Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I became a member of the congregation! This last Sunday we had an invitation to a brunch organized for new members of the Temple. I have to tell you how much I appreciated my husband to get up in the morning and come with me. He loves sleeping in on weekends and still got up and went with me. These are the "little" things we do for someone we care about. He ended up having so much fun, meeting interesting, new people and having the opportunity to get involved, which he loves.

I have received a new member goody bag from N on Friday, after Shabbat service. It included a CD with prayers and songs sung by the Cantor of the Temple. I love his voice and can't stop listening to the CD ever since I got it. It is still in my laptop's CD player so that I can turn it on whenever I feel like it.

I always enjoy being at Temple, whatever the occasion. I don't know, there is something there that keeps attracting me. It has to be a mixture of things: the people I see there, the rabbi who is teaching me about Judaism and takes care of my learning very attentively; the ladies of the knitting club, Miss E -- who has been through so much during her very long and interesting life -- takes her time to teach me patiently how to knit and tells me stories of her life; N, whom I became friends with instantly when we first met and with whom I enjoy every minute we spend talking and having lunch together; the friendly atmosphere, that is nuanced by the wise spirituality in the air ... well, I could have just said: everything :-)

Today I had lunch with N and we had a good time chatting again before I went to see Rabbi S for my next lesson. I love these sessions with her because I learn so much during that one hour we spend talking. These discussions help me clarify blurred things and give me more and more insight, which, in turn, make Judaism even more attractive for me.

I cherish everything about my studies, my new friends and community that has unconditionally accepted and welcomed me -- even considering the fact that I am (probably, but not certainly) not Jewish. I love reading the books Rabbi S assigned for me, my favorite is the one written by Rabbi Kertzer. I read it as a suspense novel :-) Can't put it down, therefore I am always ahead with the readings vs our sessions.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I have never-ever felt so much at home. As I am advancing with the studies I want to belong among the Jews even more. I simply know I found what I was looking for. I am ready and willing to work hard to earn the trust -- and even in many cases true friendship -- of the people who are giving me so much. They might not even know how much that is.

My newfound life opened up layers of my soul that I have never known existed. Or I knew about them but they were buried so deep that I forgot about them completely. My existence is starting to be complete, for the first time during my 34 years.

The very first prayer I learnt in Hebrew is the Shema. I say it every night and every morning, as it is commended. I sometimes prayed before but I always felt it was kind of rude to just get in and ask for things. I have always prayed for strength, to be able to deal with the hardship of my life -- which were quite numerous, considering my age. I would say life was pretty "generous" in providing me with suffering, and I don't mean that as a complaint. My Mom used to say: there should be a purpose of your life, a guardian angel by your side. She said that because I have almost died when I was born and doctors considered it a miracle that I was alive.

There was a second time, when I was 26: almost died again, and it was, again, considered a miracle that I survived. The doctor who "saved" my life said it was my strength and willingness to fight and not give up that kept me hanging there. He just performed an operation -- a life-saving one -- but it would have been in vain without my strength -- he said. Why am I writing about these things? Because I think they are strongly related to the journey I have taken on recently. If I have that much strength, I want to share it. Sure, I can use it for my own purposes or share it with my close loved ones, but the truth is, even after that there is a lot remaining. I need to give. And, I think, it is very much in line with the Jewish values.

No comments:

Post a Comment