It’s ten of 10. Shabbat services begin in 10 minutes but I’m still in my husband’s bathrobe. I’m not going.
Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s fatigue. Maybe I’m acting like a petulant 5-year-old. But I’m not going.
My search for a Jewish home in Seattle has proven to be a lot of work. And the response, or lack thereof, for today’s chosen congregation, has me feeling a little demoralized and a little beaten down. I feel like I’m dating. I suppose I sort of am.
I decided to “try out” services at a Jewish “co-op” in my neighborhood. The group meets just once a month for Saturday morning minyan. Their address is not listed on the website. Instead, I was “invited” to send an email requesting their location.
I did that earlier this week. I did not receive a response.
I’m pretty sure I know where the group rents space, because I’ve seen their sandwich board inside of the church up the hill. But the lack of response left me feeling less than welcomed.
I spoke to my cousin about the situation this morning. (He attends a different congregation that I’ve been flirting with — attending Torah study, occasional services and meeting with one of the rabbis.) He said the co-op’s approach — including the lack of address — is intentional. You aren’t supposed to just “show up.” You are supposed to be “invited,” as it were.
And I wasn’t invited.
For years, the organized Jewish community has cried out, “We are losing Jews. No one is affiliating — joining up.” And here I am — trying to show up. “Hineni — I am here.”
It felt like I was calling into a well.
I made that same call — here I am — a number of years ago when I was living in Chicago. And it was met by the heart of a kind teacher.
We studied together for my conversion to Judaism. (I am an adoptee. Raised a Jew, but not born one.) His gentle prodding encouraged me to join Torah study and worship services. To be a part of. He told me I couldn’t be a Jew alone. He was right.
But this morning, I am a Jew alone — waxing nostaligic about my “ex” congregation. Tomorrow I will not be. I have a “date” with a women’s Torah study group.
Still dating. Desperate to go steady.
If my years of dating taught me anything, I’ll find my beloved when I stop looking. And then wonder why I couldn’t just enjoy dating.