When I did Bye Bye Birdie for the Community Synagogue Theatre Company last year, I got some unexpected gifts. Of course, there was the chance to be on stage after 20 years, the applause, the swelled head. All of that was fun as hell. But the unexpected was the gift of community. It is not unusual in any production to become a family of sorts, but this family was different. This experience was different. And I wanted to be a part of it on a more permanent basis. So I joined the Synagogue. A little backstory. I grew up in an orthodox synagogue, though not in an orthodox home. My synagogue experience was dry, somber, inaccessible. I did not love it. So I had my bas mitzvah and got the %^* outta there, never looking back. When my nieces were little, I started to go to Community Synagogue on the High Holidays and was moved by the music, the sermons, the accessibility. But it wasn’t until last year when I decided. I want a piece of this! So as of July I will be a member. But not just a member. Several weeks ago I get a call from one of the board members of the Sisterhood, asking if I would be interested in being Co-VP of the Social Action Committee on the board of the Sisterhood. My first reaction was, “I’m so busy, blah, blah, blah.” Than I thought, why not? Why not walk the walk for a change? So in the past week, I have been to three meetings and the Shabbat service installing the new board of the Sisterhood. Everyone is warm, welcoming, lovely. And I feel just a bit like an impostor. As I read my portion of the service, I’m thinking, what am I doing here? As I stood on the bima in a circle of women I barely knew, our arms around each other receiving a beautiful blessing from the Rabbi, I feel that I haven’t earned this. These women have earned this. I haven’t. They are so Jewish! I remember nothing from Hebrew School. I eat matzo on Passover only when I’ve run out of English Muffins. They all have children, I don’t. But at some point, I realized that everyone starts at the beginning. Maybe they’re here for all the wrong reasons. Maybe they’re giving back to feel like they belong. To feel important. To feel good about themselves. Guess what? It doesn’t matter about our motivations. What matters is that we are here. I have been given an opportunity to be of service. Does it matter that my motives may not be as altruistic as others? Not really. I have also been given a second chance to understand what it means to me to be a Jewish woman. To me. Will I start lighting candles on the Shabbat? Keeping a Kosher home? Nope. Probably not. But who knows? If you had told me a year ago that I would be on the board of the Sisterhood, I would have laughed in your face.
I’ve been pondering the fact that I don’t write nearly as often as I used to. Why is that? I illustrate my ramblings with a piece of my jewelry, and as I move in different directions with each piece, they don’t seem to fit as well as they used to. So I hold off, waiting for the perfect piece to speak. To inspire. Sort of like not buying a new bathing suit until I lose 10 or 50 pounds. Well, if history proves anything, it’s that waiting for the perfect body means I will be wearing the same old bathing suit until I die. What am I waiting for? Well, I took my own advice a few months back. I saw an ad for a really cute bathing suit. It looked almost like an old forties suit, like those curvy pinup girls would wear, and I thought, that would look great on me, and it would cover my thighs! So, I ordered it. I just heard every woman who ever lived let out a collective gasp. “Are you insane!!??? You ordered a bathing suit online?!!?!!” Yes. Yes, I did. I waited and waited and waited. I finally went on the tracking site and saw that it was being shipped from China. That gave me a little pause, but it was cheap so, What the hell! It finally came and I ripped open the package and it was as cute as I hoped. It didn’t quite look like the Large I ordered, but they stretch, don’t they? No. No they don’t. After much tugging, yanking, huffing and puffing, I was forced to concede defeat. I sighed and put it back in the packaging and sent an email to the company asking how to go about returning it. They wrote back asking if I had checked the size chart as they were in China and Asian sizes are typically smaller. WTF!?! Shouldn’t a large be large in any country!!?? I bit my tongue before I could start swearing. “Look, you blankety-blank teeny-tiny person! Are you calling me fat??!??!” I meekly asked if I could just return it. Their answer? I can, but being as I would have to ship it to China it would cost more than the damn thing cost. I am now the owner of a bathing suit that even if I lose 40 pounds will probably not fit my distinctly not Asian body. What’s the moral of this story? There is no moral, people!! Don’t buy a f%#%*^ing bathing suit online! How’s that for a moral?!?