Susanna Perrett is a stay at home mom with three wonderful Jewish children and a Jewish husband. They have been learning about the joys and pitfalls of raising children and creating traditions in an interfaith family for over 15 years.
One Welcoming Face
August 28, 2014
|Susanna with her family the year they moved|
After I ushered my middle son to his classroom, that feeling of anxiety was getting greater. I was feeling very much the outsider. There was a bagel breakfast in the social hall, so I went there. Food is always a good idea in my book. I got a bagel and sat down. My younger daughter was still with me, so I had her to keep me from being totally alone.
The High Holidays find many of us looking around the temple not knowing very many people. For those of us who attend regularly, we will have people to chat with, but newcomers or folks that don’t attend much aren’t as lucky. I imagine that many of them feel like I did; nervous and anxious. It’s hard to be “the new kid” at any age. Many “new kids” like me, will know the drill. But, some may not. What can you do to make it more comfortable for these strangers?
Sometimes we never get to know the impact of a kindness, but maybe by just introducing yourself to someone who is new to you at services, you might encourage that person to become more involved in Judaism or even your temple. Maybe you will meet someone really cool. No matter what happens, your kindness is never wasted.
To this day, I remember the kindness paid to me on that September morning, when I felt like a stranger and someone sat down and included me. It continued from there as she continued to stop to chat with me in the coming months. I am willing to bet the woman in this story does not remember this encounter with me, but look at the impact her very small act had on my life. As we are at the start of another year, I would like to challenge all of us to try to go out of our way to be welcoming to the people who could use a friendly face.