I walk out of my yoga studio, click open the back of my SUV, throw in my Target-purchased yoga mat, climb in, and check my iPhone messages. I scan my Google calendar for any upcoming Starbucks meetings or needed Costco trips.
It used to be my embarrassing secret, like a schoolgirl who didn’t actually do her homework. Everyone would be talking about their turkeys, and guest lists, and leftovers, and I’m over here shopping for Shabbos dinner. After a number of years my husband would go buy some smoked turkey and have some on Thursday just so he could tell people he had his Thanksgiving turkey.
Exactly two years ago, at the close of 2014, I wrote a post about that year. It was a gut-wrenching year full of bad news and sad moods. Since that time, I find myself getting especially reflective this time of year, looking back on the year and deciding what I want to say about it.
In my neighborhood, there used to be four large Orthodox congregations: Heights Jewish Center, Young Israel, Green Rd. Synagogue, and Chabad. There was also an ad hoc congregation that had begun in a home, called “Zichron Chaim.” It was commonly referred to as “the shteeble,” which is a Yiddish word for “little house” and refers to a small, organic, grass roots congregation, loosely formed and typically without a rabbi, that meets in a home and then sometimes, if it grows, migrates to a more spacious space.
Elyse Goldstein, in her recent piece, “Why I’m Not Fasting on Tisha B’Av,” makes a number of thoughtful points regarding the upcoming national day of Jewish mourning. I commend her for her principled and intentional living and would like to respond with my own take on some of her themes. She says: