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Beth Ahabah Voices: Sandy and Alan Corbett

by Sandy and Alan Corbett

Harkening to the siren calls of the baseball gods, Sandy and Alan Corbett have set out on a years-long quest to visit and worship at the sites of each Major League Baseball stadium in the US and Canada. After numerous trips to the Baseball “holy of holies” at Washington Nationals Baseball Park (bravely facing the dangers of driving I-95), we were compelled to visit each Major League venue to receive the accumulated wisdom of the baseball gods.

And while Sandy and Alan are not always good at following directions, the thought of seeing our beautiful country, so full of variety and differences, being able to see our far-flung friends and family, experience the great monuments, museums, national parks and food of our fair land – this was an opportunity not to be passed up!

So far, we have visited nineteen of the thirty total baseball parks and drunk in the accumulated lore of each major league team, each with its own individual story. Generally, we stay three to four days in the city, checking out the sites, sounds, culture and museums each city has to offer. During our most recent trip, among the highlights we experienced were the Underground Railroad Museum, Hebrew Union College’s museum, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “Hitsville” Museum of Motown, The Henry Ford (museum and factory) and our Canadian brethren in Toronto.

We even spent a “Saturday Night in Toledo Ohio” and had a great time – go figure! Hours at the Museum of the Great Lakes, followed by a great meal and entertainment left us with smiles.

We hope to complete our trek within two years, but that is somewhat dependent on the major league and the Washington Nationals schedule, since praying for the “Nats” success is primary to our cause.

But don’t worry. The Corbetts will still show up at Beth Ahabah to continue their more proper worship and participation. Naturally, part of us will always reside at the home of our beloved Washington Nationals.


Editor’s Note:

“Voices” is a series written by and about the members of Beth Ahabah. If you would like to submit an article about a friend or family member at Beth Ahabah, or your own adventures, avocations or interesting career, please contact Lori Allen in the Temple office at

Beth Ahabah Voices: Ken Olshansky

by Ken Olshansky

In 2008 just before I was ready to stop my surgical practice, I met with Peter Bernard, the then CEO of the Bon Secours Virginia Hospital System. I mentioned that despite closing my practice, I was still interested in working part time and would love to work for Bon Secours where I had practiced for 33 years. Immediately he said that he would Read More

Beth Ahabah Voices: Jim Schmidt

by Jim Schmidt

My name is Jim Schmidt and I grew up in the New York City area and married Rachel Cohen in 1975. In the 1980’s we had two children, Michael and Molly, and in the 1990’s our family moved to Richmond, Virginia.

Growing up I always had a home, and as it happened to be––in two houses––living on two fringes of suburban Rye, New York, evenly dividing the first 20 years of my life. I went to Rye High School, studied at SUNY of New Paltz, NY and Hunter College in NYC. In NYC is where I met Rachel and started our life together.

I never remember living hungry and I always had shelter. But as I left the New York area in my early adult years, I could see that the rest of the world wasn’t exactly like where I grew up.

A decade or two later––as we landed in Richmond––I was able to devote my non-work time providing solutions in family court for children in families where neglect, abuse and custody were issues. Trained and acting as a court appointed special advocate for Henrico CASA until 2011, this highly gratifying contribution––for almost another decade––became the centerpiece of my voluntary community life.

Until now. In July 2016, Rabbi Jesse Gallop, before he migrated to New York, asked me to replace him on the board of HomeAgain, the leading agency in Richmond for eliminating homelessness in the Greater Richmond area. [Rabbi Gallop’s personal commitment to HomeAgain is too long for this article.]

I was inspired to invest my time and resources to a cause that I had mistaken for a city issue. Actually, it took moving into the City of Richmond to realize that homelessness here is a regional issue.

What distinguishes HomeAgain in the community is that we work with those who are truly in need, and our clients are the backbone of an ongoing, highly successful story.

Instead of misjudging panhandlers and drifters as the homeless majority, our agency lens is focused on the less fortunate men, women and children who are sheltered nightly just a few thousand feet from the shadows of our synagogue. Engaged in a forward thinking program of “rapid re-housing,” our clients are re-attached to life’s regular steps and stumbles, sensibly with care and purpose.

Since August 2016, I have been actively working with the highly motivated and inspired Tikkun Olam committee here at Congregation Beth Ahabah. During these past months of friendship, knowledge exchange and mindfulness, this committee has decided to make a partnership pledge to HomeAgain. There are many different types of volunteers needed to work with the people of HomeAgain. Look for more information on the CBA website, Enews, and Facebook page about HomeAgain and how you can become involved.

My personal plea to you is to join us and step into a world where we can make a substantial difference for our neighbors––just around the corner and down the street from our temple––and help them replace the privilege that belongs to each one of us…a home again.


Editor’s Note:

“Voices” is a series written by and about the members of Beth Ahabah. If you would like to submit an article about a friend or family member at Beth Ahabah, or your own adventures, avocations or interesting career, please contact Lori Allen in the Temple office at

Beth Ahabah Voices: Laura Davidson

by Laura Davidson

I think my children, Liz, 27 and Sarah, 24, were genuinely concerned about how I would occupy my time when Sarah left for college. I managed – supplementing my hobbies (mostly sewing) with more volunteerism. An important part of my life is volunteering for Richmond Animal League, as Read More

Beth Ahabah Voices: Zach McElgunn

by Zach McElgunn

My name is Zach McElgunn, and I have been a member of Beth Ahabah since my family moved to Richmond, VA in 2001. I was in third grade at the time. In the intervening sixteen years, I have had my Bar Mitzvah, been confirmed, graduated high school, and I received my Bachelors degree from the University of Virginia in 2015.

Read More

Beth Ahabah Voices: Rena Berlin

by Rena Berlin

I’m a weaver. I was a middle school social studies teacher, an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program coordinator, a Director of Education with the Read More

Beth Ahabah Voices: Coffee Bourne

by Coffee Bourne

I grew up in a different religion. I never felt at home in my beliefs. I always felt a pull to Judaism. When I met my husband, Adam, during my freshman year of college at The Read More

Beth Ahabah Voices: Anne Blankman

by Anne Blankman

We never know where our passions will lead us. For Anne Blankman, her love of writing brought her to Judaism. Read More

Beth Ahabah Voices: Ike Koziol

by Ike Kozi0l

I came to America as as toddler. During my childhood I remember my parents Goldie and Julius and my uncle Joe and aunt Lucy packing clothing in cartons to ship to places like Uruguay, Israel and Poland. I remember sealing the boxes and shlepping them to the post office with my father. This was in the 1950s and there were people in need in those places. There Read More

Beth Ahabah Voices: Roberta Opper: Why I Became a Breast Cancer Research Advocate

by Roberta Opper

We all know the grim statistics—each year approximately 250,000 American women and men are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and about 40,000 die. Since my breast cancer diagnosis 25 years ago, I have spent an enormous amount of time learning as much as I can about the disease, in an attempt to stay healthy. I have attended seminars, retreats and studied relevant websites and journals. Read More

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