My name is Tzofia Rivka Frieden, I am 22, and I grew up in Massachusetts to a reform family. My grandfather’s family had been religious (my great uncle was the rebbe’s photographer, Levi Frieden), but my family became less so over time. I started becoming more religious at 18, and became frum through the incredible Mendy and Brocha Benhiyoun in Chicago. I moved to crown heights a year and a half ago to have better access to a young and vibrant religious community, but when I got here I felt alienated by the blacked-out windows of the women’s section at 770 and wanted back the warmth of my chabad house back in Chicago. That’s when I was brought to the Soul House.
I cannot express how grateful I am to have the Engleson in my life. Miriam and Eli have built a home of Torah that allows everyone to nurture and explore their authentic selves through the lense of chassidus. I have never found a shul where I can be my most authentic self and not feel as though I am putting on a performance for others. The Soul House is a home which I feel that (truly in line with the times of mashiach) values and respects jewish womanhood in a truly incredible way. From having a women’s kollel and creating a place where women are engaging with text in a meaningful way, to having an overflowing women’s section every shabbos morning, I have never been to an environment in which I have felt more respected and welcomed. I can never in a million years put into words what Miriam and Eli have done for the crown heights community or for the Jewish world as a whole.
If there was ever a worthy cause to donate to, this is it.