Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Pluralistic Shabbat

Shabbat March 13th and 14th

Quote of the day :

As Jews we don’t count people in the same way, because people shouldn’t be thought of as a number. We need to know their story, see their soul, see the humanity…It’s quality over quanity.—Rabbi Uri, Beth Israel

After a hard work day, we traveled to Metairie to spend Shabbat with the Jewish community. On Friday night, the group had dinner and special program with the Gates of Prayer youth group. Everyone had the choice to daven with either Beth Israel(orthodox shul) or Gates of Prayer(reform shul) on Friday night and Shabbat morning.

Our host family was Rabbi and Mrs. David Posternock, who came to NOLA a little under a year ago. Although Rabbi David wasn’t in NOLA during Hurricane Katrina, he still felt the impact of the disaster on the community. He told us that there was ten feet of water in the shul and that all seven Torahs and 3,000 books had to be buried because they were destroyed. Pre-Katrina, Beth Israel was the largest Orthodox shul in the south, but now they find themselves in an extra room in the reform congregation, Gates of Prayer. The shul features five new Torahs donated from shuls across the country and has limited books for davening and studying.

Despite all of the hardships that the shul has been through, the people create the warmest community that either of us have ever been in. For Seudah Shlishit, we were all welcomed to the house of the head Rabbi, Rabbi Uri. He brought emotion unseen in the Boston community. He truly was overjoyed that Shabbat had come and that we were there to spend it with him. Before saying Birkat Hamazon(Blessings after Meal), we all went around the table to share an emotion or feeling about the day. Not only did our group feel comfortable sharing with Rabbi Uri and the community, but we felt that they truly cared and were listening to what we had to say. We ended the evening with a spiritual havdalah filled with ruach and music. Rabbi Uri led on his guitar, Rabbi David was backing him up on the drums, and everyone else had different instruments. Although Shabbos ended at 8:07, the havdalah service ended at 8:35 because nobody wanted to to stop singing. Although we met only hours ago, the goodbye was hard and we felt a connection to the community. On the way home we stopped at Café Demonde to get Beignets for the whole group. We completed the evening with a group session where people shared their reflections of Friday’s work and our Shabbat experience.

-Danny and Daniel

No comments:

Post a Comment