Our Legacy Supporters
As you consider being part of the GLIDE movement for years to come, meet some people like you who have made unconditional love and acceptance part of their life stories.
“I have three continents I call home,” says Zahava Sherez, who was born in Argentina, grew up in Israel and moved to the United States as an adult. Her multicultural life experience helped shape her understanding of what it means to be human and informs her connection to GLIDE.
“I’ve always believed that humanity is like a beautiful flower garden: all shapes and colors and forms. At GLIDE, I found a place on the planet that speaks my language, where humanity is the way I see it and I believe it should be.”
This vibrant viewpoint was born from traumatic life experiences. “As a little girl in Argentina, I was [verbally] attacked for being a Jew. In Israel, I experienced wars as a child, a soldier, a young wife and a mother. Tension and violence were very much a part of our life. The one thing that kept me sane and balanced was art making.”
Eventually, Zahava moved to the United States, living first in Connecticut and later in Carmel. She wanted to raise her younger son among people of all backgrounds and began seeking a place where diversity was part of daily life. In 1995, they settled in Oakland where Zahava opened her primary art studio. Today, her son and his wife are raising their family in Oakland and Zahava spends her time there and in Chapala, Mexico, where she opened a second studio.
Although her family and her career were flourishing, Zahava felt that something was missing in her life. She began searching for a spiritual community. Her friends and family attended GLIDE and often told her about the wonderful affirming and inclusive Celebration services. She was skeptical. It wasn’t until her friends started talking about GLIDE’s social-justice work that Zahava really started to pay attention. GLIDE’s focus on those marginalized in our society moved her deeply. “As an outsider myself, all through my life, I didn’t fit in anywhere. In my artwork, in my life and in my spiritual practice I have always focused on the outsiders—refugees, immigrants, the other—always emphasizing the commonalities between human beings.”
For Zahava, GLIDE reflects her own deeply held values. She supports GLIDE in many ways—by donating, participating in Celebration services whenever she’s in town, volunteering and leaving a legacy by including GLIDE in her will.
Zahava decided to make a bequest gift to GLIDE in her estate plans because she feels that societal ills such as racism and inequity, which are only worsening, must be addressed. “My hope is that GLIDE will continue to be a light in the world. GLIDE walks the walk. I have three children and seven grandchildren, and they’re all doing pretty well. I want my name and spirit to support not only my family, but also the things that have value, and one of them is definitely GLIDE.”
Lynn & Randy Rabenstein
“The Rabensteins’ shared passion for engaging youth through camping is what brought them together. They met through their work with the Salem Family YMCA youth and camping program.
After attending seminary in the Bay Area, Lynn expanded her definition of camping to include urban experiences. Returning to Salem First United Methodist Church as a seminary intern, she and Randy drove a dozen kids from Salem, Oregon to volunteer for a full week at GLIDE’s Daily Free Meals program. This trip was as eye opener for Lynn, Randy and the kids. After that, she organized a dozen mission trips over two decades, with various participants: youth groups, all-adult teams and once with international exchange students. Two teams included youth and adults from churches throughout Oregon and Idaho, with the hope of expanding the impact of this life-changing experience to other communities.
Every participant, including the kids, made real connections and internalized the experience. Their interactions with GLIDE clients, staff and other volunteers, many of whom were former GLIDE clients, helped them to erase stereotypes and motivated them to serve in their local communities.
Randy gained a profound understanding that he should not fear people who are homeless or transient nor people who struggle with drug use. Instead, he realized a deep connection and compassion for those he met at GLIDE.
Randy is now a retired YMCA Director and Lynn serves as a Spiritual Counselor for Hospice. Over the years, the Rabensteins have donated smaller gifts to GLIDE to support the Daily Free Meals program, which is near and dear to their hearts.
They read about charitable gift annuities on GLIDE’s website and realized that they could gift their rental home while receiving income and additional tax benefits. After being landlords for two decades, they decided to gift their home to benefit GLIDE and other nonprofits. We are happy to have them as members of the Cecil & Jan Legacy Circle.”