First, a little background: I would periodically attend shul because my kids attended the adjoining school and my husband worked at the school as well. It was my obligation to show up for my family and to participate in all the required activities. I enjoyed many of them, but I began to notice that I didn't have my own relationship with the shul, school and Rabbis. Then my dad died, and then my father-in-law died and through the shiva minyans, I saw that I was part of a beautiful community. (Shiva brings out the best in a community). I began to be drawn in, but without regularity. And then it happened. At a Shabbaton, Rabbi Kligfeld and the then Cantor Magda Fishman gave the most beautiful and thoughtful morning prayers service. They discussed them, we sang them - no we chanted them and it was transformative. I physically felt different and I told my husband later that I now understood what people meant by a powerful meditative experience.
Within a week of that Shabbaton, my friend told me about a meditation service at my shul ( I had no idea) and I didn't miss a beat, "I will be there." From the first meditation and learning experience with Rabbi Ruth Sohn, I knew that this is where I had to be. That was 2 years and 9 months ago (but who is counting). I rarely miss it. In fact, I have even led some. Each week brings me closer to Judaism and to ritual. There is still a lot to learn, but I can definitely say that I have my own beautiful and rewarding partnership with my shul.
So why did I notice this morning? Because today was a 2 parter. I went to my regular meditation minyan Rabbi Ruth Sohn and then attended a Torah study with Rabbi Adam Kligfeld. Both experiences were fulfilling in ways I wasn't expecting and again, thanks to meditation I noticed.
- I am no longer afraid of that voice telling me I don't know enough Hebrew, Torah, or Talmud. The truth is clear - I don't, so that is why I want to know more. But it is not about whether I know enough compared to others, it is about my own comfort level in the group and honestly, I just love listening to the discussion. I chime in when I can and appreciate all the different thoughts and ideas that are voiced.
- Rabbis (at least mine) are very kind. They appreciate all who show up to learn and say thank you when you share an idea. "Glad you brought that up." "Thank you for sharing."
- When I leave shul, I am aware of how these lessons will carry me through my week. And I look forward to returning the following week.
- I have started attending Friday night services. I still feel like the least experienced participant in the room, but again, I don't care. The singing and the teaching from the Rabbi helps me end my week and think about Shabbat as more than just Saturday morning services.
- I am grateful to all who meditated and studied today - I loved every minute with you. Your presence is also why today was so special.
Looking forward to more and more. Wishing you all a week of learning and noticing. And if you want, join us at Temple Beth Am.