It's wonderful to make unexpected connections in the world, especially in a city and without using any kind of new technology.
Yesterday, instead of going to Beth Sholom for Shabbat morning services, I went to Circle Minyan. Circle Minyan is a now quarterly, once monthly, small gathering of people to chant, pray, share, discuss and, of course, eat as part of our Shabbat practice. It was start ed by Ami Goodman and Abby Caplin when they were members of Beth Sholom, and is continuing through the efforts of Kenesset HaLev and Jeff Haas.
One advantage of Circle Minyan for me is that I can walk there--it takes place in the Synergy School on Valencia Street, about a 20 minute walk for my house. The sun was out, the air was crisp, my shoes were comfortable. All in all, a great way to start Shabbat morning. I strolled down 29th Street. As I crossed San Jose Ave, there, about a block away, was Sam, a wonderfully cheerful Russian man I know from Beth Sholom. He's part of a group of Russian men who attend Mincha at Beth Sholom almost every day. A short, stout man with a firm handshake, we have come to appreciate each other's presence. I like his enthusiatic greetings, he responds to my ruach, despite the color of my hair :) We were surprised to see each other out of our normal element. He was waiting for the start of services at Chabad. As always, he greeted me warmly, introduced me to his friend Abraham, and I went on my way with a "Shabbat Shalom!"
Encounters like this make me realize how much I love all the places I go in my Jewish community. In one morning, I got to touch very different parts of that world. It reinforces the wonderful sense of community I feel, and gives me another experience to share with others when I'm trying to explain the importance of finding community.
It is a way we maintain our humanity in a sometimes inhuman world.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Here I am at the threshold of something new. I'm not sure where it will lead, but I'm going to give it a try. Do I have thoughts worth posting for the world to see? I don't know. But as I step into this new world, I know that, like life, it's the journey that's important, not the end result.