It was an amazing journey down memory lane to go back to Florida to visit the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island, which my father helped to create 30 years ago.
It all came back to me when I walked into the temple. I hadn’t been back there in 20 years, so seeing the achievements and accomplishments of my parents, with plaques of recognition on almost every wall, was so very touching to me, even somewhat overwhelming. This is especially true of the large plaque saying “Raskin Hall,” which hangs in the foyer of the synagogue’s entrance.
I have many beautiful memories of time spent on Marco Island with my family. My parents lived on the island for 25 years, after my father retired. My father served as the lay leader for 13 years, conducting services and seders, and officiating at marriages. My mother played the piano to accompany the services my father led. I remember the Oneg Shabbats after services and the wonderful community there.
The Jewish legacy my parents left for me and my family brings me tremendous pride. It is also noted in the book I wrote, “Pathfinding,” where I highlighted many of my father’s stories in shaded blocks for easy reference.
The trip to Florida also opened up some longing in me, as my parents are not here anymore. But the memory of what they created is so alive! I remember so many functions at the temple.
During my trip, I was touched that one of the temple’s administrators had marked with little sticky notes all the places and plaques where my parents were recognized. Later on, when I wrote to thank her, she said she had known my parents when she first came to this country.
It was also special that I visited the synagogue with the cantor who had worked with my father to co-lead services. It was as though time had stood still.
My parents’ lifelong Jewish journey, my father’s stories, retold in my book, and my grandmother’s folktales have left an indelible and positive mark on me. It’s the reason that I’m so proud to have the opportunity to write this column in Jewish Rhode Island and to be active in my temple and the Jewish community in Rhode Island.
I really do think we as Jews are very special. We all have our faults and foibles, but I think that we also have a tremendous legacy to share. We can perpetuate this by telling our stories to our children and grandchildren, writing them down, putting them in a book or journal so that they can be passed on.
I’m extremely proud of what my family has left for me to pass on.
PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She is on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence. She is a recipient of the Providence Business News 2020 Leaders and Achievers award.