Growing up in Baltimore, Ilene Heneson attended Beth Yehuda with her family, including her Bubby and Zaddie, and always observed Shabbat. Over time,she became less observant, although Judaism was still important to her.
Ilene’s Jewish journey with Etz Chaim began over 30 years ago, when a friend who had been attending Rabbi Porter’s Sunday morning classes encouraged Ilene to join. Ilene thought the classes were wonderful, and appreciated getting to know Rabbi Porter and making new friends—including friends with whom she has been enjoying Shabbos lunch for over a decade. Thanks to Rabbi Porter and Etz Chaim, Ilene has deepened her Jewish knowledge and observance in ways that feel profoundly meaningful to her.
“Etz Chaim gives you a special feeling,” Ilene says. “It’s different for everybody, but it’s always inspirational. It’s a great mix of people. Whether you just enjoy the camaraderie or if you want to learn more, you’ll always be welcomed.”