I was born Jewish, but it is not how I generally identify myself. I prefer faithful and spritual; exploring everything that fills up my soul. Of course Judaism fits into this spectrum of faith.
This week was the second of the high holidays in Judaism, Yom Kippur. After a trying month for a variety of reasons, I decided to spontaneuously attend services on Tuesday night and fast for as long as I was comfortable. In college, I met a young daughter of a Chabad rabbi as part of my world religions class at the University of San Francisco. Yes, I attended a Catholic university, which I loved especially for the Jesuit focus.
In our world religions class, we were asked to visit a religious service of a religion that interested us. Since I grew up in a Conservative Jewish household near an Orthodox synagogue, the Orthodox culture fascinated me. Chabad is a facet of Orthodox Judaism. I attended the service not knowing what to expect and was warmly welcomed by Yummy and Chaya to join their family for the whole night of Shabbat.
We attended services down the street and then enjoyed a lively Shabbat dinner around the table in their home. For my remaining time at USF, I would attend services with Yummy when I felt the need for a little soul filling. We kept in touch even after she married and now is the mother of 5 beautiful children. When we still lived in the Bay Area, I attended some Jewish Learning Institute courses taught by her husband. Their warm approach to Judaism and teaching of the Torah and Jewish customs has always felt like a safe place for me to explore that aspect of my spiritual practice, which is why I chose to look-up the Chabad schedule here in Phoenix for services this week.
Much of high holidays has become a business in my mind. If you are not a member of a synagogue, you often need to buy tickets and most often well in advance of services. This could be a problem if like me you decide to attend services at about 3pm on the day of services.
Thankfully when I looked up the Chabad Phoenix website, they had a welcoming message that all were welcome at no cost. They preferred an RSVP, but event that was not necessary.
Attending services, I was warmly greeted. Mostly I read the English side this time as there was not much transliteration and besides Hebrew is not one of the languages that I speak fluently. While I have attended many Yom Kippur services over the years, I learned so much more on Tuesday night with the Chabad rabbi filling in stories and knowledge about the rituals.
Learning more and more this year to trust my gut and Tuesday my gut said head to services. It was magical and worthy. Since I decided last minute to attend, I could not rearrange my previously scheduled meetings on Wednesday. I decided I would see how long fasting felt ok for me. Also, a friend invited me to a lecture at the Phoenix Art Museum, so it was pretty clear to me that I would not be able to break the fast with the synagogue.
At about 2:30, a friend texted me inquiring if I would be up for meeting at Bar North for a salad. Immediately, I knew it was meant to be. What better way to break the fast than with a friend. Our time together over the deliciousness that is Bar North as well as being able to enjoy the patio was yet another way to fill up my soul.
Today experiencing gratitude for being able to trust my gut to fill up my soul.