Newcomer Highlight January 2023

Meet this month’s newcomers, Marla and Larry Ellis

Welcome to the Observer's monthly Newcomer Column! Every month, we will be featuring one of our Nashville Jewish Newcomers so you can get to know them and their dynamic, engaging stories. One of my favorite parts of my job as the Federation's Newcomer Engagement Associate is connecting with the newcomers and bringing them into Nashville's Jewish community through our Newcomer Shabbat dinners, Newcomer Welcome Receptions, and connecting them with community members and organizations who can help them feel like they belong here. We hope you enjoy reading these and give every newcomer you meet a smile and a warm Nashville welcome!

If you would like to be part of the Federation's work welcoming new Jewish Nashvillians to our community or have an idea of something else we could be doing, please let me know at or 615-354-1664.

Tell us your story. Where are you from? How did you end up in Nashville?

Originally we are both from Chicago, but lived in Los Angeles area for 45 years until our kids moved here 4 years ago with our grandchildren. We drove cross country 3x during Covid with our beloved golden retriever, Ginger. With a lot of consideration, we decided to sell our home in Westlake Village Ca. We found our new home in West Nashville, Charlotte Park a little over a year ago after being out bid on 10 other homes in the Brentwood/Franklin area.

What has your Jewish story been like up to this point? How did you get involved with Nashville's Jewish community?

We were members of a wonderful reform temple, Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas for many years, where Marla was on the board of directors. We were very involved in the temple and went to Israel with our rabbi. Now I am the shuttle driver for Shalom Taxi at the JCC, ahh retirement is wonderful!

How has your experience been in Nashville so far? Any notable memories or experiences?

We have found people to be friendly and welcoming. We have had our friends from Los Angeles here so often, we really haven't been experiencing all there is to do!

What do you love about being Jewish?

We love the culture and the traditions and instilling Jewish values on our two sons, daughter in law and 5-year-old granddaughter Riley and Mason our 2-year-old grandson.

What do you love about being Jewish in Nashville?

It is interesting when we have workers come into our home and notice the Mezzuzahs on the doors and some Hebrew items in the house and they say they never met a Jew before.

What does the next year look like for you? Is there anything that you are still looking to do or experience in Nashville?

We hope the next year we will get even more comfortable living here and not regretting our decision to make the huge move here. Hope to meet more people we can relate to and start long term relationships with, like we had/have in California


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