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Temple merger article brought back fond memories of Har Sinai | READER COMMENTARY

Thank you for the beautiful article about the Har Sinai and Oheb Shalom merger (”Baltimore’s oldest Reform temples celebrate merger with installations, festival of Jewish thought,” May 9).

I am third generation Har Sinai, but my husband and I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 2011 where we found a wonderful Reform Jewish Temple. Your wonderful article brought back a flood of memories of Har Sinai from the time I was very young through adulthood.

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My paternal grandparents emigrated from Leipzig, Germany to Baltimore in 1902, when my grandfather was recruited by the University of Maryland Dental School and when dad was 1-year-old. They settled in a home in Bolton Hill on the southwest corner of North Avenue and Eutaw Place, facing Eutaw Place, and joined Har Sinai. The three Reform Jewish temples were located in Bolton Hill. After Friday night and holiday and Holy Day services, clergy and congregants from all three temples would gather on the streets there. I was about 9-years-old when the temples moved uptown to various locations on Park Heights Avenue.

Your article mentions photos of both temples’ confirmation classes (10th grade) from 1930 to the present being displayed. I was in the Har Sinai confirmation class of 1965, so I would be one of the teens in the 1965 photo.

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Being a drama person nearly all my life, I was asked to coach the confirmation classes in their presentations for the ceremony. I did this under the same confirmation class teacher that I had when I was in the religious school, Irv Lewis. The president of our confirmation class, Mark Levin, is now a rabbi in Kansas City.

I was active in the youth group and Mom and I, as an adult, participated in the Har Sinai Sisterhood and my dad in the Brotherhood. The great Rabbi Abraham Shusterman married my parents, named me, confirmed me, and married me and my ex!

My children, a 45-year-old son now in Michigan and a daughter, 41, now in Ohio, were 4th generation Har Sinai when growing up.

My ex was raised at Oheb Shalom. It is heartening to know how successful this merger is and how the two congregations worked together to create this merger resulting in a vibrant Reform temple. I wish them all the best going forward.

— Patricia “Patsy” Parker, Phoenix, Arizona

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