Saturday, November 13, 2010

Congregation B'nei Akiva

No, that's not their real name. But here's why I chose it.

Some of my readers may recollect that I've mentioned the new unaffiliated but Reform-ish local synagogue that was founded within recent years. They're struggling along, meeting once or twice a month in rented rooms for Friday night services or Saturday morning Tot Shabbat, with occasional holiday observances and/or parties and the occasional Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration. They can only afford to bring in their rabbi roughly every two-three months.

Since we know a few of the more active members, we're on their mailing list, and were happy to see that they were having a Friday service this past Friday. Methinks they were glad to see us not only because we're friends with some of them, but also, because we're among the more learned attendees. We ended up doing a lot of the leading.

On the one hand, it's a bit sad to see a group of people, most around our age and probably none (other than the few school-aged kids) under 35, who're at roughly the same level of learning that I was at about 30 years ago, or not even "there" yet. (Some of the folks in Friday's minyan have just recently learned to read Hebrew.) On the other hand, I'm happy to help folks play catch-up. Better late than never. (According to tradition--see here--Rabbi Akiva was an ignoramus until starting his studies at the age of forty, encouraged by Rachel, his wife.) Their company also helped me appreciate just how far I've come. How fortunate I am to have gotten a Hebrew-School education and lessons in home observance from my parents! How lucky I am to have received so much help from rabbis, cantors, teachers, family, and friends--not to mention my husband! All of this has enabled to get to where I am in my Jewish knowledge today.


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