Last night, I had the pleasure and awkwardness of going to my first Jewish Shabbat. Soul Food Friday is an outreach worship with the band, Yom Hadash, percussively blasting through the service in a blend of Klezmer and Jewish rave-up. Afterwards, it’s matzo, lattkes and loud conversation in the lobby packed with eye-candy drinking punch.
It seems we’ve been in the midst of a Jew-enaissance here on Green Street. Vic’s been helping out an observant pal with his Kaddish minyan and recently is learning to read Hebrew. Me? I’ve been biking all over town and buying hammentash to see if there are any better than Andrew’s on Harvard. I’ve not found them.
One of the things that I often forget, when I start to feel my blood pressure rise thinking about the fundamentalists, religious bigots, and hypocrites who dominate the news and our political discourse, is that gathering together regularly to reflect beyond yourself in a congregation can be a powerful agent for social justice and responsibility.
Last night gave me hope.
May we gain wisdom in our lives,
Overflowing like a river with understanding;
Our soul profound enough to cover the earth,
Loved, each of us, for the peace we bring to others.
May our deeds exceed our speech, and may we never lift up our hand
But to conquer fear and doubt and grave despair.
Rise up like the sun, O God, over all humanity,
Cause light to go forth over all lands between the seas,
And light up the universe with the joy of wholeness, of freedom, and of peace.