Last Friday, three of the four Friedman siblings, Anne, Sue and Tom (Howard was out of town), took center stage as that week’s Summer Speakers.

Last Friday, three of the four Friedman siblings, Anne, Sue and Tom (Howard was out of town), took center stage as that week’s Summer Speakers.

Anne Shackman started off by recounting the history of the Friedman family at Temple Israel, from their grandparents through their children’s Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Did you know the Friedman’s grandmother helped design the original stained glass windows that hung in the sanctuary? The ones that were unfortunately destroyed during the 1975 tornado? I sure didn’t.

Anne shared her memories of religious school, and her “Bas” Mitzvah, as girls’ ceremonies were called back then.

Sue Millward also talked about her religious school experience, while Tom read an email from their brother Howard.

Howard shared an anecdote about how because he and Tom were born in the same calendar year their mother decided they should share their Bar Mitzvah, which was going to be in the fall, which meant they were supposed to study over the summer. But they went to camp in Wisconsin instead, and returned to Omaha without having learned a lick of their Torah portion.

Rabbi Brooks was not pleased with them.

Tom also talked about some of his youthful tomfoolery around the Cass Street Temple Israel, including sticking his finger in a light socket (“My best advice for young people is, Don’t do it”) and getting into an apparently profanity-laced argument with Rabbi Brooks, which sounded like it did not go in Tom’s favor.

Listening to the Friedman brother and sisters talk about not only their personal history with the Cass Street building, but their parents and grandparents, and then their children, really illustrated the history of the building, how long it’s been around, how much has happened within its walls.

It was also striking how the Cass Street building was home to so many generations of memories. Anne, Sue, Howard and Tom described confirmations, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, events that run the entire gamut of life experiences.

It was touching how many good memories they had of their time at the Cass Street Temple Israel, and it was heartening to see that even as they shared memories of Cass Street, they were able to look forward to the new building and the new memories that will be made there, not only by them, but by their children and grandchildren.