Member Stories

First and foremost, Temple Micah has always been about its people, the individuals that make Micah what it is. It began more than a half century ago as a small group of friends and neighbors. Although the congregation has grown much too large for everyone to know everyone else, Micah remains a community, a complex association of many clusters that retains an enduring cohesiveness.

In this section, members of long standing and recent joiners, elders and millennials, tell the temple’s story as they remember it, share “family” anecdotes from the early days and last week, and thereby reveal the personalities that have contributed to the formation of the Micah Way.

Liz Lerman, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”, is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker. Her art is dance, but that doesn’t explain what she does. Over the years, she brought a new form of worship to Temple Micah. She regularly organized groups of members (from just a dozen or so people in a small setting to the entire congregation on Yom Kippur afternoon), came up with a topic, elicited people’s feelings about the topic and turned those feelings into a dance in which everyone took part–as a dancer or an observer. In 2016, she moved to Arizona to teach at Arizona State University.

Liz Lerman on how she came to Temple Micah

We were a good match as Danny (Rabbi Zemel) was trying to seek new ways for us as a congregation to be together…It would have never occurred to me though that the laboratory would have been worship services.

Harold Sharlin (z”l) and his wife Tiby (z”l) had just come to town in 1976 when their daughter Shifra announced her engagement. After searching for a temple for the wedding, they joined Micah–and never regretted it. A historian of science, university professor and author, Harold involved himself in the full range of temple activities. He never held back his feelings about what was right and wrong, which decisions were wise and which foolish, the correct course of action and the one we’d regret. Whenever he saw a need, he took action to meet it. At age 88, he started a new temple program for members over 70 years. He died early in 2017 at age 91.

I see something outrageous, I’m usually willing to say something about it…I remember when we were in Southwest we had a congregational meeting and somebody wanted to pass a resolution that we not grow beyond 400. I said G-d will punish us.

Harold Sharlin became a member in 1976

Roberta Goren talks about the early school days, Rabbi Mehlman, Torah Study Group

Martha Adler on volunteering as a teacher, “Rice to the Rescue,” Blood Drive and Parenting Discussion Group.

Larry Cooley, a past president, talks about his history and Micah’s

I taught second grade Hebrew with Richard Lahne and between us we didn’t know ten cents of Hebrew but we knew more than the 2nd graders…At beginning, Temple Micah was like a cooperative – everything that got done was done by members…Now, there is not nearly so much of that.

Bayla White, our first woman president, reminisces about her early days and the important friendships made and maintained at Temple Micah.

Bill Page discusses his personal journey from “lapsed Methodist” in the choir to Judaism.

Mary Beth Schiffman talks about her years at Micah and why it is so special to her.

Andy Elisburg, Nancy’s son, shares his childhood memories of lessons learned sharing space with St. Augustine’s.