I grew up in Rockland County, New York in a Conservative Jewish family. We attended a (then) small synagogue, the New City Jewish Center, which was warm, familial, friendly, and intimate. I went to Hebrew school, became bar mitzvah, and was raised with a strong belief in and deep attachment to my Judaism.
Shortly after beginning college, I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Though my 'essence' remained, I suffered subtle yet profound deficits. As a result, my priorities changed, both consciously and unconsciously. In 1986, in the midst of dealing with the effects of my TBI, I was blessed to discover a shul around the corner from where I was living that nourished me spiritually; the quaint little building with the beautiful, comfortable courtyard behind the wrought-iron fence served as a much-needed respite from my confusion, and made life less of a struggle. CSFA became my second family, giving me warmth, support, friendship, recognition, care, and fostered a sense of appreciation.
A few years later, I was blessed to find a good woman to marry. Today we have two healthy, dumpling-of-deliciousness boys.
For the past 31 years, regular Shabbos service attendance has become an essential part of my life. On most Saturday mornings, I will be the one greeting you at the door with a "Good Shabbos" (and, if you happen to be the final person needed to make our minyan, "Yasher Koach"), and hand you a siddur and Humash (Torah).
At CSFA, I find I can enjoy my own company in a quiet, contemplative space, along with people I love. And who wouldn't want that?