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Meet the Members

The Lenhoff Family

BJC: What attracted you to Beth Jacob Congregation and/or Tell us something of your Jewish journey to BJC? 

Z: I (Zoe) grew up in Beth Jacob, when Rabbi Zack was head Rabbi and the Hollanders were still among us. I was Gen 3 of the Gan Mah Tov preschool and proudly have my handprint on one of the outside walls. Beth Jacob has always been home for me and when I moved back West, I knew there was no other place I would want to join. When I met my now husband Max, he was similary struck by the homey yet powerful camaraderie among congregants. Rabbi Albert married us here in Oakland, and we've been members ever since.  

BJC: Tell us about yourselves. 

We are a family of three: Zoe, Max and Elisheva (7 months), praying to expand and keep Gan Mah Tov well stocked. Shockingly, we are all California natives. Zoe grew up here, Max is from Long Beach and - of course - Elisheva was born at Kaiser. Although Max and Zoe both lived on the East coast for several years, we never got used to the limited recycling and longed for the many vegan creamer options at cafes. Furthermore, the grandparents are still in the Bay and we are so grateful they are able to see (and help!) Elisheva grow. 

BJC: Please tell us about your children. 

Elisheva is our constant ray of sunshine. She is 7 months old but we joke she has an old soul. She adores Shabbat - she gets to sit in her high chair with the adults at the table, sample different foods, and loves the singing - especially Birkat. She even used to kick along to the tunes when she was still inside me!

BJC: What are your interests and hobbies? 

Max is THE Tesla fanboy. Not only does he work on their batteries, he is a walking encyclopedia for all things electric vehicle. Zoe admires his passion for our environment and how Max has the ability to make the topic infectious.  Zoe is a sports enthusiast (doing not watching). Anything that requires sprinting, balance and/or strength she adores. Ellie follows her mother - she already takes part in family workouts.   

BJC: Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know. 

Between Max and Zoe, we have been to every continent and over forty countries. We are passionate about experiencing the world and hope to instill that value into our children. So far, Elisheva has made it to Costa Rica, Hawaii and DC. Our dream is to finally take her to Israel. 

If you have a favorite quote or would like to express a thought please feel free to add it.

We are so grateful for the warm welcome this wonderful community gave us during a global pandemic and we hope to get to know each of you better as Beth Jacob continues to strengthen and grow!

Robert Eisenman

BJC: What attracted you to Beth Jacob Congregation and/or Tell us something of your Jewish journey to BJC?

RE: I grew up in a Conservative Jewish community, but between going to JCHS, my time with the Jewish community at Emory University in Atlanta, and my own personal interests in Torah study in general, I started to desire to increase my own observance. Other communities in the area were not really doing it for me, so my mother suggested I check out Beth Jacob. I accompanied a good friend of ours who was a member (Meir Moshe) one Shabbat and it seems to have clicked.

BJC: Tell us about yourself.

RE: I grew up in Lafayette, where I currently still live with my parents, though I’m slowly working on leaving, ideally to live somewhere closer to Beth Jacob. As I said, I went to Emory, where I got a degree in Mathematics & Computer Science, and I now work as a software engineer at Workday.

BJC: What are your interests and hobbies?

RE: Besides Torah study (I started reading Daf Yomi with this cycle, but I study Tanakh more in-depth), my primary hobby is playing tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons and others (mainly others). I also like board games and video games, and I read a lot, both fiction (especially Tolkien and other fantasy) and non-fiction. I am always trying to learn new things, both career-related, such as new programming languages or technology otherwise unknown to me, and not, such as history, philosophy, and ancient literature. When I travel, museums tend to be a priority for me. I also enjoy a nice hike from time to time.

BJC: Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.

RE: When I was in second grade I created an information packet and recording about classical musical composers of the 17th through 20th centuries that I presented in class. When I mentioned

Beethoven the other kids in class thought I meant the dog. I’m not sure what it says about me that I didn’t know what dog they were talking about.

My personal (admittedly weak) recollection is that this was actually a school assignment that I merely picked the topic in, but I’m told that I actually did it just because I could and I was bored. I do have a tendency to take on miscellaneous side projects like that just because I can even now, but I’d suspect the truth is somewhere in between. I do think I still have both the packet and recording stashed away somewhere, though I think I got rid of the presentation board that I also made for it.

Thu, December 8 2022 14 Kislev 5783