Monday, March 9, 2009


Last week I have completed my first “official” volunteer task as a member of the congregation. We – because G was involved as much as I was – shopped for some groceries, made dinner for an elderly couple and delivered it the next day to their home. It was such a great experience, I don’t think I’d ever forget it. The smile of joy on their faces, the appreciation was priceless. Also, my appreciation toward the Jewish community increases more and more as I get more and more involved.

We spent the weekend in Texas, it was a business/vacation trip. We were wondering around in a gift store on Padre Island trying to find the most necessary thing we have to get every trip in every city/town/country we go: a magnet for the fridge :-)(the second most important is the snow globe but in some cases I can manage my urge to get one :-)). So, at the counter while checking out with the 2 magnets (one for my Mom) the storekeeper asks me: “Are you Jewish?” Now, I don’t know if it was because of the shock this question caused me or the result of some kind of a subconscious process but I immediately replied with a definite YES. He told me he asked because he saw the Chai on my necklace. As this symbol is not as obvious as the star of David and not many people recognize it, I asked back, how he knew. He said “well, I am from Israel” – and revealed a huge star of David pendant from under his shirt. He said he was wearing it so that if he dies people would know how to bury him. It was a little strange considering he was about my age and people usually don’t think that much about dying unless they have a good reason to do so. Anyway, he got so excited that he showed us out and pointed at a building across the street: there is the synagogue.

It was a neat experience in many respects but most of all it was my first incident when I said I was a Jew, not becoming one. And I was extremely proud, too.
Today was the day of the room in the inn at Temple and I went to help out as I promised to B last week at the knitting club. Another great experience I would cherish my whole life. There was this woman, again, about my age. She was clean and neat, wore eyeglasses with red frame. She told me about a website where I could learn more Hebrew (because that’s where she learned what she knew) and she was eager to know more about Judaism. She wanted to see the chapel and the sanctuary so B and me went with her and showed her around. B let me explain the tapestry on the wall of the sanctuary – which I just learned a week ago when Rabbi S took a tour with me – and I was really proud I knew it.

This woman taught me something even though she probably does not know it: how to remain positive even when life throws a curve ball at me. I mean, she does not have a place to live, to call it home, and she is still optimistic, hopeful, eager to learn and go ahead with her life. If I think about how miserable I felt after each and every unsuccessful IVF and how I wanted to die for a few days (figure of speech, of course) while I had everything in my life -- except for one. And she has nothing. It’s ridiculous but I don’t even know her name. I hope I’ll see her again next week or later.

All in all, so far I can summarize my experiences with Judaism in only positive terms: hope and faith in humanity, integrity, happiness, good people, perspective and unconditional acceptance. I think I found my way not to somewhere but back to somewhere. I am happy and feeling complete now. This is what I’ve been missing for many years.

No comments:

Post a Comment