Michael Grappo, Rashi Parent
I was raised in a non-Jewish family and didn’t have a real personal reference to Judaism until I met who would later become my wife. We enrolled in ‘A Taste of Judaism’ at Temple Israel after we were engaged – highly recommended for anyone non-Jewish who hasn’t taken it! We were married in a traditional ceremony and we started living a Jewish life together. Having children has been the most rewarding part of our journey in this way. For me Judaism has informed my children and family life in ways that are immeasurable and so meaningful to us. When asked if I’m Jewish, my standard reply is ‘my wife & children are Jewish, and I’m lucky’.
When it came time to consider schools, I must say that I didn’t have any pause as to feeling welcome in a Jewish school community. This is because every experience that I had up until that point was nothing but warm, welcoming and loving in so many ways. This was true within our wider family, community and my experience at Temple Israel. What I did find was the same welcome feeling, a sense of true belonging and community as I roamed the halls of our new school and got to know other families and staff at Rashi.
So right away, I felt at home and felt a sense of community where we all can learn from one another and our experiences, while passing along these benefits to our children. I’ve felt respected at Rashi because those who know that I am living a Jewish life by choice know that it is just that, a choice, something important to my family and me, something that has enriched our lives in so many ways. Everyone has been nothing but supportive of that.
I would say to anyone who is non Jewish who is considering the Rashi community to be prepared to be welcomed, never judged, and look forward to a warm community where you can constantly learn along with your children while getting to know some really wonderful families and faculty. This, along with a state of the art educational experience has become a blessing for my family and me, and just another part of our Jewish experience together.