We finally made it back to our synagogue for this Shabbat. It’s been a struggle to get there. It felt like every time I tried to go or we tried to go something with work or our families would come up and we’d say “next week.” All of a sudden we had been home for a month and we still hadn’t gone.
But a number of challenges were simply on ourselves. Sometimes I struggle with going alone when I’m not a Jew despite the fact I find it very soul fulfilling. J doesn’t really want to ever go because he doesn’t feel a connection. So sometimes it wasn’t time, it was us.
I can’t make an almost 27 year old man go to services. I can’t bribe him to believe in something. It’s a hard thing to reconcile; that he felt so strongly that our children had to be raised Jewish when he only wants parts of Judaism for himself.
However, this past Shabbat he was willing to duck out of work a little bit early and leave some for the weekend to go with me. We were lucky because summer means outside services and you can hear the congregation singing throughout the neighborhood.
We also really haven’t gotten a ton of chances to hear our new cantor either, and she was as spectacular as we last remembered her. And just as sweet!
I think he was even glad he did. The beautiful part of our synagogue isn’t necessarily the the prayer and the ritual, but the community. Everyone there knew we had gotten married and headed on our honeymoon. They had just been waiting for us to come back to them and it was like a whole other celebration. Everyone wanted to see our pictures, ask about the party, our old Rabbi had officiated so everyone wanted to hear about her. Some older members who weren’t able to come to services in the past years were as excited as people who had known us for years. It was the beauty of being part of something bigger than ourselves. J had a great time with some older members who thought that he was from Ireland based on his coloring.
I think the best thing anyone can do when looking for a new place to call your spiritual home, find what makes you feel comfortable. For us it was where J felt like he wouldn’t be judged for his brand of Judaism and where I wouldn’t feel like an outsider no matter my choice.
Our struggle was finding the best community, not the one that was the most traditional or the most popular. Part of the reason why I haven’t found a Catholic or even Christian community up here for us to learn and experience is because we can’t find a community that we liked. It seemed like the interfaith subject was more of a deal breaker for them than it was for our Reform Jewish community.
I’m looking forward in the coming months to going more in preparation for the high holy days and continuing to build our community with the older members.