Sunday, March 4, 2012

Building Bridges

Our adventures with the Not-So-Elderly from Beth Elderly continue! This month we had Young Adult (defined as under 40) Havdalah at another couple's home. The rabbi and his wife brought their two kids, which was fun for a while, but got pretty chaotic pretty fast (one and three years old are not ideal ages for hanging out multiple hours after sun-down). Aside from that, there were a handful of young folks we had met last time. We did Havdalah, chatted about the shul, and just generally spent time getting to know each other. Mrs. Yid and I wound up staying past midnight talking with the host couple Abraham and Sarah about their practice and journeys with Judaism. As a fellow young couple of eclectic religious background and practices it was a lot of fun to trade stories and experiences without feeling that we were weirding each other out. (Abraham was raised Episcopalian, eventually found out he was halachically Jewish through his maternal grandmother, and spent time at college Hillel, Reform Judaism, Chabad and Evil Minion before finding Beth Elderly; Sarah is a practicing Catholic and the two of them are active in both communities-- very busy weekends!) Compared to them, Mrs. Yid and my religious affiliation and practice are almost uncomplicated, something we haven't felt in... ever?

There have been a few times over the past ten or fifteen years when I made a close friendship that wound up having a big impact on my Jewish education and practice. The first was in high school, when I found my first Jewish friend that was religious enough that he could at least take me to High Holiday services at his shul. The second was in college, when my best friend and roommate was a rabbi's kid and really knew what she was doing, and gave me the anchoring I needed to take the things I had been learning from books and putting them into practice. With these new friends, I feel like there's the potential to have some fellow travelers who understand the challenges of wanting to take a tradition seriously (or at least more seriously than not at all) while not being judged for the choices you ultimately make or don't make.

Here's hoping that our new acquaintance with Abraham and Sarah will turn into a long friendship-- and maybe encourage us to take our path(s) as seriously as they do theirs.

And also that next time, the rabbi and his wife will get a baby-sitter.