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Meet Jewish Gateways Participant Charlotte Steinzig

Charlotte Steinzig is a grandmother of three and friend and neighbor of many. Oakland and Berkeley are in Charlotte’s DNA; she spent her youth hanging out on Telegraph Avenue, and now lives in Canyon, on the back side of the Oakland hills. One of her adult children and his family lives up a trail and another lives upstairs with her family. 


Charlotte’s life has been full of meaningful community connections, including working at Kaiser Permanente in genetics, volunteering in social justice realms as well as hospice and schools, and continuing her education at UC Berkeley in her 40s as she raised her family. She has moved in and out of the Jewish community since her 20s. After her husband of almost 50 years passed away, she was feeling particularly disconnected from Jewish life:


Charlotte and her son shopping for woks.

My daughter mentioned Jewish Gateways to me. I signed up for a Jewish overview class with Rabbi Bridget, and I felt the spark of connection once again. Attending High Holiday services with Jewish Gateways strengthened this for me. At this time, I’m enrolled in the Torah study group, starting my third year, amazingly. Last year I joined the Mussar group as well.


Charlotte’s involvement with Jewish Gateways has been a source of meaning and a catalyst for positive life changes:


I was disheartened by some of my attitudes in life, weighed down by them, in fact, and Mussar practice has begun to change my life. In both groups of study [Mussar and Torah], I’ve begun to reach out to others, adding new dimensions to my full life. I’ve also been meeting privately with Rabbi Bridget, planning an affirmation of my Jewish life. This is very exciting for me and for my family.

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