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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Bike ride or How I wound up at an orthodox shul

The plan was simple. Go to Borders (riding my bike) and buy the 2006 Writer’s Guide. Mission accomplished and I didn’t even buy another book. But it’s a $30 book, so I have to draw the line somewhere. On my way back I wanted to be sure to pay attention to the Orthodox shul on Kenmore. Why? Curiosity. I got there and the gates were open, as well as the front door.

Why would a shul be open on Sunday? I read the bulletin board on the fence and didn’t find an answer, when lo and behold, out walks Elesim. He was in my 101 class and hops around from shul to shul. He said he was helping build the sukkah and I should come and take a look.

I locked up my bike and entered the orthodox shul. In the sukkah, I met the rebbe–who was quick to point out that I’ve been duped and that I’ll never be a jew this way. I know better than to get into with an orthodox rabbi, so I agreed. Yes, I know, I’ve been duped–but I’m doing it anyway. “Well, at least he told you the truth.” he said about my Rabbi. And then he declared that the Conservatives are worse than the Reforms–but I kind of missed the point. He made sure I knew that the jews in england won’t consider me a jew and the rabbinate in Israel. “I know, I know”

Then I wound up with garland in my hands and helped decorate the sukkah with the Reb’s son and two other congregants. I was glad, because I’d wanted to check out the shul and this was an easy way in. I’m not interested in being a part of their community–in part because I don’t want to be constantly defending my status as a jew–but it was nice to spend an afternoon with some orthodox people my age. To hear them cuss and burp and complain about dating–all the same things that my friends do. Except complain about dating, since most of them are married.

Once the chill got to my bones, I said goodbye and snuck out the front door. Hope the Reb doesn’t mind that a gentile decorated his sukkah.

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