One of my favorite days of the year is Mother’s Day. I had waited a long time to become a mom and I couldn’t have been more thankful when our triplets finally arrived six years ago! I am honored to be my children’s parent. I also feel a sense of responsibility in giving them a safe and secure upbringing, which also includes establishing roots and connectedness within our greater Jewish community.
Temple Beth Israel’s 18th Annual Mitzvah Day took place Sunday, March 19. This community-wide service day was organized by the Social Action Committee, chaired by Deena Benjamin. Mitzvah Day celebrated the Pomona synagogue’s largest collective tikkun olam activity. The day of good works began at 9:00 a.m. with a brunch catered by Kandy and Tamara Fisher, followed by songs and blessings with Cantor Buch.
Although I am not Jewish by birth, I joined a Jewish community of faith when I had my own children. It was then that I realized how important it was for me to connect with Judaism and I pursued a path of conversion, along with my triplets, who at the time were just two years old. At the ceremony, we were altogether in the Mikveh celebrating a special moment as a Jewish family, solidifying our connection to the Jewish people past and present. Since then, I have worked hard to maintain a Jewish connection within my household and with the Jewish community.
I currently volunteer on Temple Beth Israel’s board as Treasurer and as a PJ Library parent planner. I also run a monthly support group meeting at TBI for families with autism who are looking to connect with others. I believe making connections, and making the effort to maintain them, is vitally important to our human spirit. We also impact others more than we realize by our actions and often underestimate the power of our connections.
I hope that on this Mother’s Day, whether you are a parent or not, each one of you is blessed with new and meaningful connections and that we also strengthen the bond of our current connections. Connectedness after all is one of our most basic human needs and part of why we pray together during Shabbat. I’m going to continue cultivating these connections with my extended Jewish family and try to convey the importance of this to my own children.
Advocacy For Autism hosts monthly support group meetings at Temple Beth Israel in Pomona. Our next meeting is on Monday, May 8 from 7-8:30 p.m. Mr. Chris Grant, an Emergency Management Specialist, is back by popular demand and will lead a free follow-up workshop on creating a disaster preparedness plan to be prepared for, and respond to, emergencies and disasters at home, in the workplace and anywhere else there may be an emergency.
Nicole Aptekar is a parent, advocate and founder of Advocacy For Autism and is a Group Facilitator for Autism Society of Inland Empire. She is active in her temple community, Temple Beth Israel Pomona, where she serves on the Board of Trustees as Treasurer. Nicole, her husband, Jeff, and their triplets live in Chino Hills, Calif. For a calendar of upcoming meetings and workshops, please visit www.advocacyforautism.com. _