Monday, November 5, 2018

thinking & blogging

Once again, coming out of a blogging hiatus (sorry Mom). Many ideas, but not much drive to sit down and write. I have spent the past week on the road though, which gives me ample ‘thinking about what to blog’ time. No distractions, no scrolling through my phone… it’s really the best blogging time except for the part where I can’t type while driving.
I did a lot of my thinking on this trip as I drove out of Pittsburgh, and found that my thoughts circled around to last weeks’ shooting, and what being Jewish means to me. I reflected on growing up going to temple regularly, of how just walking into the building gave me a sense of familiarity and home-ness. My temple has always been a very open and welcoming space for me. I stopped going regularly at the end of high school, and now I visit once or twice a year and am brought back instantly to the old hebrew school days, of taking the bus down Wisconsin Avenue after school to play Hebrew balderdash (and probably other things but lets be real, balderdash was the best), of learning how to make challah in the kitchen and of pizza nights with the girls group I was a part of. There are still the same bathrooms and carpet that have been there since my childhood, and the same tunes and phrases spoken and sung.  
After I moved to Maine for college (read: very few Jews), I found Jewish community in small groups instead of at temple. I have loved sharing traditions with friends, Jewish and not- our holidays are always a good excuse for a special evening and both old and new recipes.

In my experience, anyone can walk into any temple for any service when they want to or need to. I have been to a few temples in various states I've lived in, and each time I have walked in and felt welcome and comforted. It's a wonderful thing to have this community available to me wherever I go. In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting, I’ve been reflecting on how I’ll feel about going to temple again. 
I thought a lot about how a place that has helped me deal with my own trauma is now a source of trauma for many people. I randomly walked into a temple in Concord when I needed to have a familiar service to grieve in- I didn't identify myself in any way except my name and why I came, and it was so easy for me to just stroll in there. I knew I would be allowed in and that I'd be able to find some comfort there. It’s upsetting to think of how I and probably many other Jews will not be able to walk into a temple the same simple way again. A place that has been a source of comfort now makes me hesitate a bit. I don’t think I feel afraid to go, but I wonder if some of the ease will be gone. 

Well, that's all for now, not much to conclude with this post. I feel uncertain about posting this, maybe because it's a deviation from my usual 'fun list of things on my travels' post, but as I've said before, blogging is a pretty ideal tool for me to reflect on my feelings, so here they are!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your feelings. Well said. Mid-October I went to a community service at Temple House of Israel in wee Staunton, VA and instantly felt comfortable. I won’t let anyone take that feeling away in the future.