[4th of July, 2014 // 6th of Tamuz, 5774]
This 4th of July, many events coincided with the holiness of Shabbat. Independence festivities, beautiful weather, the first service lead by the synagogue’s new rabbi, and an unforgettable oneg.
Where do I begin?
Service started on time. This was previously unheard of, as the synagogue runs on Jewish time. In addition it was a beautiful day, so service was held outside. The sound of fireworks going off could be heard, and yet they never seemed to interrupt; perhaps I was too engrossed listening to the rabbi, and perhaps that is also why I don’t remember getting any of these bug bites!
The title is inspired by the enthusiasm and admirable conviction of the rabbi as well. When the board questioned whether or not to hold service, due to it being on July 4th, he voiced his opinion that nothing interrupt it.
We sung America The Beautiful before transitioning into Oneg Shabbat, tasked by both the rabbi and the president of the congregation to reach out and meet someone new tonight before leaving. Many new faces had shown up to show support for the new rabbi, whose formal introduction comes later this week.
I thought originally that I would gravitate towards meeting others my age, but youth makes consistency difficult; I say this both about myself and others. It seems to work out anyways, as I find myself getting along with everyone and our personalities seem to make conversation flow.
One such conservation was condensed, as the request of the guy I was talking to. He was trying to catch many people before they left and he himself was soon to depart, but he wanted to know my background — how did I end up here?
I mentioned the “Taste of Judaism” class, which made him ask: are you thinking of converting? For the first time, I was able to respond with a confident “Actually I am!”. He responded with a smile, and a sense of humor only he could pull off, saying “I hope you reconsider. You don’t know what you’re getting into…” He paused. “Jewish guilt. I hope you get Jewish guilt” he teased, as I noshed on a brownie someone encouraged me to try.
I connected with the president of the synagogue and talked about my graphic design skills. I may be taking on the role of creating the monthly news letter, which will not only be amazing for my artist’s portfolio but great to show that I am serious about wanting to be active in the community and help out wherever I can.
The night ended with small chat, hugs complete with “shabbat shalom”, and the warmth that comes from knowing that the community here does not let movement divide us.