Shomrei Torah Synagogue
Thanks to the work of Rabbi Camras, Jon, and others, Shomrei Torah is becoming a community where the seeds of curiosity, connection, and intention can grow... For Sarah,* who is a foster mom to four children, what started out as a basic need for support during a tough time grew into something much deeper. A photographer by trade, Sarah temporarily put her career on hold during the pandemic to support her kids during full-time remote learning. Like so many families in 2020, she struggled with expenses, and asked if Second Nurture could help her find a way to pay for school supplies. Within days, two families responded and made sure that her kids had what they needed.
Second Nurture was grateful to help Sarah with supplies, but Talia Green, Second Nurture’s Director of Programs, had a hunch that there could be a more significant way to support Sarah and her kids. “There’s a couple in Shomrei Torah’s congregation that I’d like you to meet,” Talia told Sarah one day.
Talia was thinking of Zygi and Minda, whom she had met during a recent presentation at the synagogue. Though past their child-rearing prime, Zygi and Minda were intrigued by Talia’s presentation about Second Nurture’s work and wanted to get more involved. “We have been blessed, and are able to help,” Zygi told Talia after that first meeting..”it makes us feel good.” He asked her if there might be a family in the community that could benefit from “a surrogate zayde and bubbe,” people that he and his wife could embrace and support. Talia knew that Sarah’s extended family lives overseas and are unable to participate in her daily life, and thought that she and her four children might be just the right fit. With Second Nurture’s help, Sarah and her family are planning to meet Zygi and Minda for the first time this fall.
For Erica, who knew that she wanted a family but had not thought much about fostering, Second Nurture was the catalyst that changed the trajectory of her life. Erica’s mother had heard about Second Nurture, and suggested that her daughter reach out to learn more about fostering and adoption. Curious, Erica attended one of the Second Nurture meetings at Shomrei Torah, and after meeting some families and learning about the process, Erica soon felt ready to begin foster classes. Now, she is on her way toward welcoming a child into her home, and credits Second Nurture for opening her eyes to the possibility. “Thank you for showing me the path to motherhood in a way that I never imagined before,” Erica writes. “It is because of Second Nurture that we are here. You definitely changed my life, and I know I will be a mother now after starting this process.” Erica says that she looks forward to the journey of motherhood, and to being of service to her community in hopes of helping another family find their path.
Jon Cline and family
Shomrei Torah Synagogue’s mission is to teach, challenge and support its members in all aspects of Jewish life through six pillars: nurturing a relationship with God, opening hands to those in need, learning and teaching, supporting Israel, upholding and practicing mitzvot, and celebrating with community. Rabbi Richard Camras believes that the work of Second Nurture directly supports these pillars, and is eager to lead his community as they embrace families connected to fostering and adoption.
Jon Cline is one of Second Nurture’s first and most vocal advocates within the Shomrei Torah community. “Rabbi Camras is an amazing person, and Shomrei Torah is a really neat community,” says Jon, who has been a part of the community for five years. Having been raised by foster parents until he was nine, Jon is enthusiastic about furthering Second Nurture’s impact, and provides them with pro-bono tech support and heartfelt advocacy.
“What I love about Second Nurture is that they remind me of the heart and the ethos of my own foster parents. My foster mom was amazing. I see that same desire to help and support kids in Second Nurture. There is such beauty in that visceral, righteous impetus to help. It can be contagious.”
Jon views supporting youth in foster care as an extension of the Jewish values that he tries to live every day. He explains with an allegory: “Have you heard that story of the starfish? A young boy is walking on the beach at low tide, where hundreds of starfish have washed ashore. He is busy picking them up, one by one, and tossing them back into the sea, when a man approaches. ‘You’re never going to get all of them!’ the man scoffs. The boy turns to the man, holds up a starfish, and responds ‘Well...I got this one.’” This “positive defiance,” as Jon calls it, is what inspires him about Second Nurture’s vision. “I love that: to say, ‘I don’t care about the onslaught and the volume. If I can change one life, it’s worth it.”