Abigail from Mitchell, SD

I remember watching a video of Beth Immanuel building the ark and getting the sanctuary pretty at the new building in Hudson, and I thought: “Someday, I'm going to live there.” I had a small taste of a Messianic community while visiting, and I wanted more. I never thought I would leave my family to go, but to be completely clear, I’ve always wanted to move to Hudson.

Before moving to Hudson, I was Messianic in the middle of South Dakota. Not quite in the middle of nowhere, but our town was pretty small. I was one of those people who had no Messianic community except my family in the living room. In order to gain teaching, we became virtual members of Beth Immanuel about five years before I moved to Hudson. Even while I was away at college, my mom and I would listen to the same sermon that week, even though we were not together. I think we listened to practically every sermon online before I moved here. 

Alone in College

While in college, I didn’t know anyone Messianic. I’d often have Shabbat dinner in my apartment dorm room with my best friend/roommate.

I felt alone at church. I attended it by myself but, as a single woman who obviously hadn’t a clue of what she was doing, no one bothered to talk to me. I’d get comments at my job like, “Hey! You go to my church!” And I’d think, “You know me?” I went to the same church for eight months before I moved, and I had probably five conversations. 

In college, I’d ask questions that people didn’t want to answer or did not like. I wouldn’t do it to be annoying or pushy or difficult. In fact, I very carefully considered every single question I brought up before I said anything. It made no difference. Asking these questions got me unofficially banished from several Bible studies (at a Christian college). 

I felt alone in my walk. 

Considering Hudson

When I graduated from college, I had no clue what I wanted to do, but I also knew that I would have one chance to establish myself somewhere. This meant either staying in South Dakota, which had very little Messianic support or religious hunger, or trying to move to Hudson. 

I don’t think I ever actually prayed, “Should I move to Hudson?” It was more of a, “If you want me to move to Hudson, I need a job. Hint. Hint,” and, “I really want to move to Hudson. Please give me a job.” 

I began looking for jobs. I set up interviews and visited Beth Immanuel for the first time the weekend of August 15, 2014. I was offered a job on August 27, four days before my self-imposed deadline where I would have to stop looking and just settle in Mitchell, South Dakota for a while.

When I did decide to move, I didn’t realize I was going to move to Hudson. I just wanted to move closer to Beth Immanuel. Things worked out for me better to live in Hudson instead of Minnesota. That was a total God-thing and certainly for the best. I would not have been as much a part of the community had I lived outside of Hudson. Also, it tends to be cheaper, at least for single people. 

I miraculously found an apartment that met all of my desires on September 5, my second trip to Beth Immanuel. I signed a lease for my apartment on September 12. Since I snuck in like a ninja and left early, no one actually knew I moved here until the following Shabbat.

The Right Decision

Did I make the right decision? Unequivocally, yes. I made the right decision to move to Hudson. Since I have moved here, I’ve grown in confidence, I’m stronger emotionally, I have significantly progressed spiritually, and I’ve even improved socially. 

I was incredibly shy at first. I’m just now coming out of my shell, but that began around Passover. Now I’m more comfortable going to people’s houses on Shabbat (and not Shabbats as the case may be). During Sukkot this year, I think I spent one day at home and that was by choice. (Introvert battery needed a charge.) And even then, I actually spent it in BI’s sukkah, which was totally awesome.

I would never change what I did. It was probably one of the best decisions of my life. The best part is that I have a place I actually feel comfortable inviting people to visit. If I moved back to South Dakota right now, I’d lose friends, I’d lose community, I’d lose spiritual growth, and I’d probably shrivel back into nothing from sadness. 

I’ve been in the middle of nowhere. I’ve been at a place where it is “Shabbat in my living room,” where we simply had no clue about how to celebrate Sukkot. For me the choice was obvious. It made sense to move. I can’t say that everyone would be ready to be a Hudsonite. Being in Hudson will change you, if you let it. But being able to actually share what I really think, to have people who care about me and who I can go visit “just because,” to actually see how to do hospitality and to have a chance to raise my future (hopeful) family in this place—I would never trade that. So I would probably give it at least a very good thought, and very serious prayer, before you completely say no. 

Will you pray about coming to Hudson?

Beth Immanuel, Hudson, Wisconsin, and even Messianic Judaism are not for everyone. Life in any community takes commitment and sacrifice, and for some, Hashem has simply not opened the door. But please pray and ask God if this is a place where he wants you to be.

Also, join our Come Home to Hudson Facebook group to connect with other families that are considering the move or have already made it.