Meet Jewish Gateways Participant Lindsay Sweetnam
Lindsay and Dan Sweetnam live in Walnut Creek with their children Lucia (5) and Morgan (2). Lindsay’s father is Jewish, but she grew up without any formal Jewish education, and Dan is not Jewish. As they became parents, Lindsay wanted her daughters to have a positive connection to being Jewish and began to explore Judaism for herself.
She started by participating in the Judaism for Grownups series that Rabbi Bridget taught last year and learned a lot. Now she comes to the Open-Minded Torah classes as often as she can. Lindsay and her family also enjoy participating in a variety of Jewish Gateways activities, from a Purim celebration to summer Shabbats in the Park to High Holidays.
"I love the open environment of Jewish Gateways. There's never an assumption about what people know or don't know. I appreciate the explanations, and how they never feel condescending. And I love the encouragement to find ways to make Judaism meaningful for our family. I enjoy spending time with intelligent and interesting adults (away from my children) learning fascinating history and challenging ourselves with material that relates to our lives. And finally, I enjoy beginning to build a Jewish community for the first time.”
Lindsay, Dan, Lucia, and Morgan
Last fall Lindsay and Lucia enrolled in Growing Together, Jewish Gateways’ twice-monthly family learning program.
“It’s a special time for Lucia and me to (for now) have a chance to be with one another without her sister. Since I didn’t receive a Jewish education, we are learning together in a lot of ways, which is fun. At the same time, I think for those who do have more Jewish knowledge it’s great to hear how a 5-year-old understands things and the questions they come up with. Lucia and I talk about what we learned and decide how to integrate it into our family. She’ll share lessons with her younger sister Morgan, suggest we say the blessing for first and special times (the shehecheyanu), and always reminds us when we forget to put money in our tzedakah box (money given to create greater justice in the world) on Friday night."
Lindsay recently joined Jewish Gateways’ volunteer leadership body, the Steering Council, and is focusing her efforts on involving volunteers.
"I would love to connect with anyone interested in volunteering to see what might be meaningful for them. There are lots of options available for people who have a variety of different schedules, interests, and skills. They should feel free to contact me any time!”
Lindsay is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has spent her career working in non-profits. She currently works in the areas of domestic violence and community mental health in San Francisco and Contra Costa County. After seven years in tech, Dan is substitute teaching while he pursues a career change to teach high school history. Lindsay loves to travel, read, research genealogy, do various craft projects such as crocheting, spend time outside, and explore the Bay Area with her husband and children.