Now Playing: Faith Hill _ Breathe
I have so many mixed emotions right now...I'm going to try to seperate them out as best I can. First and foremost, I miss home a lot right now. It's definately the high holidays that are doing it for me. Everyone at home asking how I'm doing and asking about me. My grandmother and my brother coming in for the New Year, and me just not being there. But I have to remind myself, that really I might not be there for the high holidays again for a while. Over the next several years I will have student pulpits, and then a pulpit of my own. So, as my mom said, I will have to just expect that my family and friends will come to me, instead of me going to them. Secondly, services here last night were great. We had services at HUC in the Blaustein hall where you get one of the most spectacular views of the walls of the Old City behind the pulpit. We watched the sun go down on the old walls, and simultaneously began seeing the reflection of ourselves praying in the glass windows...just spectacular!!! And the cantorial choir was unbelievable. But at the same time, i missed the feeling of being able to sing WITH them. It was definately a listening experience, and not a participating experience...it's okay though, they were pretty moving. We then had a Rosh Hashanah Sedar (didn't even know you could!!!) and that was great too! Lots of singing and dancing and it was really nice to be with all my classmates and their SO's. Then I came home and Leah and I called Michael and Phyllis and then I called my folks and went to bed.
This morning I woke up and went back to services at HUC. They were FOUR HOURS LONG!!!!!!! By the end, it was sort of hard to focus. After a relaxing day I went to Josh's for a bit. Needless to say, many interesting conversations ensued. One of our favorite topics right now, as HUC students, has very little to do with our own beliefs on Reform Judaism and more to do with whether or not we feel "observant enough" or "Jewish enough" compared to others (even some of our classmates). So many people have such varied views on this topic, and it often gets very emotional and heated. I think that all of us are sorting out what we knew and what we thought and trying to reconcile it with what we are now learning and some of our new beliefs and attitudes. It's hard for everyone. I know that I am finding myself saying a lot, "Well, I've never done XYZ before so I don't feel the need to do it now." But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I'm not okay with that statement. Tradition, although and integral part of Judaism, does not always mean that it's the right way for you to do something now. So I guess this year is really a big learning year for me....in so many ways. I need to figure out what works best for ME, what MY needs are as a Reform Jew...and how I want to integrate all of this into my life.
(Continued Sat. 9/18) So then on Friday I decided to go to Second Day Rosh Hashanah services at Har El. I had never been there before, and truthfully, I wasn't that impressed. It just wasn't a good fit for me. I know that some of my other classmates really like it there, but it was too small for me and I honestly didn't really like the service. I think I'll probably stick with places like Kol Hanishama, Shira Hadasha, and HUC for services. I walked there and back with the Sherman family (Karen is a classmate of mine...she is in almost all of my classes...and she has a husband and two adorable daughters) and we had a great time together. When I got bored during services I was able to quietly read to Eliana (Karen's 3 year old daughter)or help her color in her book. Afterwards, on our way home, we stopped in to the Great Synagogue which is a huge and beautiful orthodox synagogue in Jerusalem. We had to walk up several flight of stairs to get to the women's section but it is just breath-taking inside. However, Karen's 7 year old daughter Rebecca began asking all sorts of questions about why the men and women had to sit seperately, why men and women had different jobs during services and why she couldn't sit next to her daddy while in temple. Karen and I did as best we could, but Rebecca's questions were so pure and innocent that Karen and I began exchanging a lot of glances. It was a real learning moment for me (as a rabbi to be) trying to explain different people's beleifs and customs, even though we are still all Jewish.
Later that night Leah and I went to Adam and Noah's for Shabbat dinner and had a quiet, delicious, and relaxing evening with them. Today it's off to Lisa's for shabbat lunch, along with the usual shabbat activities, and then of course tonight....homework!!!!
Being that it is now the middle of the high holidays, I tend to be a lot more reflective this time of year, so I will try to write more of that soon in the next few days.