It’s been a few weeks, but I realized I never wrote about class. I’ve been busy with the High Holy Days and car troubles and yeah. The first class was good. Not great, but still good. It was really hard to interact with the other people in the class because we sat in pews facing the rabbi. I hope once High Holidays are done that we can use the meeting room with chairs and tables. It will be easier to take notes and have a discussion in that setup than the chapel.
That said, the rabbi’s got a great sense of humor, a pragmatic approach to belief in these modern times and an interesting historical perspective the explains many of the rituals without invalidating their personal draw. He said the next meeting will also offer us the chance to give our “elevator stories” to Judaism to the other students. I’ve never had that happen in a class, and I really hope people are comfortable enough to share. I think it will be interesting to listen to everyone’s individual path, to understand where they’re coming from when they speak in class.
I will say though, that I think if this had been my first ever Introduction to Judaism course, with the intent of converting or not, I would have been totally lost. I was reminded of all of the feelings of being overwhelmed from the very beginning. We covered the calendar, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. In 90 minutes. That’s a lot.
When I got home, I reviewed the syllabus and was glad to find that many of the books already sit on my shelf. I planned on visiting a used book store to see if any of the remaining titles were there, but at the time, I didn’t know they were having a Labor Day sale. I generally need supervision in bookstores, but I only purchased what was on the syllabus and walked away very proud of myself. There are a few more I couldn’t find that I’ll order from Amazon, but the majority can be borrowed from the local libraries. I even picked up an `85 Sim Shalom for 8.95. Love it. And now I’m actually able to pray the bedtime Shema without like, making it up as I go along. Amazing.