My experiences growing up at TRT helped me to develop my Jewish identity and embrace it in my everyday life. TRT taught me that Jewish values do not apply only within the walls of the temple, but also in my personal relationships with my family and friends, and in my professional relationships with colleagues and adversaries. They enable me to make the right decisions in order to be the kind of person I truly want to be.
TRT School classes allowed me the explore what Judaism meant to me beyondBar Mitzvah. The connections with friends I made are still relevant today. Those experiences led me to explore Jewish summer camp, and become a Hebrew School Teacher during college. Now, as a producer of Jewish Music and Music Director of a congregation, I am living a Jewish life day to day thanks to the start at TRT.
Having been educated at TRT from age 3 until I went off to college, I have come to understand the value of lifelong education while also discovering what it means to be part of a community that cares for its members in times of happiness and in times of need. Undoubtedly, these values have played a role in my decision to pursue a career in medicine and have helped me shape my ideals for how I want my future to be, in terms of career, family and friendships.
Hello, my name is Stephanie Klemons. I am currently in the Tony award-winning Broadway musical In The Heights. I became a Bat Mitzvah at TRT back in ’95. I remember in Hebrew High (after becoming Bat Mitzvah, I decided to stay on board and continue my Jewish education there at the temple), Rabbi Weber took us to Camp Kutz.
One night we sang this kitchy song that went something like this, “Wherever you go, there’s always someone Jewish, you’re never alone when you say you’re a Jew, so when you’re not home and you’re somewhere kind of newish, the odds are don’t look far, ‘cuz they’re Jewish too.”
I believe that religion is not the sole source of morality. However, working with policy makers in Washington, DC, I have a newfound respect for moral compass. I have found that my education and growth at TRT helped me to understand how mitzvot and Jewish law interact with modern life. As a Reform congregation [and through a traditional approach to prayer], TRT allowed me to understand the rules and traditions of Jewish life, and decide for myself what actions are appropriate and compatible with participation. Tzedakah has become a significant part of my adult life and I credit TRT’s tremendous work in social action, including their TRT Cares program, with influencing me to give back in bigger ways than I ever thought I could.