Omer Story Share: Spence Gould

I grew up in Clinton, a small Central MA town with only one synagogue, founded in 1927 by my grandfather, his older brother, and their peers. We never had more than 20 Jewish families, and Rabbis never seemed to stay long. Papa Louis was either leading services from the Bimah, or sitting in the right front row, right-most seat. His three sons and their families sat in the next three rows, from oldest to youngest son, EVERY Shabbat morning and Jewish holiday. We each lead parts of the service before becoming a Bar Mitzvah, and afterwards ALL of my uncles, cousins, and brothers frequently had aliyot or chanted Haftorah. My brother Lester is currently the weekly Gabbai.

My mom wanted all her children to be exposed to more Jewish kids, so my brothers and cousins went to High School in Worcester. I loved telling her how my best Jewish friend’s family spent first eve of Pesach…not at a seder but out for lobster dinner!

Off to BU, but two weeks before got a phone call from another High School friend, who frequently had come to spend High Holidays or a seder with my family. His dad had just passed; he asked if I could come with him to Hillel so he could more comfortably honor his dad through Kaddish.

Spring, 1982….my 6th year in Boston Public Schools, I started walking at the JP Pond for afternoon exercise with another Special Ed teacher named Betsy. After walking almost daily all over Brookline & Boston JUST to be together, we were wed in October at her childhood synagogue, Temple Ohabei Shalom!

TOS has been the home of MY family’s Jewish life…our wedding, son Eddie at Ansin School, his Bar Mitzvah, Betsy’s adult B’Nei Mitzvah, and sadly, her funeral. But we were blessed throughout these almost 40 years, immersed within this community …Shabbatnicks, TOS Board, Sisterhood & Brotherhood, Toy Drive, Family Table, Galas, TOS working committees too many to remember!

I am briefly in Florida. I suspect the two nearby synagogues are meeting in person, but I won’t be there. Take one guess who I’d rather pray and be with for services!