Newlyweds Lindsay and Austin Nusbaum are building a Jewish home together with the help of Etz Chaim. The Nusbaums had similar upbringings in the Baltimore suburbs. Both attended Hebrew school and sleepaway camp, and celebrated holidays with their families. Austin describes going to synagogue with his mother every Friday night and how meaningful it was when the rabbi invited him to help lead Kiddush.
In Lindsay’s senior year of college, she attended a Shabbat dinner at the home of Efy and Penina Flamm, Etz Chaim’s representatives on campus. She had a great time and instantly regretted not getting involved sooner. Not only did Lindsay become a regular at Shabbat, but she also participated in immersive Jewish learning through Efy’s Kollel and Kollel Plus series.
Recognizing Lindsay’s interest in delving deeper, Chana Grove asked her to meet and talk about young adult programming. Lindsay initially doubted she had the time, but was “blown away” by Chana’s passion for Jewish life.
Although Austin had also attended dinners at the Flamms’ (and bonded with Efy over sports),he and Lindsay are several years apart in age. It wasn’t until they connected on JSwipe a couple of years ago that they discovered how much they had in common, including their interest in Jewish life.
By then, Lindsay was deeply involved with Etz Chaim, having participated in J-Care since the program’s first year. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and Austin got involved in J-Care as well.
The pair traveled to Israel together on a J-Care trip, and fondly remember an early morning at the Kotel before sunrise, amazing experiences of learning, and the chance to “give back” by volunteering at a hospital and a nursing home.
To anyone thinking about getting involved, Lindsay says: “Give it a try—it’s worth it if you want a connection or are searching for learning.” She and Austin look forward to seeing where their Jewish journey takes them in the years ahead.