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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

This, my friends, is why I go to shul.

With very few exceptions, I go to shul every Friday night and many Saturday mornings. I imagine that in the future, when I have a family to have shabbat dinner with, the Friday nights might decrease. But for now–I go.

Tonight, I didn’t want to go. I didn’t even get dressed until 6PM and I had to be there at 6PM for a Hanukah/Shabbat dinner. Let me repeat, I did not want to go. I wanted to be in my pajamas, watching static filled TV, maybe reading, eating popcorn for shabbat dinner and being anywhere but shul.

But I went, because that is what I do. I go to shul, even when I feel like staying home, ESPECIALLY when I feel like staying home. That is when I need it the most. So I dragged grumpy me over to the shul (but took a minute before I left and got out of my PJs, I’m not a total loser.)

When I got there, you could smell the latkes in the parking lot. Mmmmm, grease and potatos–what could be better? When I walked inside, it was packed with families and there were probably 40 family menorahs (menorot) waiting to be lit. Some handmade, some storebought, big and small. Probably 40, maybe 50. I got there just in time for the menorah lighting and immediately began running into friends.

This is why I go. Friends, lots of people that I now know. Ted gave me a DVD of StoryTelling night and his dad told me that we were booked to do a gig in Osh Kosh, WI. (A joke, I don’t have a gig in Osh Kosh.) I just kept literally running into families and people that I knew. The Glasers had a packed table, so I sat with friends at the next table–all folks from my Jew 101 class. It says a lot that five months later we are all still friends and sitting together at shabbat.

Dinner was great and the kids hanukkah show after was fun. The parents singing “My Menorah” to the tune of My Sharona was even better. (did you know that My Sharona was written about a jewish girl?) Then after much side splitting laughter, it was time for services. By the time I left shul, I forgot why I was grumpy before shul.

That is why I go, that is my advertisement for the night.

(I was grumpy because at this point I have NOTHING to wear for New Year’s Eve tomorrow night. The party I’m going to demands something remotely sexy, but appropriate. I’m going dateless, so don’t want to look too trampy, but don’t want to dress frumpy. I had a very unsuccesful shopping trip after work and came up empty handed. Oh well. Maybe I’ll wear my Johnny Knoxville t-shirt and call it a night.)

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