Growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s and ‘60s, Larry Scheinin wasn’t religious. Although he was Bar Mitzvahed, Larry attended neither Hebrew school nor Jewish day school. On High Holidays, however, he enjoyed going to synagogue. Although he didn’t understand the prayers or traditions, Larry knew he wanted to be part of the Jewish community somehow.
Unfortunately, as an adult, he never found a synagogue where he felt truly welcomed and intellectually engaged. All of that changed when Larry found Etz Chaim.
Throughout his life, Larry had always been hungry for more knowledge about Judaism. An Orthodox friend noticed his curiosity and suggested that Larry pursue a Jewish education. Larry, retired after working for almost 45 years as an auditor for the federal government, finally had time on his hands. He asked a cousin in Baltimore if she had any recommendations for Jewish learning, and she directed him to Etz Chaim’s Rabbi Porter.
Larry started attending Rabbi Porter’s Sunday parsha classes and was “floored” by the depth of Jewish learning. Eventually, he also started attending Rabbi Pomeranz’s Wine and Wisdom and practical Jewish philosophy classes. Larry was finally part of the Jewish learning community he had hoped to find.
When Larry attended his first Etz Chaim Rosh Hashana service, he felt accepted for who he was. Not only that, he felt he had a meaningful understanding of the holiday and its customs: “For the first time in my life, I understood why they blow the shofar,” he says.
“This is the first time I’ve felt truly welcomed. I can’t say enough good things about Etz Chaim,” says Larry. “I’ve been on an amazing journey of learning, which I plan to continue.”