What is a nice Jewish girl from Detroit doing with the name Maureen Sullivan? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question, especially since over the past forty years I’ve been working deep within the Jewish community.

When calling the Jewish Federation office, without failure, I was asked, “Is that Soloman with an A or an O? And it’s even worse for our two kids, who are adopted, Latino and Jewish. On the other hand, I am thrilled each Shabbat when my son, Adam, looks at me, spoon in handand says, “Mom, I just love your matzo balls”.

While he loves matzo balls, I love Mexico. Aside from Canada, just across the river from Detroit, this is the first foreign country I ever visited. The warm, friendly people captured my Midwest heart. I think

my husband, Michael, and I have camped through the entire land, with dogs, kids, friends and now just the two of us. From the beaches of Baja, to the Guatemalan jungle border, I thought I knew Mexico.

What a surprise it was to deliver a friend here and to discover, from Diane Pearl, that this lovely and interesting town had a shul…combining two of the most enjoyable parts of my life…Judaism and Mexico. I immediately wrote my check and joined the synagogue. I had found my new home.

Though I’ve been on our LCJC Board of Directors for most of the past eight years, being a snowbird meant my position was always as a Member at Large. When the office of president opened this year, I felt able and ready to commit to the nine months a year necessary to fulfill the work required.

It is such an honor and privilege to accept the position of leadership, especially at this point in time.

Because of the ongoing work of those members who supported the shul over the past years, especially the past presidents and board members who assumed tremendous responsibility, we are now growing stronger and more vibrant with each day and each new member.

I hope that during my term, I will inspire support for the things we love about our shul, while at the same time bring about changes we have talked about but yet to make happen: that we continue to treasure our existing members and at the same time open our arms even wider to the community in which we live. I believe offering more Jewish education, practice and celebration will guarantee our longevity and our place in Ajijic. I also believe that together we can offer a caring congregation for each other. That we help in times of need; that we enjoy each other’s life cycle events and we can keep our home away from home an even more wonderful and spiritual place. That we will make a blessing of our shul and of our lives.

Maureen Tarnopol Sullivan