Debra Steinbuch — How You Help
Judaism Provides Flexibility to Meet the Needs of Growing Families
“By giving to our community, we are creating community,” said Jamie Heldman. “When we get involved, we can see the bigger picture and see all that the community has to offer. We’re able to meet people, create friendships, and find which pieces of the community speak to us.”
Jamie and her husband Adam have been married for more than five years, and a key component of their marriage has been an active involvement in Cincinnati’s Jewish community. “Involvement is part of the culture of our community,” said Adam. “We have access to a lot of things that other communities don’t have, and it’s easy to take it for granted, because we’re used to it. But it’s something that takes time and resources to build and continue, and I want to help it grow—both for us and our son.”
The couple has a two-and-a-half-year-old son, Eli, and the couple said that raising him in a flexible Jewish culture has been key. “For Jamie, the religious aspect of Judaism is pretty important to her; she grew up in a kosher home and is keeping our house kosher. Whereas for me, the cultural aspect was always more of a focus. But we’re raising Eli with those traditions and those values,” said Adam.
Jamie continued, “We want to see those values and traditions continue; we try to do Shabbat at home at least a few times a month and we also send him to Rockwern Academy. Many of his favorite songs are the Jewish songs that he has either heard from us at home or from his teachers at school.”
According to the 2019 Jewish Community study, the millennial generation is less engaged in traditional forms of giving and participation, but they are finding ways to participate in new ways. “We are still very involved,” said Adam. “Being parents of young children, we may not have time for traditional participation in some of the organizations we have passion for, but still want them to be successful and support however we can. I think as you progress through life, you see the idea of giving, of involvement, a little differently. When we were younger, we were doing a lot more social things with friends, and now that we have Eli, a lot of it is centered around Jewish activities for him—Jewish music class, Rockwern, PJ Library events. We support different organizations within the Jewish community based on personal connections and passion for what they are doing and programs we want to see grow and succeed.”
Jamie said the common thread between their lives in their 20s compared to now in their 30s has been Jewish values. “No matter what stage of life we were in, the activities we were participating in were based on those values that were instilled in us growing up, which are the same values I want to instill in our family moving forward. The traditions of family, milestones, holidays, being involved in different Jewish organizations, all serve that purpose—to create a strong Jewish identity. And the exact form that identity takes may look different for everybody across the community, but just having whatever’s important to you, to be able to carry that on with the next generation, is key.”
Adam said the Jewish community gives him a sense of belonging and togetherness. “Knowing what the Jewish community has done for me, I want to help spread it to other people. This community provides so many opportunities, how can we not support the community in return?”
As for the future of their participation, the couple expects it to change and grow as they do. “I’m doing things differently than I did when I was younger, because this is what makes sense for me today,” said Jamie. “Will I go back to more traditional ways of involvement like sitting on boards or hosting events in 10 years? I don’t know, but I think that’s what’s so great about being Jewish—you have the ability to participate in the way that makes sense based on your life in the moment, and I know I can always pivot and change, without changing my core values and beliefs.”
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