On Friday, June 15, Joanne and Jerry Freeman took to the podium in Temple Israel’s Livingston Chapel to speak about their memories of their time as members of Temple Israel.

Originally members of Beth El, Joanne and Jerry decided to switch to Temple Israel in 1975, after that infamous May tornado not only damaged Temple Israel (about which we’ll hear more from Ted Seldin on Friday, June 29), but also destroyed Joanne and Jerry’s home.

“They reached out to us, offering us help and consolation,” Joanne said.

With their three children grown and away at college, Joanne and Jerry compiled a list of reasons of why they should switch to Temple, not the least of which was “location, location, location,” to paraphrase Jerry.

In fact, when Joanne and Jerry first attended services at Temple Israel, they quickly realized they were not the only new members.

“When we got here and we sat down in the sanctuary, we looked around and there was everybody we knew from Beth El,” Jerry said, which elicited a great roar of laughter from the congregants, many of whom may have been thinking of a similar migration from Beth El that is currently underway.

Over the years their children married and had children of their own, and Joanne and Jerry happily attended Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at Temple Israel, and just a few weeks ago, the wedding of one of their grandchildren.

Joanne and Jerry’s story is truly generational, as first they, and then their children and grandchildren became thriving members of the Temple Israel community. And they look forward to the future of the congregation, as Temple Israel continues its march toward history with the Tri-faith initiative.

Jerry remembers:

I’m gonna go back about 10 years ago. We used to go to Florida in the wintertime … and our son Bob at that time was visiting us … and Bob said, ‘You know, I’ve got a dream, I want to sound it out to you.’ And Bob laid out his dream of a trifaith campus. It would involve Temple Israel as the lead congregation.