Stephanie and Allan Walsh

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 12:00am -- Member Spotlight

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Stephanie and Allan Walsh

Sometimes, personal interaction and establishing a relationship can make a tremendous difference for new members. That’s exactly what happened when Stephanie and Allan Walsh attended synagogue and school events and got to spend time speaking with Rabbis Feinstein and Hoffman, shortly after they joined VBS about 13 years ago.

“They were so open, warm and welcoming that I immediately felt accepted,” Stephanie said. “And that’s very important for anyone.”

Allan noted that the initial rabbinic welcome was only the beginning. “Our daughter, Ani, 15, a ninth grader,  like Rabbi Farkas, is very concerned about the homelessness problem in Los Angeles,” he said. “So when she told him she was planning to do a video on the issue for a school project, he helped provide some of video clips for it and sat with her for an interview.”

{Writer’s note: This writer has seen the video and was very impressed by its professionalism, especially from someone who was only 13-years-old at the time}.

“We can’t leave out Rabbi Taff, “ Stephanie added. “He does a great job of engaging teens and young people.” Ani and her friends study with him on many Shabbats because they really want to. That’s how engaging he is for the kids in our community.”

But the kudos from Stephanie and Allan don’t stop there.  

“Our son, Ethan, 16, a 10th grader, loves hockey and plays for a traveling team that goes all over the state to play games,” Allan said. “But because of his school and the team’s schedule, he doesn’t  attend many of the VBS teen events.

hockey-walsh.jpg“But about 8-10 times a year, VBS Youth Director, Ami Monson, gets about 12-20 kids together for a street hockey game on our street. He is so invested in our kids’ lives, that he always goes out of his way to get them involved.”

Ethan comes by his love of hockey naturally. Allan is from Montreal and like most Canadian kids, he dreamed of playing in the NHL. “I was going to be the next [legendary Montreal Canadien’s goalie}, Ken Dryden,” he said with a laugh. “But you might say that cooler heads prevailed.”

So after graduating from McGill University, he headed to L.A. to attend law school. After working for five years in the DA’s office, prosecuting gang murder cases, he decided it was time to get back into hockey. “I never gave up the goal of being involved with the sport in some fashion,” he said.  So Allan became an agent, whose firm now represents some 90 professional hockey players across the U.S. and Canada.

Hockey was indirectly responsible for Allan meeting Stephanie when both were on a plane going to Saskatoon, Canada.

“He was going there on hockey business and I had a job flying all over North America promoting Sesame Street Live,” she recalled. “I needed a pen to fill out some forms they required from non-Canadians and asked Allan, who was sitting nearby, if he had one. We had coffee together after we landed and started a long distance relationship. Not long after, I relocated to L.A. for work, and as they say, the rest is history.”

Both say they know they made the right choice for themselves and their family by joining VBS. “It’s comforting to know that you are part of a vibrant, caring community that is always there for you,” Stephanie concluded.

“Our kids got their ideals and how to act on them partly because of the education they received in the Day School,” Allan observed. “It taught them that according to our tradition, it is their responsibility to work toward the goal of making the world a better place. What more could you ask from a synagogue?”

 

Interviewed conducted by and story written by Jay Schuster