Last Shabbat I attended serves at a shul in Brooklyn. It’s not terribly convenient but a lot easier than schlepping to the UES for service. I’d noticed an e-mail from the group, Brooklyn Jews, inviting members of its list serve to attend Shabbat services at Congregation Beth Elohim to listen to a young Jewish Composer, Noah Aronson. A few weeks prior when I started Physical Therapy I walked into this particular synagogue and the Director was kind enough to welcome me into her office, answer my questions, and extend an invitation to High Holy Day services. I attended services else where but the synagogue became the next place to attend Shabbat services on my list.
Mirs got an e-mail from a friend inviting her to the same service and we had a Jewish Double Date. The services were held in the Chapel, a small space with old wooden pews. The congregants were actively participating in the intimate Shabbat service and the music that Noah played was incredibly moving. It felt young, fresh, while remaining true to the melodies that I’d familiarized myself with over the past few months. I’m not sure if it was because of the musical guest or normal Friday night Shabbat practice at this particular synagogue but they did not read from the Torah. Other than that, the service carried on and I felt comfortable. I easily found my place in the Siddur, I knew the melodies and words to prayers. I felt like a Jew.
After service Brooklyn Jews hosted a dinner that we did not attend. Still, at Kaddish several people introduced themselves to me and the group of people we were with. Unexpectedly Mirs had a friend from school in attendance. She was surprised to find not only another lesbian in her program but a Jewish one at that! I just felt happy that I was able to keep up with the order of service and even helped her out when she lost her place.
In terms of ethnic diversity, I was the only brown person in the shul but it didn’t feel like everyone was staring at me. The congregation was a mix of older couples, small families, singles, and a few LGBT folks. Overall, I may have to do a little switching back and forth between this synagogue and the next on my list on the UWS.
In the meantime, check out Noah’s music on his website. http://www.noaharonson.com/
If you’re a Brooklynite check out Brooklyn Jews on the web. http://www.brooklynjews.com/