Spotlight On New Members: Sasha and Ry Suraski
Editor’s Note: One in a series of articles from the Membership Team to introduce those who have recently joined B’nai Sholom. This month we welcome Sasha and Ry Suraski.
Sasha and Ry are new to the area, having just moved from the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens at the beginning of September. Both work remotely and moved because they love the area and wanted to live somewhere with more space, quiet and access to nature. Ry is from Rhode Island but spent a portion of his childhood living in China, and Sasha was born and raised in Brooklyn.
Ry is a special education literacy teacher for students of all ages with learning disabilities. Most of his students are middle-schoolers but have ranged from age 6 to 60. He is taking a few extra undergraduate psychology classes at SUNY to get ready to apply for graduate programs in mental health counseling. Sasha, who majored in film/video and new media studies, is a creative and tutor/mentor. He works as a musician and interdisciplinary artist, trains AI, and helps people of all age ranges do what they love creatively.
For hobbies, Ry is a writer working on his first novel, a research-heavy project about math, mysticism, gender and religious history. He also volunteers as a suicide hotline operator in his spare time. Sasha is primarily a musician but is interested in many kinds of art and is working on a new album as well as a TV show. He loves anagrams, puzzles and wordplay. They both love Scrabble and their elderly cat named Twentynine.
What attracted Ry and Sasha to B’nai Sholom was the strong feeling of a warm, supportive community, the laid-back and comfortable atmosphere and the thoughtful effort toward many different forms of inclusivity. They also mentioned they loved Rabbi Weisbrot’s embodiment of these values in her services and manner of speaking. Ry and Sasha added that, at first, they just wanted to find somewhere to spend the High Holy Days since they were brand new to the area, but very quickly found they want B’nai Sholom to become a regular part of
Sasha and Ry hope B’nai Sholom will continue to help them stay in touch with Judaism, learn more about Judaism and Torah, and provide the sense of community they need, as they moved without knowing a single person in Albany! Sasha also hopes to get involved with music at the synagogue. Since they have been here, they explained they have felt incredibly welcomed and supported and are looking forward to making more friends in the congregation.
When asked what other things people may want to know, Ry and Sasha shared they have been married since October 8, 2022, and have no kids (though they love them, and will someday). Sasha and Ry also said they look forward to getting to know everyone and asked for recommendations for food, nature spots or anything else they shouldn’t miss as they settle into the area. Lastly Ry and Sasha want to thank congregants for their warm welcome!