The Amsels‘ story: Eric and I moved to Ogden with our two young sons, David (now 19) and Daniel (16), in 1996. We had been living in a small town about a half hour from New York City for several years and were ready for a major change in our lives. We were looking for a somewhat slower pace, and for more time with each other instead of on the roads to or from our jobs. In addition, we were seeking an environment that would encourage us to explore our Jewishness more than we had in New York. Perhaps paradoxically, being surrounded by so many Jews back there, it had been all too easy to “coast along” without giving much real thought or energy to our religious life, and we didn’t want our children to grow up with a nonchalant attitude and minimal awareness of what it means to be Jewish. Ogden quickly proved to be all that we had hoped for, and more, and a large part of our satisfaction with the move stems from the warm welcome we received at Congregation Brith Sholem. We talked with a couple of members before we made our decision to come to Utah and met many more within a few weeks of our arrival. We felt very comfortable with these people; regardless of whether they were long-time residents or as new to the area as we were, we found the other members of the congregation eager for our input and participation. We have made more friends among Ogden’s Jewish community than we ever had in New York, and–equally important–we feel our Jewish identity more strongly than ever as a result of our active participation in the congregation.
I’m Joseph Ansel Hoisington. I’m 13 years old and recently had my Bar Mitzvah. I like being a member of Brith Sholem because it’s like a family. The kids are cool, and I have several friends in the congregation. This year I helped out at Brith Sholem’s Religious School, working with the younger kids as a TA and substitute teacher. Another reason I like Brith Sholem is we do fun activities. Examples are our Chanukkah parties and a day camp at Beus Pond. I also like our Friday night potluck dinners. At potlucks the kids usually play soccer, kickball or basketball.