WE R the LIGHT of The World
In October 2016, as my mother was nearing the end of her life, I made the decision that I needed to connect to my Jewish roots. My mother was the anchor for the many holiday traditions that I grew up with and enjoyed for many years. However, when I married in the early seventies, my husband at the time was a nonpracticing Reformed Jew. If it weren’t for family trips back to my parent’s Seder Table or celebrating Hanukkah with his family, life would have been empty.
In 1979 as I went through a divorce I chose to get not only a civil court document but I went to the Mikvah and received “A get or gett (/ɡɛt/; Hebrew: גט, plural gittin גיטין) is a divorce document in Jewish religious law, which must be presented by a husband to his wife to effectuate their divorce.” You’ve heard the song “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof, and I chose to follow the culture.
In 1980 I also chose to become a Bat Mitzvah. I did this for me, creating my identity and identifying with being a Jew, not for the religious aspect but for the commitment to carry on the traditions and family love that I grew up to love.
Although I fell in love with a Gentile man, the second time around, the love and friendship we possess convinced me that an interfaith relationship could withstand the test of time. It’s funny how your life may change but deep inside my soul the need for keeping the flames burning, never have extinguished themselves.
I have struggled since the early ’80s to find a community of Jewish individuals that openly accepted my family and me. However, through the guidance of my mother and father from heaven’s above, I refused to give up, and I have found myself at Temple Israel. A big shout out to Rabbi Josh Brown who read my heartful note asking for connection as he guided me into the hands of Elaine Newman and Teri Segal. Since that day, I have begun interweaving my family into theirs. Through Elaine and Teri, I have met so many wonderful people. Mensch (mentsch)— Literally “man or woman” an honorable, decent, stand-up person, as in, “I don’t care who you marry, as long as he or she is a mensch.”
Tonight I will attend services and pre-services social to recognize new members to the congregation/my family. I am blessed that I have found yet one more way to live my life to the fullest and share the opportunities that are available for us all to be accepted in peace. I can hear my mom and pops kvelling, feeling the happiness that I am experiencing. Although I can no longer return to my mother and father’s home, I can open the doors of my home and enter the doors of Temple Israel to fulfill a need that has needed nourishment.
We all must find that space to light our fire and share it with others to experience the beauty of the sunrise and sunset.