From Generation to Generation…
Even Kresin Steinber is Executive Director of the Beth Tfiloh Congregation and a Wexner Heritage Program Alumna from Baltimore. Eve can be reached at ESteinberg@BTFILOH.org.
It was 20 years ago that I boarded the plane for Snowbird, Utah as a new participant in the Wexner Heritage Foundation program. I was young, and my children were young. I was just establishing myself as a committed (and hopefully valued) member of the Baltimore Jewish community, working on behalf of my Federation, its agencies, and my Synagogue. As a proud member of the fledgling Baltimore group, I had no possible way of foreseeing the impact of the life-altering journey I was about to begin.
Although I was immediately impressed by the extraordinary group of people with whom I was interacting, marveling at the talents and abilities of my fellow participants, and at the depth and breadth of knowledge possessed by the Wexner faculty, I was not prepared to appreciate the synergy that would be created when Wexner classes from across the country gathered for educational and inspirational retreats, sharing their ideas not only during study sessions, but during meals and recreation periods as well, each member expressing his or her individual perspectives on the issues and problems common to all of our communities.
I had no way of knowing that I would get to see and experience Israel in a way that I had never imagined — not just as a fascinating place to visit as a tourist, but as a country of challenges and innovation in which I had a personal stake. Our in-depth exposure to that nation’s political and social infrastructure provided me with insights which continue to impact my appreciation of Israel’s unique character.
I had no way of knowing that my two year participation in the program would evolve into a life-long commitment to learning. The knowledge and skills I gained during the course of my Wexner program and during our follow-up years of ongoing alumni study in Baltimore enhanced and enriched both my volunteer and professional life. As the first female Chairman of the Board of my modern Orthodox Synagogue, as President of the Baltimore Center for Jewish Education, and as the Executive Director of the Beth Tfiloh Congregation, the lessons that I learned from my Wexner experience have been an ongoing source of energy and inspiration.
Twenty years have passed, and I am no longer young. My children are grown and have children of their own. On August 1, my daughter Rachel Steinberg Warschawski, the 11 year old whom I left at home as I traveled to Utah in 1990, began her own journey, most appropriately in Snowbird, as part of Baltimore’s newly formed 2010 Wexner Heritage group. Rachel now has the opportunity to benefit from the richness and fullness of a program that has had such a positive impact on my life and the lives of so many others, and for that I am very grateful.
As part of our studies we learned of the seminal nature of the Passover experience in the history of the Jewish people. The Haggadah that we read each year not only recounts the narrative of the Exodus itself, but also harkens back to a much earlier period in our saga as it recalls the strained relationship between Laban and our forefather Jacob. Studying and understanding our past is critical to ensuring our future. It’s all part of our Master Story. To those who have just begun their course of study, but most personally to my daughter Rachel, the Wexner Heritage program offers you one of the finest and most comprehensive Jewish educational experiences possible. May your Wexner journey, and that of all the 2010 participants, be as enriching and fulfilling to you as it was to me and the other “old-timers” from Baltimore. In the words we read each year at the Passover Seder, ?? ???? ….Go and study!