Danielle Minson – How you can help
Robert and Marcy Klein (pictured with sons Jay and Jonathan) believe that giving to the Jewish community is less about resources than about priorities.
August 31, 2020 |
Why I Say, “I Become Part of Someone’s Mitzvah!”: Why Robert and Marcy Klein are passionate about Jewish Cincinnati
A simple place in the community
“I have an easy place in the church,” said Robert Klein, “but I’ve always done what I can. I’m not hiding in a corner. Instead, I raise my hand and say, “I’m interested, how can I help?”
For Robert and his wife Marcy, being an active part of the community has never been an option. “We were both there and understood that it was important even before we were married. Unfortunately, like many young couples 29 years ago, we didn’t have much. We have more resources today, but back then we were still taking care of them and wanted to help. “
Robert was born and raised in the Cincinnati Jewish Community. Both sides of his family arrived in the late 19th centuryth and earlier part of the 20thth Centuries. “I grew up in Amberley Village,” recalled Robert, “and went to Walnut Hills. And my parents, my siblings and many of my cousins too. We all went to Walnut Hills from the 1940s through the early 1980s. “
Robert points to his parents as an important influence in his Jewish life. “I loved and respected my parents very much. They taught me so much about their Jewish values, the things worth cherishing, how to see your community and how to treat others. “
He said he got his first look at the larger Jewish community when he was ten years old and first visited Camp Blue Star in the Smoky Mountains. “I came down there and was with other Jewish kids and thought, ‘Okay, I want to be part of it. ‘Your family is always telling you a lot of things, but you don’t really understand until you’re out on your own. This first camping experience was profound for me. “
A few years later, when he was in high school, Robert visited Israel for six weeks with the United Synagogue Youth Group. “It was an absolutely amazing experience – this connection with our employees. And it occurred to me at that point how important it is to be involved in Jewish life. “
Meet Marcy and raise a family
Robert attended Indiana University and was active there in Hillel. When he returned to Cincinnati, he began attending church services at Hillel, University of Cincinnati. “Someone there set me up on a date. It turns out that the girl was Marcy’s best friend. And through her, I met Marcy, so everything worked out. “(Robert added that he and Marcy later introduced this friend to their 29-year-old husband, so it worked twice.) Robert was even president of UC Hillel many years later and remarked,” I thought it was an important thing , one way to pay it forward. “
The couple have been very active in the Wise Temple over the years, with Robert assuming the role of President of both the Young Adult Congregation and the Brotherhood. He also taught Sunday school there for over 25 years. “It’s just another way of giving back,” said Robert. “I love teaching children to learn about and care for Israel and our history. I think Jewish history is different from other stories because it is a living history. The children have to choose to deal with it; they have to get involved. Otherwise the chain will break. “
Robert said he loved teaching but questioned Wise Temple’s decision to hire him as a teacher. “Growing up in Adath Israel, I easily lost interest. The education office probably has a stack of papers three inches thick about the number of times I’ve been sent to the office. When Wise offered me a job, I remember saying to the rabbi who hired me, “Are you sure you want to hire me?” and he looked at me and said, “Of course I want to hire you.” I told him about my time in Adath and he laughed and said, “Robert, we will hire you.” At least I disclosed everything before they got me on board. “
Robert is also very involved as a volunteer in the Federation and often speaks on the phone to raise money. “I consider these calls a privilege. I have the privilege of being part of a mitzvah with someone else. But I also believe that the only way to teach your children to do these things is by actually doing them yourself. You can tell children how important community is, what you want, but when my two sons hear me talking on the phone, they know what I’m doing. They know their mother and I take care of it and I want them to see these acts, so they later model these things as adults. ”
The Klein’s eldest son, Jay, recently graduated from DePauw University in Indiana and is currently pursuing a career in professional football. Younger son, Jonathan, is studying chemical engineering at the University of Illinois and “has become an avid Frisbee golfer,” said Robert proudly.
He said both boys get their athletic skills from Marcy. In addition to her athleticism, Marcy was an active supporter of the Jewish community. She practiced at Wise Temple and later worked at JCC and Cedar Village before choosing to stay at home with her sons. “Marcy is a perfect match for me,” said Robert. “She may not be the most convenient person to raise money, but she is very sociable and loves to network. So we all have complementary things that we do. “
Lose both parents during COVID-19
“Like so many families during COVID-19, our boys have moved back in and we need to relearn our household routine,” said Robert. But that’s not the only big change the pandemic caused – he has lost both of his parents since lockdowns began in March.
“We lost my mother first,” said Robert. “It was heartbreaking. My father was at that funeral and we couldn’t even throw dirt on my mother’s grave. It sounds trivial, but it’s an easy moment that we couldn’t have. There were several of us, but we were all 50, 100 feet apart in the cemetery. We couldn’t console ourselves. It was surreal. “
He said the last moments with his mother were difficult because the hospice would not allow the family to visit until she was in her final moments. “On the very last day it was my sister and I’s turn to hold her hand and be with her.”
Robert lost his father two months later and he said the situation was also very surreal. “He lived in the Kenwood, which was locked, but we had a home hospice for him so we were allowed in as long as we followed all the rules the Kenwood had. My siblings and I were able to be with him for the past few days, it felt a little different than when mom died. “
He said anyone who loses loved ones during COVID-19 will leave a lasting impression as the grieving process has been interrupted. “I am very, very sympathetic to anyone who goes through this, but these memories will last forever. They are like little scars that we all share and that somehow hold us together. “
But Robert can see the silver lining, even in times of grief and loss. “Admittedly, it was a very sad time, but I am overwhelmed by how many people have contacted me. It just amplified everything Marcy and I knew about our community. We are so grateful to be a part of it. “
Being Jewish connects us to the world
Robert and Marcy have been giving consistently for nearly thirty years, and because of these decades of donations, they are now recognized as members of the Silver Circle Society, which honors those ward members who have given to the Federation for 25 years or more.
When asked how they did it all these years, Robert paused for a moment and thought. “For most of us, life doesn’t throw a steady flow of resources on you, and that can be the hardest part of trying to give. You need to recognize this and work within it to find out how you can continue to function as a family and continue to fund the community. It’s a balancing act for all of us, but you need to decide beforehand that this is a priority as you will be spending years – decades – in the community. “
Robert said the Jewish community doesn’t just stop on the outskirts of town. It’s a way to connect with people all over the world. “I was in Denmark last year and am in this beautiful old synagogue. I decided to sing a few words from my bar mitzvah and suddenly the cantor came running out and asked me who I was. We introduced ourselves and it turned out that this was also the beginning of his bar mitzvah. We became friends straight away and it was amazing. “
“We have this wonderful thing – each other. We were given a Torah, but the Torah without each other is not relevant. I believe in the power of all of us. We received this gift, the power of discussion and dialogue, as part of this larger community. That makes us who we are. “
Robert emphasized his pride in the Jewish community. He noted that when he travels to work, he frequently visits the local Jewish community. “When I’m in cities like Seattle, Washington or Austin, Texas and I describe to these people what we have in Cincinnati, my eyebrows rise. We have something very special planned here, especially for a city our size. Our church has built these very enduring, wonderful organizations that we all want to deal with, and the whole thing is a virtuous cycle and it just feels right. “
Thank you for caring about our community and what we do.
Stay in contact: Subscribe here to our newsletter.
Note: We are not the author of this content. For the Authentic and complete version,
Check its Original Source