Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Someone commented about how it sounded that shul was a very important part of my life.

It is.

I hope someday to find better words so I can adequately explain what it means to me. I've never been one to get particularly involved in the federations and the community centers and the political or financial aspects of the Jewish community. Sometimes I think about it, but with my occasionally unstable emotions, I just think it might not be a good idea.

But shul is different. Religious Judaism is different. You can define religious however you want, whatever part of the spectrum of observance you're on.

For me it's about going through life sometimes confidently certain of and other times desperately dependent on a connection, a living covenant with

It's a little embarrassing to admit, but years ago, I wanted to be a secretary or administrative assistant at a synagogue. Just so I could be there every day. I volunteered in a shul before I had children and it was indeed fulfilling. Even when all I was doing was answering the phone and taking messages. It was great until I hit one of my emotional speedbumps and I was three months recovering.

I don't want the equivalent of a Jewish convent. I don't want to sequester myself away and spend my life 24/7 in prayer. That's not appealing. To me, shul is the center of religious Jewish life. It's the source of learning and teaching and prayer and community. It's the source of so much that's important to me. It's also the source of family.

I mentioned here that I don't have much contact at all with my biological family. I've had to adopt new family. They're at shul. Sometimes they don't see it that way, and it can hurt when, for Pesach as an example, the people I feel close to are inviting biological family for sederim and then the reality hits that my family ties to the shul are tenuous and emotional. My husband has little family left and none are close. Pesach is a hard time for lots of other reasons, but the annual temporary loss of adoptive family is one I've never talked about.

Still, shul remains the center. My center.

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