Impressions of Rosh Hashanah

Vignette I

The first morning of Rosh Hashanah, was the first service I have attended with Or Shalom at the JCC. As I walk into the room, I notice immediately that we are using the old ark, the portable ark we used when Or Shalom didn’t yet have a permanent home, and we travelled around meeting in basements and common rooms. The ark lives in a corner of the shul at Or Shalom, but seldom have I seen it open since I returned last year. I had forgotten about the curtain that hangs in front of the scrolls. It is a tapestry with a blue and purple scene of a Jerusalem hillside. How often did I, as a bored child listening to services in a language I did not then understand nor connect with, imagine to myself that the scene was alive? Imagine myself wandering the streets of Jerusalem on that blue and purple hillside.

Once Or Shalom purchased its current location at 10th and Fraser, a solid, permanent ark was built and installed, and it is the main one we use. I realized that now, as an adult, I am finally solidly and permanently built as well. Or Shalom, as a community, is no longer wandering with a portable ark, they have found their place. I, as a Jew, am no longer wandering through blue and purple dream landscapes; I have found my home.

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Origins of the Holy Trinity

The Rebbe sighed. “I don’t know either. But maintain we must, and affirm we must, that that which clearly exists and besides which nothing else clearly exists – that is God.”

            The Rebbe stroked his beard for a few minutes and thought some more. “And what is soul, Moshe? Soul is that being that knows with certainty that God exists and that besides God nothing else clearly exists.”

            “And faith, Moshe? Faith is the way the soul knows that God exists and that besides God nothing clearly exists.”…This story also teaches us that God is not some independent “out there” entity. God, soul, and faith – the known, the knower, and the knowing – are inseparable. We are one. (Conversation between Reb Liadi and a student, Moshe, as quoted in, “Jewish with Feeling,” pg. 29, Schachter-Shalomi, Z.)

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Graham’s SCA-wife Dream

I dreamt that Graham and I were together at an SCA event, although neither of us had changed into garb yet. We went into a locker room together, which was adjacent to the hall, and sat down on one of the benches. A stunningly gorgeous Japanese woman came in, and Graham introduced her to me. He had known her back when she used to live in Canada, they had met in the SCA, and become very good platonic friends. He had taken her as his platonic, SCA wife before she had to move back to Japan. Now she was back after many years away on a brief visit. Continue reading

West Coast Trail

originally published: 2012-08-29

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Throughout our hiking together, several little routines had emerged, and though we both started out rough at the start of the Juan de Fuca trail, by the West Coast Trail we had things well in hand. Each morning I’d hear the watch’s tinny alarm (too high for Graham’s failing hearing), and wake Graham by starting to sing, “Morning has Broken,” he’d typically join in by the second line. Once the song was completed, he’d fumble for his pants and beadle off into the bush to relieve himself. While he was occupied, I’d get up and start packing. The largest portion of my packing was really stuffing my sleeping bag, then I’d roll up the mat, and stuff it in its bag, and dump my excess clothes down the tube it created. Continue reading

Gambier, A Glimpse

Originally published: 20120607

It turns out that when you take the man out of the city, you can in fact take the city out of the man. Graham, when removed from the crowded confusion and bustle of the civilized world, transforms from a bumbling, stammering absent-minded professor, into a calm, confident explorer meeting each challenge head on, tweaking and innovating as necessary. Continue reading

Room for the Holy Spirit

originally published: 2012-05-08

Saturday April 5

I woke up early for shul, and did some stuff on the computer until it was time to leave and I was worried I’d be late. I arrived at the shul at 09:01. Shortly thereafter Graham texted me to tell me he’d be late, and to expect him around 09:45. Meanwhile I waited outside the shul, and waited, and waited. I’m not sure what happened with who was supposed to open the shul, but someone showed up around ten to ten. I’d left my stuff up on the porch – which included my stretching mat I’d finally gotten back from Holly, but never had time to use it. I told someone to tuck it inside for me, and went down to the corner to meet Graham’s bus Continue reading

Baby’s First Bat-Mitzvah

originally published: 2012-05-01

Saturday April 28

I had forgotten that there was going to be a Bat-mitzvah at shul on this day, so very few of the regular congregants showed up, and there was a lot of family and extended family, of course. It was the first Bat-mitzvah I’ve actually ever witnessed, and I think I’ve only seen about two Bar-mitzvahs. I have two male cousins, but I can’t remember if I attended both, and I was very little. I remember loving noodle koogle. Continue reading

Compassion & Night Terror

originally published: 2012-04-30

Saturday, March 24, 2012 – Compassion

As we walked up the street to shul, I saw Judy walk into the shul ahead of us. Once we were inside, we exchanged small talk with Judy and, after she left, I lead Graham through foreshortened morning yoga and stretches. I was a bit nervous people would start assembling earlier because of our special guest.
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Menorah-Rosary Dream

originally published: 2012-02-29

My dream plot today started out as a pretty cut-and-dried sabotage-and-running-away plot. These themes reoccur usually when I’m experiencing fear about change, or the unknown. When I begin to feel that I am getting too close to something, and feel the urge to destroy it before it has a chance to hurt me. My discussion with Graham today about my current job, my courses, and my future employment goals triggered those fears. Continue reading

originally published: 2012-02-27

You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find,
You get what you need.

I feel stretched. My body is stretched, my mind is stretched, my soul is stretched, my heart is stretched, and my intellect is stretched. I have been stretched this weekend inside and out, and I feel I have grown along new pathways of feeling and thinking, and developed deeper connections and relationships with my family, my friends, and G-d. As with every good stretch – I feel slightly sore, tingly all over, and exceptionally calm and relaxed. This is the true Intention of Shabbat: Rest. Relax. Rejuvenate. Renew. Grow. Continue reading

G-d Weekend: Parshat Terumah

Parshat Beshallach: The “Singing” Shabbat

originally published: 2012-02-08

Saturday, Feb. 4

I got up about 05:30, but managed to get back to sleep. I next woke up at about 07:00, and decided that was about right. I showered, dressed, and starting fixing crackers and cheese and a large green salad for shul. I managed to slice myself while cutting up the cheese. Continue reading

Interview with a Rabbi

originally published: 2012-02-07

Tuesday, Jan. 31

On Tuesday, I woke up a bit earlier than I intended, had tea, and walked to shul for my appointment with Reb. Laura. I arrived a comfortable fifteen minutes early. When I knocked on the door, she expressed surprise that I was so early. I told her that if she was doing me the honour of meeting with me so late in her day, I could at least do her the honour of being a bit early. Continue reading

The Husbands’ Redemption

originally published: 2012-01-31

I am content again. Both husbands know me enough and understand me well enough to know that sometimes the best thing they can do when they’re in trouble, is buy me a Shiny, then I’ll get distracted and forget that I’m mad at them.

Both husbands brought me a gift at the end of this weekend. Dave, as I said, bought me a necklace with a Celtic knot work star motif. Robin found me a Hanukah menorah, with the cups attached to a length of recycled, cleaned, and bronzed bike chain. You can pose the branches any which way to create a changing work of art. I love both gifts – both as indications that my husbands do get me, and do understand and care about me (as gifts are meant in general) and that, specifically, both husbands are showing me their support over my return to Judaism, both in their own unique ways. Dave’s gift is adornment for his Jewish wench; Robin’s is more one of practicalities – it’s a menorah that you can fold down small and take anywhere!

The little gifts are beautiful, as I am to my husbands, and they are to me. Like I said – I need to take the time to make note of the happy times, too.

Snowy Shabbat

originally published: 2012-01-24

Friday January, 13th

Once home, I lit the Shabbat candles, and tried to settle down. I sort of felt I’d violated the spirit of Shabbat several times, in different ways that night. Starting with turning on my computer to print off Graham’s GURPSelot set parameters so I could bring down the lego and start working on it.

I put about four hours into lego construction, and then decided to just veg on the computer for a bit until shul. Continue reading

Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s

originally published: 2012-01-01

Thursday, December 22nd, I woke up, got dressed, and Robin and I headed to Burnaby to pick up Graham. We continued to my parents’ place in Surrey for Hanukah dinner. Laura made the cuke and onion salad that I like, with ham and latkes, and the chick pea pound cake I requested for dessert. Knowing Graham’s proclivities for rice and split peas, I figured he would be wild about it. He was. Laura made two cakes – one lemon, and one lime and they were both good.

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