Meet Jewish Gateways Participants the Winig and Monti Family
Adam Winig grew up in Lafayette and after going to graduate school in Michigan decided to settle back in the Bay Area. He works as an architect in Oakland. Veronica Monti grew up in Uruguay, moved to Utah with her family in 1990, and then to the Bay Area in 2003. She works at Marin General Hospital as an outpatient dietitian and diabetes educator.
Their son Oren is 7 years old and in first grade at Harding Elementary. He is fascinated by the weather, loves to do laundry, enjoys art, dancing, and the outdoors. Max is 4 and goes to preschool in Berkeley. He loves to play games of all sorts and is really into bowling, dinosaurs, and Legos.
Veronica’s paternal grandparents were from Lithuania and migrated to Uruguay after WWI. Her maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors who fled from the former Yugoslavia to Uruguay after WWII.
Veronica grew up in a Jewish home in which tradition and heritage were emphasized over religious practices. Being a Jew in both Uruguay and Utah was difficult. Even though her parents were members of B’nai B'rith and she was active in Jewish youth groups, the fear of antisemitism made it difficult to be open about her Jewish identity.
Moving to the Bay Area changed all that. She remembers going to Shabbat services in San Francisco and being blown away by the energy and enthusiasm that radiated from people. She wants to re-create that feeling for her children. She hopes to raise them in a environment in which they can learn and be proud of their Jewish identity as well as enjoy the traditions and build community.
Veronica Winig and Adam Monti with Oren and Max
Adam grew up within Judaism's Conservative Movement and identified as Jewish more through the holidays and traditions than through spirituality. Growing up Conservative, everything was in Hebrew and since he didn’t understand Hebrew, the prayers meant nothing to him. It was hard to establish a spiritual connection or gain much meaning from attending services.
As a family they have been searching for a way to bring Judaism into their lives. Veronica joined the Jewish Gateways Mussar group last summer. Through Jewish study and discussion she was able to connect with others and work on personal ways to lead a more fulfilling life. This fall she and Adam decided to join Jewish Gateways' family learning program, Growing Together, to meet other families and build community, teach their children about Judaism, and find spiritual connection.
Jewish Gateways breaks things down to a very basic level and then builds it back up on a much deeper level through discussion and leadership in a very collaborative and interactive way. It is also a more inclusive group than just Jews and as such, I feel there are different opinions and vantage points that make the discussions more meaningful. Over the weeks our parent discussions have been both educational and inspiring. Our children enjoy singing, learning, and engaging in fun activities. Everyone is respectful, welcoming, and truly wants to connect.
The Winig and Monti family wants to continue to stay involved with Growing Together as well as other programs offered by Jewish Gateways. They hope that the friendships they are making here will continue to evolve and become stronger over the years.