Vered and Dov Hopenstand first came to Temple Beth Am 41 years ago for a baby naming party they were having for their daughter, Dafna. They ended up joining a few years later, thanks to the persuasion of Rabbi Joel Rembaum. Vered had been teaching many courses at the University of Judaism (before it was American Jewish University) and was teaching a literature class in one room. Rabbi Rembaum was teaching a class next to her, and next to him was Rabbi David Wolpe. They would all talk, and Rabbi Rembaum told her that she should come to TBA and she did.
Vered was born in Bucharest, Romania. Her parents were Holocaust survivors who first met after the war in 1945 in a refugee camp. They got married and a year later, Vered was born. At that time Romania was under the Stalin's regime, and it was a very difficult time for so many, especially the Jewish people. Her father managed to bribe people to help the family make their way to Haifa in Israel. Vered's parents told their neighbors they were going out of town and would be back three days later--but they never returned. It was a very brave act of her parents to leave Romania. Had her father been caught and interrogated, he probably would have been killed or put into a labor camp.
Vered arrived in Israel in 1950, and it was very difficult at first. But things changed after meeting Dov for the first time in the fall of 1964 when Vered was a college freshman. Her friend Sarah was working with a math tutor named Dov. She and her friend had made plans to get together and hang out, and Vered would just leave when he arrived. But one time when Dov arrived, who was already a senior, they all spoke for about 5 minutes and then they exchanged numbers and left. At the time, she had a boyfriend though and wasn't interested in meeting anyone. But her boyfriend was a solider and was young, and the relationship didn't last. Vered couldn't get Dov out of her mind. She liked him from the first time they met, and they would walk and talk for hours on end. She felt Dov was an honest man and would take care of her. They had the same goals and very similar interests, like music and traveling and art. She came home and said to father that she was going to marry this guy and that was it. They got married in 1966. They had to wait a bit to get married because Dov's father was ill. They got married after his father passed away.
Vered and Dov had their first child, Boaz, in 1969. She was very young, a mother and a student at the University, going from one degree to another. The university asked her to be an instructor while she was in graduate school. When they came to the US in 1974 for Dov to attend UCLA to finish his academic work. The University got in touch with the UJ and arranged a job for her. Overtime, they gave birth to their two other children, Gil and Dafna. They were only supposed to come to Los Angeles for three years, but those three years turned into 40-something years. Over the years, their connection to Temple Beth Am has gotten stronger and stronger and they are so grateful for the many wonderful memories they have built in the community.