Gently into the
Jewish life, or
My summer with Uncle Max
By Sandi Isaacson with Susan Rogers
This could also be called
"how I became an Orthodox Jew." The story goes back to my grandfather,
Sam, who was very active in his synagogue. I treasure the prayer book his
presented to him in 1946, for making its 60th anniversary celebration such a success.
Because I was named for him, I felt a bond between us. He died before I
was born, but through Judaism I have always felt a connection to him.
After that vacation, the adults arranged things, and before going into the seventh grade, I spent the whole summer with my substitute grandfather and his wife, Aunt Malvine. I had been told that Uncle Max was very observant, and that I should "just put up with it." But it turned out to be a something special.
Sabbaths were magical
Peers lined up
Soda and chips
when he started teaching me to play chess. I was amazed at their gift for getting me to do what they wanted. For example: I was not to go out because that was our chess time.
Cousin Harris may well remember me as a pain. He is almost six years older than me, but there was one occasion when he was nice enough to show me what he was doing with his model building.
Shul with Max
On the way back from shul, we would have a nice
leisurely walk and pass by other synagogues, which he would point out and tell
me all about.
1964 Worlds Fair brought Denver's Fabermans to NYC.
On Shabbos morning, Max and I would go to shul. After shul, he encouraged me to socialize, and he would let me invite a kid for lunch. That's how I met my first boy-friend. He was a newspaper carrier, and he had won a full tuition scholarship to Exeter for the coming year. We had a chess match going and corresponded for a while.
Back in New York
by Susan Rogers
The die was cast, and when Sandi returned home to New York after that summer in Denver, she looked up organizations for Jewish young people.
1969 vacation group
school. This Friday-night-to-Sunday-morning event spent learning, praying, celebrating and socializing in a Jewish environment was often held at Yeshiva University. A shabbaton there usually involved about 150 high school aged youngsters supervised by about 25 college students.
Next: Sandi's party