Connecting to Each Other, One Story at a Time

by Cantor Eric Schulmiller

One of the best qualities of our congregation is our emphasis on the importance of mutual support. Whether through helpful advice on our list serve, over drinks and conversation at our Rabbis’ homes, or congregant outreach during times of illness, joy, or sorrow, we are a place where belonging is felt through member-to-member engagement. That is why we were delighted, thanks to a serendipitous connection between two of our members, to partner with a wonderful new company called arbor, whose mission is to bring people together through shared history by creating mini-documentaries for families and communities.

This past spring, over a dozen members shared their RSNS stories as part of an ongoing oral history project facilitated by Arbor. Founding RSNS member, Harriet Feiner, opened one of her stories, “Building a Foundation,” with the words, “I’m the only one with this memory, and I would like to share it.”

We soon found out that it wasn’t just our history that was being preserved – it was the essence of each members’ unique connection to our special community. What we learned from these stories is that our synagogue has impacted the lives of people in profound ways — and also that we each have a story to tell to learn from each other.

We are delighted today to begin sharing with our entire community the preliminary fruits of this endeavor, with the first of an ongoing “storyteller of the month” series. In this brief video produced by arbor, Board Member, Bob Schwartz shares a story about the most memorable Torah aliyah of his life, which took place at RSNS on Rosh Hashanah September, 2001.

In the months ahead, these stories will be shared with our members in a variety of settings, and make their way onto our social media and website to connect us to potential new members searching for a place where they can truly belong. We hope these videos will make you feel connected to members you’ve known for a lifetime, or that you’re meeting for the first time through these shared stories! And now for the premiere of Bob Schwartz’s story “Faith and Family,” and stay tuned for more!

Cantor Eric