Rachel Segalman: On Being the first B’Mitzvah Family at Trinity Lutheran

When I was a child, my family belonged to Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, Texas.  At the time, Beth Torah was still raising a building fund.  My earliest fond memories of this very inclusive, family-focused community were in the sanctuary that they shared with a neighboring church.

I loved the coziness of the curtains that covered the crosses and the mobile arc that rolled in on Fridays and out on Saturday evenings.  As a result of this accommodation, our young, scrappy congregation developed a strong community spirit that carried over to our new synagogue, where the other children and I had great fun entertaining ourselves playing “shock tag” on the newly installed carpet while we were “helping” with the landscaping, laying tile, and baking challah.

These are some of my strongest and happiest memories of the importance of a Jewish community.

For us, the story of Trinity Lutheran welcoming us into their sanctuary to help us maintain a community and a place to worship invokes both nostalgia and all of the community sprit I remember from my childhood. For this reason, we were thrilled to be the first Bar Mitzvah of CBB@Trinity Lutheran (as my family refers to it).

The sanctuary at Trinity Lutheran is warm and welcoming with great acoustics thanks to the high pitched ceiling. While the crosses are covered, the pews remind us of the welcome being extended by Trinity Lutheran’s community. The front several rows have what my kids refer to as “cushy” seats that serve as an incentive to sit up front and participate in the singing (no more bribery needed from the Cantor for this!).

Most importantly, however, we got to celebrate the welcoming of our middle child, Ori Margalith, as an adult member of CBB in a place that symbolizes community and religious tolerance.  As Cantor Mark, Rabbi Steve, and Rabbi Daniel led Ori through the various last minute practices at the church, we watched the sanctuary transition from the giddy wedding rehearsal of a young Lutheran couple to the giddy Torah practice of our 13 year old son, and Pastor Mark made room for us in their sanctuary so that Ori could sign his B’Mitzvah certificate.

I cannot think of a more meaningful way to teach our son the importance of tolerance and community.