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Sunset Views

Personal Story

The Luries

​​The Luries—Michelle, Howard, Harper, and Logan—have grown Jewishly as individuals over the past year—and as a family. Michelle, Howard, and older sister Harper thank Etz Chaim for helping them on their Jewish journeys. Younger sister Logan is currently active in the Jewish community at the University of Maryland.

Parents Michelle and Howard met in college in South Florida. Although both celebrated holidays with their families growing up, neither had been affiliated with a synagogue. As a young couple preparing to start a family, they decided to get more involved, and joined a Conservative synagogue after moving to Baltimore in 1993. Over the years, they remained active with the synagogue, celebrating their children’s B’nai Mitzvah there and attending Shabbat and holiday services.

A friend got Michelle involved in Etz Chaim through Jewish Women of Howard County (JWoHoCo). Michelle always enjoyed the group’s activities, so when Elana Pomeranz asked if she’d like to participate in a Momentum trip in 2019, Michelle’s answer was an enthusiastic yes. Michelle found the trip incredibly meaningful, and continued learning with her group despite the pandemic.

During the pandemic, the Luries often gathered on Zoom to light Friday night candles with their parents and siblings, who live in other states. Neither Michelle nor Howard regularly lit Shabbat candles growing up, and they credit Etz Chaim with inspiring them to bring this beautiful tradition to their families during a difficult time.

When the Luries’ daughter Harper graduated from Christopher Newport University in Virginia in 2021, Michelle encouraged her to get involved with Etz Chaim as well. There hadn’t been much Jewish life on Harper’s campus, and Harper was eager to get involved. Harper joined J-Care, and participated in the young professionals’ Israel trip in 2022. “Etz Chaim helped me reengage with Jewish life and continue learning,” says Harper. “Shabbat dinner with my friends in J-Care—many of whom I wouldn’t otherwise have met—has become a highlight of my week.”

Howard has also been to Israel with Etz Chaim, joining the Momentum men’s trip with Rabbi Pomeranz in 2022. Howard and Michelle are also active in the Etz Chaim book club, and have attended Wine and Wisdom. The Luries have also enjoyed participating in Etz Chaim Shabbat and holiday celebrations as a family.

Michelle, Howard, and Harper all appreciate the warm, welcoming, and nonjudgmental atmosphere they have found at Etz Chaim. “Everyone should try at least one Etz Chaim program,” says Michelle. “They’ll be back for more.”


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