Marsha Raleigh Rivkin opened Jewish windows

I met Marsha Raleigh Rivkin about 20 years ago in a literature class. The daughter of a rabbi, she had studied with her father for many years, learning Torah from beginning to end.

I grew up knowing nothing about Judaism or Jewish customs and history. My only Jewish experience was sitting in the loft at Temple Emanu-El while my parents, both musicians, played the Kol Nidre service.

Marsha and I became friends when our class read "The Prophet" by Shulamith Hareven, a story of the Exodus.

Meeting Marsha in the hallway after class, I thanked her for her contribution to the discussion and asked if she would consider teaching a study group. Luckily, she was looking for a project and readily accepted. Within minutes, we formed a group of 12.

In the early years ,we met weekly at each other's homes, reading Torah. Now we meet biweekly, reading books related to the Tanach.

About 10 years ago, Marsha made her bat mitzvah with our class as her minyan.

Marsha is my hero because in my mid-60s, I began to question where I belonged and I thought it was time I learned. She opened the doors and helped me find my place in the Jewish world. Now I say I am a Jew and I say it with pride.