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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

My Rabbi is Back!

Last night I just missed the bus, so I had to wait another 20 minutes for the next one to come along. I decided it was coming in time for me to pass on hailing a cab. I was wrong, service had already started by the time I crept into the sanctuary at temple.

I tried to decide where to sit and saw a woman I am becoming friends with sitting alone. I slipped down the row and sat down, “Hello, Good Shabbos.” I’m certainly feeling like more a part of the community, because later Barbara and her daughter got there and slipped in next to me. Soon I was sitting in the middle of a group of six people and not alone.

It feels so good not to sit alone at temple now. To now that these women are becoming my friends and there are people who don’t just say, “Shabbat Shalom,” but, “Shabbat Shalom, Leah.”

Now that Rabbi Zedek is back, the services are much more lively. I read a story about why he chose Emmanuel (and why Emmanuael chose him) and it was in part the music the congregation sings. The interaction of the congregation. Granted his services are harder to follow, unlike Rabbi Schaalman who follows the Gates of Prayer to the word.

I love that he acknowledges we are people, he interacts with the congregation, he admits when we are having problems finding the melody to a prayer or the microphone is acting up. He opens up the sermon for comment. People giggle and it is okay. It isn’t like Washington Street Presbyterian or the more liberal Central Christian.

I read in one of my many, many books–probably the Idiots Guide–about how loud jewish services are. That it is right to bring in babies and children, it is right to say, “Did I hear that?”, it is okay to be a little chatty. A synogogue is certainly not as quiet as a church–and I like it.

At the oneg I chatted with a few people and met some new people. I don’t know who belongs and who doesn’t, so it surprised me last night that people were asking ME about the temple. Don’t they know that I’m the one who doesn’t belong? I’m the new one?

I caught the Rabbi briefly, as I’d been offered a ride home by a family I’d just met. “Have you been reading?” “Yes,” I answered, “a ton.” “Are you ready to start meeting?” “Yes.” “Call me this week and we’ll set up a time.”

Hooray! I can now move from reading jewish texts on my own to studying with my rabbi. Hip Hip Hooray!

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