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Donor Spotlight: Melisa and Steven Weisman

By: Melinda Lejman | December 16, 2020

Donor Spotlight: Melisa and Steven Weisman

When it was time to choose a preschool for their children, Melisa and Steven Weisman found it a very easy decision. “We were both working full-time, so child care was definitely something we were going to need. There was no question that we were going to find a Jewish place for them,” says Melisa, who grew up at Temple from kindergarten through high school. “Rabbi Greenstein did my bat mitzvah and my wedding,” she laughs. “My husband grew up the same way that we did, so we didn’t have to have the conversation of how we were going to raise our children.”

The Weismans knew the Barbara K. Lipman Early Learning Center would help their kids build a strong Jewish foundation for their education. “It’s just nice for children to know who they are, to have an identity early on,” Melisa says. “They know more Hebrew now than I can remember! Especially in the south, it’s important to have a Jewish identity and to have a community where there are like-minded families and children to grow up with.” 

Dahlia celebrating Shabbat in the ELC

They were also impressed with the atmosphere. “We walked into Temple and just knew right away. It was such a loving environment, and we knew the teachers would treat them like their own.” Between their two children, Max and Dahlia, the Weismans were at the ELC for a total of seven years. “From the directors to the teachers and everyone in between, you could tell that they all loved being around the children,” Melisa adds. “They’re family, we saw them every day for seven years. We were sad to graduate out of the program because we were in such a loving and nurturing environment.”

Melisa believes her children have also built likely-lifelong friendships with classmates from the ELC, “My son Max, who is now in the third grade, and his friends from preschool are still very close,” she says. “He’s excited to go to Sunday school because it’s a chance to be with his close friends. They do everything together.”

Max and friend celebrating Shabbat in the ELC

Melisa and Steven are also happy with the foundation the kids received at the ELC for their secular education. “Our children got a Jewish part of their education, but were also very well prepared for their current school. Learning in a fun environment where they didn’t even realize they were learning,” Melisa explains. Both Max and Dahlia, who is in the first grade, now attend Richland Elementary together. How are they doing in their virtual classes? “The children are adapting. The teachers are saints,” she acknowledges. “They’ve done an excellent job of getting the children engaged.”

Above all, the Weismans appreciate feeling like part of a family that extends past the ELC walls. As Melisa says, “even though they aren’t the kids’ teachers anymore, we still go and have conversations about our children and their lives. It’s just a family and a community.”

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