(NOTE: I didn’t learn anything useful from turning on moderation, so I’ve turned it back off.)
If you’ve been following along, you know that I sang for a number of years in the choir at the local Reform synagogue. Just recently I had the chance to join them for a special project, recording a Friday night Shabbat service prayed from the Armed Services siddur (prayerbook) that will ultimately become a CD to be distributed to Jewish military personnel on active duty overseas. I really wanted to participate in this, as a little something that I could do to support the troops that might actually be of some benefit to somebody.
After so long in this choir, I definitely consider it (and by extension the synagogue as a whole) to be a spiritual second home; but after over half a year away, I could feel that something had changed. It was a very interesting experience, to be sitting among my friends talking about kids and vacations and all the stuff that makes up most of our lives, as if I had never left – very much an inside-group-person, as the Japanese name it – while at the same time feeling slightly disconnected from the actual worship service. Part of this was no doubt due to the fact that we were using an unfamiliar prayerbook, but that night even during the parts that were substantially similar to what I’m used to, I felt in many ways more like an observer than a participant.
In the time that I’ve been away from the choir, and mostly away from shul in general, I have become much more focused in my pagan pathwork – between starting this blog, becoming heavily involved in eco-justice work at my UU church, and then entering the path of Aikido (which for me is very much a part of the work), I’ve been quite busy on this somewhat-neglected aspect of my journey – and I’m sure that’s also a factor. While it’s true that there are fairly basic and obvious differences (at least on the surface) between my theology and that of Judaism, this congregation has been an active part of my spiritual landscape for a decade, and that leaves a mark; I will be sad if this signals an impending moving away.