fact, that Marc couldn’t get enough of this place, serving three terms on the board of trustees. For the middle generation of the Rosenberg Family, Peninsula Temple Sholom has always been, and continues to be, our connection to tradition, celebration, Jewish learning, and Jewish values.

I hope the connections you make in 5778 bring you closer to our Jewish Community and to our community at PTS. G’mar Hatima Tova.

Shana Tovah U’metukah. I’m Jill Engel, the little girl who kept reminding her parents about the sweets after their first PTS visit and the woman who still looks forward to indulging at PTS’ Oneg Shabbats.

As you can see, PTS has been an integral part in our families life for 45 years. So, you can imagine how precious and natural it has been to raise our children at PTS, sending them to religious school with some of the same teachers who taught us years before. We feel so fortunate to have our children study with Rabbi Feder, Rabbi Delson, and Rabbi Plotnik within the walls of our PTS community, bringing us full circle. You can imagine the thrill we felt as we watched our children study with Cantor Barry, learning all they could from our synagogues brilliant mensch and developing special relationships with him.

Here is what our children, the youngest generation in our family say about PTS…

Mollie, age 17:

PTS is the place where I met some of my closest friends and formed my Jewish identity.

Hannah, age 15:

PTS has given me an opportunity to meet some of my best friends and spend time with my amazing family.

Harry, age 15:

PTS has given me the connections to Judaism that were given to my Mom and Aunt when they were growing up.

Coby, age 15:

PTS has given me the opportunity to see my family and friends and become connected to Judaism.

Max, age 13:

I enjoy going to Bar/Bat Mitzvahs with friends and I like the community based programs, like Home and Hope and walking in the Pride Parade.

Thank you PTS for offering programs such as PARTY, Rosh Chodesh, Shevit Achim, Home and Hope, madrichim, preschool camp counselor, youth services… these have been opportunities for our children to get involved and practice Jewish values. Thank you PTS for teaching us, enriching us and allowing us a nurturing place to grow together as a family unit and part of a dynamic community.