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.
Woman Praying. A portion of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. #BCRF #carynjune