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The Bekerman Family

What does Ilyse Bekerman find most meaningful about being Jewish these days? “It makes my heart sing when my daughters, Lexi (2) and Marley (4), break out into prayer at dinner,” she shared with Rabbi Shulman this week. Ilyse added, “I simply love watching my girls run around HEA like they own the place; they are just so comfortable here, looking forward to all their Jewish moments.”

Ilyse and Josh Bekerman have been members at HEA for two years. Both are Denver natives and were active in the local Jewish community as kids, at synagogue and Jewish summer camp. They were fortunate enough to meet on J-Date and were married by Cantor Goldstein in 2016. But the Jewish community was not the hub of their lives until Ilyse joined the faculty of the HEA preschool in 2021 as a lead teacher in Pre-K. Since then, they have appreciated being a part of the close-knit community and how folks help each other. They are Shabbat Club members, and Ilyse supports our second Saturday Tot Shabbat programs wearing her hat as a PJ Library Family Connector. On weekdays, HEA members and staff enjoy watching Ilyse, and co-teacher Mara Singer’s students make their way up the stairs, singing a chorus of “right hand on the rail” in Hebrew and English.

Indeed, much of the Bekerman family’s day revolves around time at HEA. They wake up at 6:00 a.m., and if it’s lucky enough to be a Friday morning, Marley and Lexi get a special breakfast (Rabbi Shulman has sworn to secrecy about what they get to eat) and put on special dresses for Shabbat Sing. Then while Josh dives into his work as a lawyer, the girls drive to HEA. Their first stop on their way into the building is at James McKeon’s office to feed BunBun, the shul dog. Then they head down the hallway to fondly touch the hanging memorial plaques of their great grandparents in loving memory before strolling to their classrooms. At 9:15 a.m., Marley and Lexi burst into gleeful song and dance at Shabbat Sing with other preschool students, faculty, and families. They are already looking forward to spending Shabbat dinner with their grandparents, long-time members Anna and John Bekerman, in their princess dresses.

If you ask Marley, what princess are you? She’ll proudly proclaim, “I am Jasmine, I’m daddy’s princess, and I’m Jewish!” The pride that Marley and Lexi feel for being Jewish is truly contagious. And the way Judaism comes to life in the Bekerman family with such joy and authenticity is a royal standard for us all.   

Sun, June 23 2024 17 Sivan 5784