Senior filling in the gaps in his Jewish background

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I have enjoyed a checkered life since growing up in a Missouri college town with only five Jewish families. On Yom Kippur, my twin and I celebrated our 74th birthdays.

Growing up without a synagogue, I went to a Baptist Sunday school. Nonetheless, I always knew I was Jewish. I became an educator and used that training to give back to my religion, enjoying a Jewish life and a professional career of more than 50 years.

I was a founding member and president of Congregation B'nai David in Visalia; president and educator at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette; educator of Temple Sinai and administrator of Temple Beth Abraham, both in Oakland; and educator at Temple Emanu-El in San Jose.

I have enjoyed my eight children and stepchildren, along with my 11 grandchildren. My wife, Marian, and I have a family that reaches from California to New Jersey, from Rome to Mozambique.

Now I teach in the adult school and serve as board vice president of Temple Beth Sholom in San Leandro.

Despite misses in this checkered Jewish life, I am for the second time studying Hebrew with Rabbi Harry Manhoff. The first time was 45 years ago in Visalia.