I was born into Beth El. My parents were born into Beth El. My grandparents and great grandparents were here, part of the original group of founders. One set of my parents’ families was from Beechview and one from Brookline. I came up through the religious school and had my Bar Mitzvah under Rabbi Steindel. After high school I went to Israel and then to college in Boston and then came back to the Pittsburgh community. I was about 23 at the time, a single guy living in Bethel Park, and got a call to help out with Beth El Bingo. At that time my cousin Harriet Sufrin was the chairperson. I said sure, be happy to do it. I was probably one of the youngest members at the time. So I started to help out at Bingo and suddenly Beth El became my home away from home.
Shortly after starting to volunteer at Beth El, I met my wife, Adele, who was a member of B’nai Israel in Squirrel Hill. I stole her away from the Squirrel Hill/East End community and brought her out here. We started getting involved with other young couples at Beth El, and along with the Spungens became part of a young couples group that really evolved into a tight group of people who were getting involved in things. It became home for all of us. We developed lifelong friendships out of that. For Adele and me, Beth El is our home away from home. 90% of our friends are Beth El members. We have Shabbos dinner together. We celebrate holidays together. And we have a lot of very positive feelings from our friendships and relationships with people and with Beth El.
100 Reasons is a new blog series featuring members of our diverse and delightful congregational family. We are celebrating Beth El’s 100th anniversary this year with 100 stories, 100 memories, 100 reasons to join us! If you would like to add your story or memory to the blog, please contact Nancy Langer.