Ever since I left my job at the Boston Jewish Federation (CJP), I had a yearning to stay connected to my Jewish soul. I just didn’t know what would resonate or how I would fit another activity into my already busy schedule.

I tried my hand at studying Kabbalah, which spoke to me initially, but then it didn’t. I attended Shabbat services sporadically, but not frequently enough for me to feel what I wanted to feel. Then, I had heard about Eser from several friends and decided to give it a try. As it happens, Eser turned out to be one of the most wonderful communities I have ever found and I consider it a milestone in the development of my Jewish identity.

What made Eser so special?

Perhaps it was the creative topics that were covered over the course of the ten weeks. The material was always relatable, interesting, and led to robust conversations. Maybe it was the makeup of the group – the diversity of voices, wit and wisdom of each participant. Or, it could have been the warmth of our host – the closeness of her home and the delicious snacks she provided. Whatever it was, it was wonderful. It was great knowing that once a week, from 7-9 PM, I had a date with other like-minded individuals and that we would have an insightful and inspiring conversation that would linger with me far beyond our “semester.”

I will never forget the week before Passover, when we spoke about our ancestors’ exodus from Egypt. I am fortunate to have a family with whom I am close and with whom I have participated in countless seders. But before Eser, I never really thought about how the exodus could relate to my secular life. And it is this point that brings me back to the concept of milestones.

My Eser experience changed my life. Thank you to all those who played a part in making it happen.

Do it! Join Eser – it will change your life also. Embrace the possibility of having your own magical milestone.

With warmest wishes for a happy 2016,

Caryn Beth Lazaroff

For more information about Eser, visit www.hebrewcollege.edu/eser or email Bella Ben-Shach at bben-shach@hebrewcollege.edu.