The home as a whole plays a central role in Jewish family and culture. The same is true for Judaism at Hobart and William Smith and has become even clearer with the recent dedication of the Wasserman Garden of Quiet Repose next to the Abbe Center for Jewish Life on South Main Street.
“Just a few short months ago, the Colleges had the very good fortune of cutting the ribbon on the Wasserman Kosher Kitchen in this same space, the Abbe Center for Jewish Life,” said President Mark D. Gearan at the dedication on Thursday evening. “That important space was a gift from Trustee Dr. Richard Wasserman [’70] to his wife and highly respected kosher cook, Tina, in honor of her birthday.
“Today, we celebrate another gift,” he explained. “This afternoon, we celebrate the creation of this beautiful garden, which is a gift from Tina to Richard in honor of his birthday. With an unobstructed view of the lake, this is a very tranquil addition to our campus.”
The garden includes a curved path of individual Vermont slate stones surrounded by plants. Along the path are two long benches made of poly-wood, a recycled material from the same green-friendly company that crafted the Colleges’ Adirondack chairs.
“This garden was a surprise I gave Richard for his birthday,” explained Tina. “I wanted to create a space in his honor that was peaceful, combining his passion for gardening, his strong faith and his love of the Colleges. It’s a place we both hope will be used by all members of the Colleges, both Jewish and non-Jewish, where they will feel comfortable. In my own small way, I wanted to do something for a great place that we both love dearly.”
Hillel Program Professional Lorinda Weinstock thanked the Wassermans for their support of the Abbe Center for Jewish Life and the Jewish community in Geneva. “The students here feel like Tina and Richard are a part of their extended family, their house parents,” she said. “This garden adds to that feeling of family and I hope to incorporate this special new space into our Shabbat dinners and other gatherings.”
Tina Wasserman thanked HWS Grounds Manager David Iannicello. “From the first set of drawings, I loved the design,” she said. “I knew that it would blend beautifully with the Abbe Center.”
“I’m especially looking forward to watching the hydrangea trees blossom as Jewish Life on campus continues to blossom,” said Weinstock, referring to two small trees that will eventually frame a stunning sunset view.
“As they bloom, the hydrangeas will become heavy and droop. Students living in the Abbe Center will be able to come out and clip them to keep in vases throughout the house.”
With a Jewish life that is constantly strengthening, the Wasserman Garden of Quiet Repose is the most recent example of the growth of Judaism that the Abbe Center for Jewish Life has made possible on campus.