Skip to main content

What I learned and where I daven

What I learned - from a Conservative rabbi, actually - is that there may never be a shul that "fits the bill" in every way.  Our shul sure isn't it for me, but it seems to be a good fit for Ted, and he has to be there a lot more than I do, so his comfort there is more important.  Period.
 
I've said repeatedly that it's a lousy place for anyone who understands the davening, or at least, doesn't want to be spoon-fed instructions on how to daven.  And it's a lousy place for FFB teenagers.  (YM's yeshiva seriously frowns on him davening there, and I agree)
 
What he taught me is that the shul you daven in doesn't necessarily have to be the shul with the people you click with best or where you learn best... in other words, as you know, you're probably not going to find it all in one building.
 
I spent a lot of time looking for the right community, and then settled for a community which has the most to offer to the most members of my family.
 
I am truly fascinated by my family's frum and chassidic past, and I guess a million years ago, that's what I hoped to become, somehow. 
 
Did you know that when caterpillars turn into butterflies, they don't just enter the chrysalis, grow wings and pop out?  They actually (and okay, I read this, so please feel free to flame me if this is totally scientifically inaccurate) dissolve, they disintegrate, and then build themselves up again in the form of a butterfly.  There is no trace of the caterpillar.  If it had had fingerprints, they'd be gone, dissolved, and new ones in their place.
 
That's what I'd have had to do to become part of a chassidic community.  That's what Jeremy started to do... and then couldn't take it.  He wanted to be himself, and couldn't see himself in the picture he was creating, in the butterfly he was becoming.  So he left the chrysalis completely and became, basically, a sad, tired, bitter extension of the same person he'd been before he met Yiddishkeit.
 
I don't know what happened to me, but I guess I gave up hope more slowly of ever being part of that sort of community.  Frankly, we all like coloured clothes much too much to blend in.  :-)
Seriously, that's too glib, but maybe it is the chrysalis thing.  Maybe I wasn't willing to dissolve enough of my pre-teshuvah personality and lifestyle.
 
Anyway, I sat on the fence for a long time, particularly when I wasn't sure about Ted converting, and finally it was a Reform rabbi (I was probably avoiding Orthodox rabbis during this period of my life!) actually told me to get off the fence and declare where I was holding and I pretty much did and started making a life for myself in this weird nonconformodox niche.
 
All of which is just to say, for those who think our shul and our community is pretty monolithically Orthodox, it isn't.  And that shul doesn't represent me or my views or even perhaps those of my family. 
 
It's a nice "outpost" shul that I am happy to support despite its many, MANY shortcomings because there's a deep need for kiruv and classes in this area and because every once in a while, when I actually get inside the shul, I have a moment of clarity and epiphany and feel this whole 20-year yiddishkeit trek has been worthwhile so far.
 
(but, of course, as any heretic knows, it's equally possible to have epiphanies on mountaintops or in science labs...)

Popular posts from this blog

לימודי קודש/Limudei Kodesh Copywork & Activity Printables

Welcome to my Limudei Kodesh / Jewish Studies copywork and activity printables page.  As of June 2013, I am slowly but surely moving all my printables over to 4shared because Google Docs / Drive is just too flaky for me. What you’ll find here: Weekly Parsha Copywork More Parsha Activities More Chumash / Tanach Activities Yom Tov Copywork & Activities Tefillah Copywork Pirkei Avos / Pirkei Avot Jewish Preschool Resources Other printables! For General Studies printables and activities, including Hebrew-English science resources and more, click here . For Miscellaneous homeschool helps and printables, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you just want to say Thank You, here’s a

Hebrew/ עברית & English General Studies Printables

For Jewish Studies, including weekly parsha resources and copywork, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you enjoy these resources, please consider buying my weekly parsha book, The Family Torah :  the story of the Torah, written to be read aloud – or any of my other wonderful Jewish books for kids and families . English Worksheets & Printables: (For Hebrew, click here ) Science :  Plants, Animals, Human Body Math   Ambleside :  Composers, Artists History Geography Language & Literature     Science General Poems for Elemental Science .  Original Poems written by ME, because the ones that came with Elemental Science were so awful.  Three pages are included:  one page with two po

Ancient Auction Secret: If Chinese auctions are racist, why do Jews love them so much?

Ah, Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews.  You sure do love your Chinese auctions, don’t you? It seems that even in an era of political correctness, within certain circles, this term just will not die . And frankly, I’m mortified. I’m not Chinese, but I have family who is Chinese.  Some are Korean, as well.  I guess this makes us more ethnically diverse than many Jews, but I suspect most Jewish families are moving in this direction.  Still.  Even if we don’t know a single Chinese person, we should still stop calling it that. First of all… is it actually racist to call it a Chinese auction? I figured I’d let Chinese people decide.  But when I turned to Google to find out how Chinese people feel about Chinese auctions, what I found was mostly… nothing.  Silence.  I did find some debate (presumably among non-Chinese people) over whether it was too far in the direction of political correctness to refer to these as a “silent auction” or (as in some parts of the States) a “tricky tray.”  (Ok