July 25, 2023
My Texas Jewish journey started with a tragedy and some good luck. The tragedy was that my son was injured in Iraq and sent to Brook Army Medical to recover. The good luck was when Rabbi Gutterman (my rabbi from Rhode Island) sent Lynn and Sam Stahl to me.
They showed me what a warm and welcoming Jewish community in San Antonio is. It started with a group of women who would pick me up at the hospital and take me out, introducing me to the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Botanical Gardens, Cappy’s, and more. Leslie Tramer brought me to Central Market as she knew I would love shopping there (it was a big upgrade from the commissary on base). I was busy cooking meals for my son and bringing them to the hospital 3 times a day. Plus, I was cooking for my grandchildren, who were at the Fisher House with me. I met so many wonderful people while living at The Fisher House, but Temple Beth-El gave me a home away from home. I looked forward to being picked up and attending Friday night services, something I have continued for 16 years, and it still provides me with such a peaceful end to my week.
Lifelong friendships were made for myself and my grandchildren. One such friendship started with a call from my son. I had to get out to San Antonio right away as he had fallen, and his back had gone out. After a few phone calls, I discovered that his two older children were off with a neighbor, but the baby, Kenna, who was 2 years old, needed someone. Lynn was able to pick her up but could not keep her, so she called Prissy Kaufman, who took Kenna in for an overnight stay. It was one of many over the years. They attended the “Build-A-Bear” with Sisterhood and many other Temple events together. Prissy also invited us over for Passover while Bernie was still in the hospital. She wanted to meet me before the Seder. When we met, I walked in, and she said, “You’re not old, and you’re cute” (she was thinking I was an older grandparent).
After many trips to San Antonio, we made the decision to move here full-time. My son was out of the hospital and a single father with three small children, he needed help.
A few years after moving, I met Barbara Moss, who needed assistance in running the Temple gift shop before she could commit to serving as President of Sisterhood. She thought it would be a great place for me to meet people, and so my Sisterhood journey was off and running.
My tenure in the gift shop provided me with so many wonderful memories, from Janie Kolman and I appearing on TV to promote the Hannukah events, to starring on the “Where’s Cleto” show with Gina Eisenberg, and many others.
The TV appearance for last year’s Or Tamid recipient started out with a bang. I accidentally set off the Temple alarm when we entered the building at 4:30 am. Thankfully Alan Berlin was available to turn off the alarm; however, no one notified the police, who arrived fully armed and gave Kay Stein and me quite a fright as she was preparing to make latkes on the show.
I feel fortunate to have served our Jewish community in so many rewarding ways. I have sat on the Sisterhood Board, as well as the Jewish Community Center and the Temple Board. I am also a past President of Sisterhood at Temple Beth El in Providence. I have also been honored by two Sisterhood Presidents with the President’s Award for outstanding service. The Jewish Community Center presented me with the William Alter Award for Emerging Leadership as an outstanding volunteer.
My committee involvement has included chairing the Jewish Film Festival, The Temple HR committee, the Temple Finance committee, and everything that involved the gift shop. I am so proud of the gift shop and the work Carol Kerman, and I have done in finding new vendors. We have heard from a variety of community members that the Temple gift shop is their go-to spot for finding that special gift for a loved one. As my tenure comes to an end at the gift shop, I look forward to finding more ways to give back to Sisterhood and the Jewish community who have welcomed me with open arms.
I am married to my wonderful husband Fred, and together we have a blended family of 5 children, 9 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
Join us in honoring Sharon at this year’s Temple Beth-El Sisterhood’s Or Tamid Luncheon and Installation of Officers on Sunday, September 10, 2023, from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM