Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Appreciating Judaism

It is amazing the way the mind works. We are not even out of the month of July yet and I am already thinking about the upcoming Jewish Holidays in the fall. I know I once heard a sermon where a rabbi broke the summer down on the Jewish calendar explaining there are two parts to summer; from Shavout to Tisha B’Av and from Tisha B’Av to Rosh Hashanah. I actually understand that and my mind works the same way. Now that Tisha B’Av is over, it is time to be thinking about the High Holidays.

Rosh Hashanah, of course, means the start of the busy season, the start of the school year. I will start teaching my adjunct classes at the college, I will start teaching in the computer lab at the religious school and as for my day job, that is usually hectic around September time as well.

One year I am going to learn how to relax. I will not start thinking about the Holidays until, at least, the beginning of Elul. I will not gear up for everything in July. I guess, though, in one sense, that is good. As a Jew, there should always be a life cycle event, a happening, that to which I am looking forward. These events have always kept us grounded in our faith, have always helped us set our calendar and know where we are at. Maybe next year, I will not start thinking about the Holidays until the start of Elul.

In thinking about the calendar, I like the fact that we have all different kinds of events. We have those which enable us to celebrate and be joyous. We have those that require us to be solemn. Many of the events remind us of things in the past. Other happening remind us to look towards the future.

It is a wonderful religion that has so much to offer and that is why I find it frustrating when I hear people look to get away from it, or ignore all of it wonders. I remember a number of years ago I was tutoring a child for bar mitzvah. After the event, his mother made a comment about never having to sit in a synagogue again.

One of her friends responded, “Except for when your son gets married”.

“If he marries a Jew,” she responded, “Otherwise I’ll sit in a church,” she added nonchalantly.

It is that type of attitude that just infuriates me. I wish she was able to understand and appreciate her religion, to get as much out of it as I do. Unfortunately that did not happen but maybe that is why I enjoy working in the computer lab so much, to show others the love I have of my religion.

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