What do Ann Compton, Bruce Dern, Charlton Heston, Ann-Margret, Rahm Emanuel, Donald Rumsfeld, Christie Hefner, Scott Turow and Sharon Percy Rockefeller have in common with our Ben Eisenberg? Glad you asked! They are all graduates of the highly venerated New Trier High School in Winnetka IL, noted for its academic rigor and excellence.
Molly Nilan and Ben Eisenberg met at Beloit College in Beloit Wisconsin. After college they lived in Chicago for a few years and decided to settle in the Burlington VT area twelve years ago, to start their careers and family. Molly grew up here and graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg. Molly has a younger sister, Emma who is an artist and lives in Burlington, and Ben has a younger brother, David. who is an attorney and lives in Wilmette IL.
During the time that they both lived in Chicago, they both worked at Temple Sholom of Chicago, one of the largest and oldest reform synagogues in the area, with a membership of over 3,500 congregants. Founded in 1867, Temple Sholom was a dynamic home to many famous speakers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1964) and home to a strong early childhood education program. This is where Ben got his start in fundraising and development. Molly was the Assistant to the Cantor and worked closely with families with children going through the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process.
Molly’s parents owned two restaurants in this area so she grew up around food and the preparation of food. They started Sneakers in Winooski and The Daily Planet in Burlington. They no longer own either. Each family gathering and holiday was centered around special menus, which is a tradition that they like to share with their children.
For both Molly and Ben their parents have been the biggest influence, with similar values focused on responsibility, respect and connection to family and community. Molly grew up with a large, extended family of over 15 aunts and uncles and over 15 first cousins. Molly jokes that she is the quietest member of her extended family. Ben’s parents raised him to believe that we should all strive to give back to our communities though our work. Ben is a political and fundraising consultant and Molly is a Business Manager at UVM’s College of Arts and Sciences.
When asked what activities they would like to see more of at Temple Sinai they both agree that those activities which encompass social justice and giving back to our community, are two important ones. Molly attended the conversation with Dr. Lewis First and loved that it engaged both parents and grandparents.
They have two children: Ella is going on 7 years and is in first grade and Jake is going on 4 years old and is in preschool. They also have a sweet and mischievous chocolate labradoodle named Maya.
When they travel they love visiting the ocean. Their travels have brought them from the cold Atlantic in Maine to various locations in Mexico. Their most memorable trip, pre-children and post-college was driving across the country from Chicago through the Southwest, up the West Coast and back to Burlington.
Thank you Molly and Ben for your willingness to partake in our Getting To Know You series. We’re happy to have you and your children as part of our congregation.