Excerpts of the speech given by Bekah Blumenfeld and Ellie Bogost at the Jewish Federation of Madison 2017 Tzedakah Campaign Kickoff ~ Flavors of Jewish Madison
Bekah and Ellie's Flavors of Jewish Madison: Creating Connections, Building Community, Nourishing Education, and Ensuring A Jewish Future
Bekah and I have grown up being incredibly close as first cousins and our Judaism has always been extremely prevalent in our lives. Starting from our Jewish preschool, Gan Hayeled, to graduating from Midrasha and earning our Midrasha incentive award, we have always been grateful for this Jewish community in Madison.
We are so grateful for Gan HaYeled for many reasons. Not only were we receiving a great education comparable to any other preschool in the Madison area, but we started learning about Jewish values and made Jewish friends since we all went to different schools starting in kindergarten.
Once we were in elementary school, we both started spending our summers at Camp Shalom. I even went on to work at Camp Shalom for the past two summers. The way Camp Shalom made everyone in the Madison community feel included and accepted really showed me what Jewish values are all about.
In eighth grade, we started attending Midrasha. We met once a week to learn about different topics related to Judaism, but also to connect with our friends and meet new people in the Jewish community. Midrasha allowed us to be more open and comfortable with our Jewish identity and learn how to handle issues facing Jewish communities all over the world.
We were both fortunate to receive the Midrasha Incentive Award upon completing our five years of Midrasha. I plan to use mine for some of the costs on Birthright one day and possibly take a Jewish course in college.
I have taken Hebrew courses such as a Jewish/Yiddish literature course, and gone to Israel for a community service trip with the help of the Midrasha Incentive Award.
Growing up with an amazingly supportive Jewish community has instilled strong Jewish values in both of us. It has strengthened our confidence to take on the real world as young Jewish adults. We know all that has been instilled in us by our Jewish community will guide us to be productive members of our communities and beyond.
And for that we are both very proud and grateful to say we are and always will be part of the fabric of the Madison Jewish Community.