On Friday, January 13th, I decided at the last minute to light the Sabbath candles for the first time in about a year. I also bought a loaf of challah at the bakery, and this time I asked David to leave it unsliced. “Last one,” he said as he slipped it into a plastic bag. It was long after sunset by the time I got it home, along with the box of utility candles from the outlet store. But I knew from experience that it would work, and it did. The atmosphere in the room changed and I felt peace for a few minutes. I have always been surprised at the power of this small ritual, and the immediate sense of Presence it always brings.
Then on Saturday morning I received a notice from Congregation Emanu El in my email and made another last-minute decision. The construction of the new temple in
is proceeding very rapidly, and on Sunday we were all invited to sign the
massive ceiling beam destined to support the roof of the sanctuary and the
social hall. It reminded me of the
construction of another Reform temple, where it really all began for me 50
years ago. The confirmation class of
1961 was the last one to be confirmed in a rented hall. After that the congregation moved into the
new building in time for the High Holiday services and the beginning of
religious school in September. Redlands
What does being Jewish mean to you personally?