Those people who know me know that I am the farthest from religious there ever was. I am the Jew that has to google every holiday every year. I never liked going to Temple. I went to Hebrew School for one year and dropped out because my parents couldn’t financially send my brother and I together.
Growing up, I actually loved going to church! My best friend when I was 15 years old, Kelly and I, worked at Dunkin’ Donuts together. Kelly came from a religious family and was not allowed to hang out on Sundays unless she went to church. So one Sunday I went with her and I was blown away. The Catholic church was so beautiful with the glass etched colorful windows and these high ceilings. I was amazed by the sermon and wow’ed by the music. My favorite part was at the end when people turned to one another and shook hands and said “May peace be with you.”
My problem with all of the religions was that there were all these rules. The rules seemed to be extreme.
Right around my 25th birthday, I discovered Kabbalah. I had the honor and privilege to study that for many years and it helped to change my entire being into a better person. Although Kabbalah is the highest form of Judaism, the majority of the studies had nothing to do with Judaism. Kabbalah does use Friday night to Saturday night as a time to connect to the light, as well as the High Holy Holidays, but I never did any of those. I just learned and used the principles of becoming a better person.
This past Saturday I had the honor to participate in my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. It was the first time in a long time that I stepped foot into a temple. The Rabbi and Cantor were real life down to earth hippie-like people. The Cantor opened up services with a joke about the difference between the Rabbi and him was that the Rabbi wore a dress. (She was a female!)
From studying Kabbalah, I know that there is a powerful energy in looking at the Torah Hebrew scriptures. Even if you didn’t know how to read Hebrew, just scanning the letters connects you this Universal energy. So I spent my time during my nephews beautiful prayers scanning the letters. The English translation from the Rabbi were beautiful. My nephew sounded amazing and then the Torah came around and I touched it and took it in and WOW the energy was so electric. My hand buzzed for the rest of the service. I felt such a connection.
Both my dad and my grandfather are deceased and their presence was surely missed. My brother gave the most beautiful speech honoring them. It brought the entire congregation to tears, even the kids sitting behind me.
Both the Rabbi and the Cantor spoke about their Russian background and how they were connected to the accents of my family. They both teared up remembering and reminiscing on what is was like to be a Jew in communist Russia. These stories I have heard growing up, but never really took in until this moment. My parents brought me to this country because of religious freedom. Because of what they went through growing up they didn’t push religion on me and I am grateful for that because I was able to absorb everything around me before deciding on what I wanted to do.
With Rosh Hashanah approaching this week, if you are not religious and looking for a connection, this week is a great week to make a fresh start. Rosh Hashanah is considered to be the Jewish New Year. According to Kabbalah when we gather together, our connections and meditations are far more powerful. If you do not meditate scanning the hebrew letters of the Zohar (the interpretations of scriptures of the Torah used for Kabbalah) is an excellent way to start your meditation practice. And if you have never been, the Kabbalah Center in NYC is open and inviting to all color, creed, race, religion. It is a beautiful peaceful place where you can grow.
I am grateful for connection.
I am grateful for spirituality.
I am grateful for love
I am grateful for guidance.
I am grateful for stregnth.
I am grateful for willpower.
I am grateful for Guides.
I am grateful for belief.
I am grateful for hope.
I am grateful for peace.
I am grateful for light.
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