My heart overflows with thankfulness for the many opportunities I have been given throughout my life, most of them resulting from decisions, some made by others, some by me. Some were carefully reasoned, yet more often they had to be made blindly, not knowing where they would lead.
One wonderful opportunity came from
both sets of my grandparents, decades before
I was born. My grandparents were all
born in Russia. In the movie “Fiddler on
the Roof,” Jews in Russia were attacked
by Russian soldiers or peasants on orders
from the government. These fateful pogroms,
as they were called, often resulted
in the deaths of entire communities.
Because of the pogroms, my maternal
grandparents decided to leave their ancestral
land and journey with their children
to the United States of America —
The immigration of my paternal grandparents
is another story. How thankful I
am for their difficult, risky decisions.
Then my parents, who met in Cleveland,
Ohio, made a decision to open opportunities
for their children. When they had
saved enough money to buy a house, they
chose one near excellent public schools.
My mom and dad were so proud when my
sister and I became the first in our family
to graduate from college.
More opportunities occurred when my
late first husband, who died in 1960, joined
the navy in the last years of World War II.
Because of his service, I became a URW:
UnRemarried Widow, eligible for a widow’s
privileges from a deceased veteran.
This opportunity provides a monthly stipend
and almost unlimited medical care.
Yoga was an opportunity that almost
got away. Thirty years and many life adventures
ago, I noticed that a yoga class
was starting. I had heard about the benefits
of yoga but had never done it. I decided
to try it and leave if I didn’t like it. I
loved it. I knew at once that yoga was for
me. I studied for 10 years and then seized
the opportunity for a yoga teacher certification.
I have been teaching ever since.
When I was young, I thought I would
live in Cleveland all my life, never expecting
that I would live and work in Maryland,
North Carolina, California and Colorado.
Fort Collins has turned out to be full
of opportunities for me to be an active senior.
Examples: swimming pools at my condo,
the Senior Center and EPIC; the indoor
skating rink at EPIC, and snowshoeing.
I am glad I made the decision to join the
caring community at Congregation Har
Shalom, where I have had the opportunity
to study Torah, the first five books of the
Old Testament. I don’t have much background
in Bible studies, yet I “sit among
scholars” as did my grandpa the scholar. I
like to imagine him looking down at me
from Heaven and saying approvingly:
“Nyomelle! (Yiddish version of my Hebrew
name) a woman, continuing my studies!
Only in America could it happen!”