Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Rabbis Walk Into a Starbucks...

I was at our local Starbucks this morning, awaiting a meeting that never showed. In walked the very lovely Rabbi Sharon Mars, a extraordinarily sweet woman with what I imagine to be an incredibly tough job. Among other things, she ministers to the area's Jewish prisoners. I introduced myself because she had given a lovely sermon a few weeks ago at temple and also, I was hunting her down to speak at the Sisterhood's upcoming Women's Seder . Funny, that, since I managed to track down Rabbi Abrahamson for the same reason on Sunday by lurking in the temple lobby at the right time (shhhh. Be vewy qwuiet. I'm hunting wabbis...).

We were having a cordial conversation when the apparent reason for her Starbucks rendezvous arrived - Rabbi Misha Zinkow. Misha is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel. An eloquent writer, academic and, as I am slowly learning, in possession of a sharp and dry sense of humor (not unlike a nice red wine, I suppose, his humor). He joined us briefly.

Had you told me even 5 years ago I would be standing in a Starbucks in the middle of Bexley chatting it up easily with two rabbis, I not only would have laughed you out of your own socks, I would have chided you ceaselessly for the mere suggestion. Lesson learned. Never say never.

This encounter occurred the day after my job interview at Jewish Family Services for the volunteer coordinator position (sounds a lot like community organizer, doesn't it? I like to think so. I suppose Rudy Giuliani will be publicly mocking me next.) I would REALLY like to get this job. Working with volunteers is my passion and I find the Jewish Community endlessly fascinating, if not amusing in its own little way - the way any ethnic community can be.

Example: when I was growing up and before we moved to Marietta, we belonged to a predominantly Italian catholic church. Kids in my class had last names like Frattioli, Maltempi, Sanzone and D'Andrea. Like any close-knit, ethic community, though, there was bickering on how things should be done (I learned this later). Italians, in case you hadn't noticed, have lots of opinions and prefer to share them at a volume that competes with the opera playing in the background. Since I grew up in the stereotype, I don't mind exploiting it.

Back to the Jewish community... Not a lot of people can agree on what is kosher enough, or observant enough. Orthodox Jews don't recognize Reform Jews as Jews at all. What I am saying is that the community, as a whole, has its quirks and I think it would be challenge and a hoot to work with that every day.

So, with my impending conversion, Sisterhood co-presidency beginning in May, and now a possible job at Jewish Family Services, have I achieved my own trifecta? I dunno, but I shake my head and chuckle when I think about where I have come from, where I am now and where I am headed. By the time Jack graduates high school and heads to Brandeis, will I be a full-fledged, wig-wearing, kosher-keeping Chasidim? I don't see it. But never say never.

5 comments:

Jenny Penny said...

You have to explain the wig-wearing comment to me. Of this, I am completely ignorant! Your "hunting wabbis" line should be copyrighted. That was too funny.

smarmygal said...

Utra-orthodox Jewish women wear wigs - or sheytls in yiddish - once they are married. I believe this is because the hair is a symbol of beauty and only their husband should be gazing upon their true beauty. Other women choose scarves or hats. I am a lot more OK with this. I have NEVER understood why my ultra-religious niece has a sheytl that looks exactly like her real hair. Aren't you negating the entire point? It seems not to be following the intent of the "law." But, as a shiksa, I guess I am missing something in the translation...

Jenny Penny said...

That's so interesting! And very curious about your niece with the shetyl. To tell you the truth, I wish I had a religious excuse to wear a wig. I've always wanted to wear wigs. The possibilities are endless!

smarmygal said...

I, personally, would go all Lil' Kim with it. You know, neon pink, red nd silver tinsel. I would ROCK the temple!

Jessica Sylvester said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't know the deal with the wigs. I'm reading The Gift of Asher Lev (engrossing!), and am finding a ton of references to other things about which I haven't the faintest clue - the mikvah (I've deduced something to do with water immersion, maybe a ritual bath?), the meaning of the tallis and tefillin, and on and on. I think I have a date with Google...