Temple Jeremiah


Jeremiah Gems- Sheila Greenfield

When I was a little girl, my parents taught me the meaning of being a good Jew by example. They had an open home for those who needed help and of course we prayed on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, and celebrated Chanukah. We weren’t what you’d call “devout practicing” Jews. I went to Religious school and became confirmed and my brothers became Bar Mitzvah. Once our education was completed, my folks left the temple, but my dad continued to pray, going to the highest point of our home, the attic.

I never stopped being Jewish, I always felt pride in my heritage but I did not celebrate any holidays. I dated and married non-Jewish men and as long as my parents were alive I celebrated with them on the holidays. Because of the cost, I decided not to educate my daughter as a Jew, but shared with her what my folks shared with me. As the years passed I began to dream of a time that I would reenter a temple hand in hand with my Jewish partner/husband.

After moving to Chicago from Philadelphia to be with my husband, Arnold, I was looking for a new job and found a blind ad in the local newspaper. During my interview, I found that it was Jeremiah and I was given the opportunity to return to my roots. Upon entering the temple on my first day, there was an overwhelming feeling of warmth as if God had wrapped his arms around me in welcome. When I entered Jeremiah arm in arm with my husband for my first High Holy days, the tears rolled down my cheeks because I knew it was my dream and I was home.

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