Lately it seems I’ve been creating a greater jewish community for myself. What started as a small circle including my roommate, Ronnie, and my rabbi–now includes folks from the congregation, customers who reveal their jewishness after seeing my star of david necklace, and even new co-workers.
I used to sit alone at Friday night services, but that didn’t last long. I’ve commented before that after a month or so other women or families would invite me to sit with them. Last week when Doug Cotler performed, I arrived late and was trying to sneak in. I couldn’t because an older member of the congregation asked me to walk her to her seat in the front of the sanctuary. Then when I tried to slip into an empty seat, I heard, “Pssst, Leah.” I turned around and a family I have become friends with waved me over to sit with them.
This week was a pretty small group at services and I was sitting alone. Into the second or third prayer I noticed movement in my aisle and looked to my left. Greg was coming in late and joined me for the service. We’d met at a share shabbat a month or so ago, then again the night I took my dad to temple.
I can’t explain how good it feels to not sit alone at temple. After the oneg (which I found out means joy, not social), I invited Greg to join a friend and me out for drinks in my neighborhood. We wound up there until one in the morning. Greg said he was impressed by my ability to follow along with the services and the close proximity I have to hebrew when I’m praying. Meaning–the words aren’t always right, but the melody is close.
Last night at work, it seemed like over half my customers were jewish. I can’t always tell, but I’ll get a comment on my necklace or extra interest in Solomon’s Cookies. I may feel out of place on Devon Avenue, but I do have a jewish home at my temple and with my friends.