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“I’m home.”

02/03/2021 04:52:45 PM

Feb3

Sixty-four years ago, when Steve Lichtenstein was at NYU Law School, some friends invited him over for dinner. They gave him two phone numbers. “These are two numbers,” they told him. “But you’ll like this one better.” 

That number belonged to a young woman, not quite 21 years old, who was living with her parents, as one did in those days. Steve called and invited her to a party. “I didn’t know him or anyone at the party,” Carole recalls. So she told him she was busy — “which I probably was” — and invited him to come out the following weekend.

“He came out and knocked on the door. And he always says to me that I was wearing a red dress, but it was coral. We went for a walk. We never stopped talking and talking and talking. And we fell madly in love with each other the first time we met.” 

Steve went back to Manhattan and said to his roommate: “I just met the girl I’m going to marry.” What did Carole say to herself?  “I’m home.”

They soon married. “In those days,” Carole remarks, “in order to be together like we wanted to be together, you had to be married.”

She goes on: “I was a little kooky in those days. Maybe I still am.” 

Four decades (give or take) later, they were in Stowe, having just finished dinner at the Green Mountain Inn. They saw a sign advertising Shabbat services. “And we said, ‘I didn’t know anyone else was Jewish here.’” From that point forward, Carole and Steve have remained committed to JCOGS, even before it had a name.

Today, Carole and Steve are founding members of our L’Dor vaDor Society, having included JCOGS in their estate planning. 

“We both love JCOGS because it’s so inclusive,” Carole explains. “I don’t care who you are, what religion you were before you joined JCOGS, what religion your spouse is, I don’t care what color your skin is. We welcome everyone. LGBTQ welcome. I love that. I feel that’s the right way to be for a Jewish organization.”

And, of course, “We love our rabbi. He’s so darling. He’s adorable. He’s very knowledgeable. His music is interesting, exciting, and fun. He makes Friday nights fun. His family is adorable. What else can I say?” she asks.

This is why they have chosen to put JCOGS into their will, to ensure there is a foundation of support for the next generation. “We just want this organization to go on and on.” 

Anyone who has ever seen Carole and Steve at Friday night services knows their love remains strong, and they light up JCOGS with its glow. 

“I thank God every day for bringing me to this man,” Carole says. “This is a man with a golden soul. He still is loving and affectionate and ‘What can I do to help you?’ and tucks me into bed at night. I am blessed. If I say that to him, he says he’s blessed. We are, we are blessed, we always say to each other: ‘I love you. I love you.’ I don’t know how you could not.

Sun, March 7 2021 23 Adar 5781