Posted on April 1, 2014
Lois Ellen Gold is no stranger to diversity. Whether it pertains to her heritage, residence, or career, she has an entire spectrum worth of experience. Despite all the changes she faced, there has always been a constant that has tied the various threads of her together – education.
From both sides, Lois Ellen comes from a Jewish family. Her father’s family originated from Russia – near Finland. They emigrated from Russia to Boston. Her mother’s family came from Poland. They wanted to immigrate to the United States, but did not have enough funds to cover the journey. Instead, they traveled to England where her grandpa worked as a tailor and they stayed there until they could afford the passage to the United States. During their time in England, Lois Ellen’s grandparents had seven children – her mother was the youngest. Eventually, her mother did make the move to the United States. This resulted in Lois Ellen being born in New York, New York, yet she spent her childhood in South America. Though appreciative of the opportunity to live in several countries and be exposed to different cultures and languages, it was a lonely childhood being an only child with extended family far away in the states. While she learned a lot in South America, she definitely did not receive a Jewish education. With no synagogues around, she had no choice but to attend a Catholic school.
The few times in her childhood she was able to experience Judaism were fleeting but remain vivid. One time her maternal grandma arrived in Panama to visit and arrived with trunks filled with kosher pots and pans. During Passovers when visits back to the states were possible, there would always be a delicious Seder. That remained the extent of Lois Ellen’s Jewish experience until the time came to return to the states and attend college. It was during her time there she met Bob, a practicing Jew. They got married and had four wonderful children (all who have gone on to successful careers and remain true to their mom’s teachings about the virtue of family connections).
Becoming a mother kindled Lois Ellen’s interest in Judaism. She took classes on Jewish customs, literature, and more at the University of Judaism. She read everything she could on the subject. Most of all, she learned from her husband and children.
During this time she also attained professional success becoming a professional writer, a lawyer, and a judge. Throughout all this, she continued to live in a variety of places: Los Angeles, Malibu, and Washington State. While in Washington, Lois became an active member of a Reconstructionist synagogue and developed such a strong connection with them, she was certain she would never feel that again when she relocated to Orange County.
But then she discovered Temple Beth David. What first enticed Lois Ellen was a lecture at the temple. Then she started attending lunch & learn and Sunday study sessions with the rabbi. She became very impressed with Rabbi Myers’ knowledge, and it was because of the Rabbi that she found herself doing something she had never consider possible – forming an attachment to another synagogue and certifying it by becoming a member of Temple Beth David this past December. She also is impressed by the many congregants she has already met. Everyone she encounters has been unique, energetic, friendly, and helpful. Lois Ellen has been especially appreciative of members offering her rides to and from the synagogue that allow her to attend evening events.
When Lois Ellen is not learning she is a teacher. She trains dogs to become therapy dogs. Animals have always been a part of life. Currently, she owns a collie.
Lois Ellen has put a lot of effort into her education, and her effort has been rewarded. She learned to be appreciative of life. She learned that religion is very personal, but it is also about forging connections. And in the short amount of time she has been a member of Temple Beth David, she has learned Temple Beth David is a very good place for her.