Friday night, I sat around a beautifully prepared Shabbos table with five other women. My dear friend Elizabeth had invited us all, and then spent massive amounts of time making sure everything was perfect. And it was. The food was fantastic – I’m still drooling over the hummus and mushrooms she served – and the company was… well… it’s almost hard for me to put into words how I felt, and still feel, about the women around that table.
As anyone who has read my blog these past eight years knows, I’ve been a seeker for the majority of my adult life. I bounced from one Christian denomination to another, hoping to shoe horn myself into something that fit. I pretended, I tried… heck, I even became someone I don’t recognize for various parts of that journey. And through it all, I never forged any type of relationship that was lasting. In hindsight, it’s hard to cultivate something true when you’re living a lie, but I didn’t know that then, because I couldn’t even admit I was lying to myself.
Friday’s Shabbat was Shabbat Nachamu – or the Shabbat of comfort, which follows the Jewish day of mourning, Tisha B’av, where Jews mourn the destruction of the two temples. So Friday night, sitting around a table with five other Jewish women who have had their own journeys and trials, left me feeling nothing short of… comforted. I wasn’t trying to fit in, I wasn’t seeking, I wasn’t hoping with everything in me that this was it. I was simply being. Content and happy.
Only two of the six women were born Jewish, and the other four, myself included, were products of ether adult or childhood conversions. But none of that mattered. Surrounded by women who were so different from me, yet tied to me by the common thread of Judaism, something that I love and cherish with everything in me, was powerful. And these were smart, talented women. I have yet to meet a Jewish wallflower, and there were certainly none around Elizabeth’s gorgeous Shabbos table.
My Jewish journey has led me to the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) and my temple’s Sisterhood group, where I now sit on the board. It has recently led me to join the Tacoma chapter of Hadassah. My goal is to surround myself with the whip-smart, proudly Jewish women I have met at every turn. Friday night was confirmation to me that I’ve made the right choices, and I’m on the right road. Adonai has placed amazing women in my path, and my soul is grateful for it. I’ve actually never been so excited to be me before – just as I am.