From Reform to Orthodox back to Conservative

By Daphne Drohobyczer

    I spent a considerable amount of times at all three major sects of Reform, Conservative, and Modern Orthodox synagogues. I acted as an intern at the Shaare Emeth library with a couple of elderly women, one of them, Sarah, was in her late eighties, and was so sweet to me. Sarah asked me to write essays about their historical files. She was fascinated by my parents' "war stories" and invited me and my mom to her home for Passover, and to a Chinese restaurant. Her second husband was a Harvard graduate and was doing book shelving. At the Chinese restaurant, Sarah had a visible flu, still she came to dinner regardless and spread a lot of good will. I also met a nice couple who took me out several times, Jeff and Erin. They had met in college, and were a few years apart, Erin, the older one contacted Jeff one day and her sister helped her with the e-mail, that Erin put a lot of work into.

    Then, I joined "Young Adults at Bais Abe" and reunited with some friends from high school and college. Natalie was an old haunt from John Burroughs, and was a great friend for me. Unfortunately, we liked the same young men at the same time. 

    The Rabbi, Asher Bloom, always made an effort to say “Shalom” and I met with him once or twice a month, even when I started attending another synagogue. An engineer named George and his beautiful Chinese wife, Dana, had a couple of children, and were friends with Bernie and Susan, 
    who had adopted a child from Guatemala, they all invited me to the park after Kiddush once.

    I babysat for Bernie and Susan once. Even though it was Shabbes, I bought their son, Richard, some ice cream with any toppings. Bernie gave me a “raise” in the check to cover the difference. 
    The Steinbergers had four children, who went to MICDS, with whom I was friends with each at some point. Once, when I was at their home for a Shabbat lunch, I made the error of saying “I believe in God,” and further went on to say “smoking pot made me believe in God.” I should have left the second part of that statement unsaid. Looking back, I see why I may have offended them.

    I was sitting out the synagogues at St. Louis Bread Co, and an elderly man named Tim told me about Kol Rinah and invited me to visit. I went and started making a diverse set of friends right away. A girl named Karen, shared some empathy about Bais Abe and did not judge me for leaving that synagogue. She felt that they were overall a great place regardless. She invited me to her house and showed me photos in her many albums.

    Meeting Roxanne she and her husband Stan give me rides to shul, and we have shared many pleasant conversations to and from synagogue and I sit with Roxanne and Stan for the Kiddush luncheon. Roxanna is so compassionate during the times when I was losing my religion 
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