we are back to weekly classes!
The High Holidays are over and last week we were back to our Adult B’nai Mitzvah class on a weekly basis. We had a nice break for a lot of the summer and the holidays and I’ve been pretty excited to be back. During the break, some of the gang met weekly with different volunteers to work on their Hebrew. There are a few students in our class that are from Israel who, obviously, know Hebrew very well but I believe they are actually Hebrew teachers as well which is super helpful. So I think that was really nice of them to volunteer their time to work with those that need extra help. This extra Hebrew time was not a requirement of the class and I personally did not attend any of the “practice” sessions. My Hebrew is not perfect AT ALL, there is certainly room for growth in that department. However, my time is precious and committing to this class is a pretty big deal to me. My first thoughts were “Well it’s not a requirement, so I don’t have to come and I can practice reading on my own.” Then we talked about how if we continued coming anyway, it would keep us joined as a group. I loved that idea but chose to take advantage of the summer time with my kids, plus my job got intense towards the end of summer too so time was limited. On top of it all, getting ready for the Yamim Noraim (High Holidays) and the whole experience is a lot to handle. I DO have opportunity to practice on my own as I daven (pray) in Hebrew morning and nights and I made it a point to go further into my prayers to not only practice but also engage in more prayer which is always good for me. I did not refer to the worksheets we were given as often as I would’ve like – I should try and go over those again. (Insert guilty-looking face here)
SO last week we returned and it was a small group, surprisingly. I’d say about half the original group (maybe more) were not in attendance. I think everyone was curious about that including our Chazzan (Cantor Ruth) who is leading the classes. Aside from the lack of attendance in classmates, I enjoyed the class. We simply heard from a few students on what they had written about for the High Holidays. It was nice to just talk and listen to each other and because the group was small, it was quite intimate and easy to communicate. One student shared a beautiful essay she wrote about her spiritual experience and others simply shared thoughts and stories. I told the group about this blog and how I have A LOT to say. Everyone seemed interested in the blog and thought it was a good idea, I definitely got positive feedback. I haven’t shared the link with the class yet, I guess I’m a little nervous about doing that. The conversation even got pretty intense at the end of class as someone shared some dislikes with her experience with the shul. I don’t think such topics will EVER be easy to discuss, especially with members of the clergy or administration present. Emotions will always play a part in these matters because we are all here for emotional and spiritual reasons. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for anyone involved, which is why I’m leaving the details out. My point is that the class was small and intimate, which I tend to enjoy and it gives me a lot to think about on my ride home.
for the next three weeks…
We will be joining a program being held by the Adult Education committee as part of our own education for a three session class called The Fuzzy Boundaries of Jewishness: Ancient and Modern. We’ve already attended one class last week (I’m combining two weeks into this Post) and I have to say the subject matter is truly fascinating for me. The class is being taught by a Scholarly-Academic-Rabbi-PhD type who really seems to know his stuff and has caught my attention. At the risk of sounding like a nerd, I have to admit that I cannot wait for the next class. I will probably write about the study after I have digested at least 2 out of the 3 classes so I can give a good report of my learnings.
In the meantime, I am really enjoying Cheshvan (the Hebrew month that follows Tishrei, the one with ALL the holidays and this one has NONE). It’s been really peaceful to just BE. I feel like you get to see or experience the “new” you in action. Like you get to enjoy what you just went through and who you are after any growth you might’ve experienced. This month, Shabbat feels extra peaceful and meaningful. Because it’s JUST Shabbat. Which is a beautiful day in its own rite, I probably shouldn’t say “JUST” but I hopefully you know what I mean. Life is back to a somewhat regular routine with full weeks of school, work, and Shabbos. I’ve actually already found myself practicing things I said I had to work on so it’s nice to be ME right now. Peaceful, conscious me. My youngest daughter was actually born in Cheshvan so I guess that’s MY holiday this month that I plan for. [**thoughts about motherhood are actually in a separate blog :)]