Karen and I wanted to reflect upon our experience in the Mishpacha Family Alternative Learning program. We were in our 2nd year of this program. We had been Californians for nine years now, and it took more than seven years to find the religious and spiritual connection that felt right and fit for our family. 

Congregation Or Ami has given us a sense of extended family and has filled a void that had been missing since we left the East Coast and lifelong relatives and friends. It started with Friday night services. While we have not been regulars, we have enjoyed the experience and plan (hope? pray?) to participate more in the New Year. 

Mishpacha has also been an important addition to our Or Ami experience. We had lacked an activity where we could connect with our children on issues that are important to people of all ages. While we have learned a great deal about many Jewish issues since joining Mishpacha (I must have slept through much of my Jewish education as a young person), the thing that we seem to like most is that we never know what to expect next from the Mishpacha Coordinators, the Rabbis and the entire Mishpacha faculty. From improvised skits (the Ellis Island one at our first Mishpacha session last year was a favorite of ours) to guest speakers to arts and crafts classes, each Sunday is sure to bring something unique. 

Most people are quick to find fault and express displeasure, and to express it loudly. We wanted to thank the Or Ami staff and all Mishpacha participants for making our family learning program a great experience for our family.