Humans of TE: Dena Snyder

Humans of TE: One Story at a Time – #TEGivesThanks #ComeHometoTE

This November, Temple Emanuel gives THANKS to YOU, our community. Join us each day as we highlight a fascinating member of our community.

“I grew up in nearby Lexington, MA, where my family was very active at Temple Emunah. Jay and I met in 2005 in Washington, DC when I was a Senior at George Washington University and he was a young working professional. Shortly after we got married in 2008, we moved from DC to Massachusetts, first spending two years in Coolidge Corner before buying our home in Newton.
When we were a young couple “shul shopping,” we had visited all of the local synagogues in Newton and Temple Emanuel was last on our list. I still remember the first Shabbat we visited, when we were immediately struck by the amazing clergy and received a warm welcome from Amy Klein and many others.
In 2014 Hannah and David were born, and life has been sweeter ever since. These two little best buddies are just the sweetest and most hilarious kids, so fun to be with and easy to parent – they bring us such tremendous joy. Hannah is very serious about becoming a doctor, and David wants to be an electrical engineer. It has been a blessing to see how warmly they are embraced at Temple Emanuel by friends of all ages and we cherish all of the special opportunities they have been given – from their many years of weekly Shabbat trips with Rabbi Wes to the bimah to see the Torahs to performing the Four Questions the past two years at the Community Seder, Emanuel has become their home away from home.
I absolutely love to bake, and you can find me baking something in my kitchen nearly every single day. While I also love to cook, baking is my true passion (maybe because I love eating dessert). Whether it is birthday cakes, my Friday challah, or shipping cookies to friends, feeding others yummy treats is one way I love to connect with loved ones. Breads, cakes, cookies, brownies, pastries, rolls, donuts, muffins, rugelach, babka, etc, sometimes I joke that it feels like we live in a bakery because we often have a variety of baked goods on our counter. I am an extreme chocoholic and only like to bake chocolate desserts – no apple pie or fruit crisp over here. Sometimes I will tell myself I will go three days without baking something but I inevitably always fail.
Two transformative life experiences for me were participating in USY on Wheels when I was 15 and later studying abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem during college. I cherish these tremendous opportunities I was lucky to have when I was younger. USY on Wheels gave me the chance to explore nearly the entire country and see places I most certainly would not have had the chance to visit otherwise, all while strengthening my Jewish identity and determination to live a Jewish life. Having the chance to call Jerusalem home for a semester allowed me to significantly deepen my connection to Israel, and really get to know the country well. Through both of these experiences, I was blessed to form lifelong friendships with my dearest friends. Despite all living in different states, the friends I made on Wheels and at Hebrew U are some of my most cherished relationships in my life today. I feel so lucky to have had these incredible experiences when I was 15 and 20 years old, respectively, and it is a dream of mine for Hannah and David to get to travel on USY on Wheels and study in Israel.”