Saturday, July 30, 2011
AND A GOOD SHABBOS WAS HAD BY ALL
Yesterday, as Jason and I were returning to his building we encountered a pleasant man with a nice smile waiting for the elevator. The man began to play with Victor in English and as he had a kippa on, I asked him where he prayed. He told me that he prayed in The Great Synagogue, (Dohany Street Synagogue) and that Shabbos evening services were at 6 PM and morning services where at 9:30AM. After I thanked him and went up with Jason and boychik, time got away from me when I was putting the babies to sleep and I didnt leave for home until about 7:30 in the evening.
Of course it was no coincidence that I ran into my new chavair coming back home. He wished me a good Shabbos and I told him I was sorry I missed Kabalat Shabbat. As he was so nice and since he's Jason's down stairs's neighbor, who I am sure to run into again, I decided to show my face at The Great Synagogue for Shabbos Morning just to be sociable.
Once again, as I approached the synagogue, a guard named Deja Vu told me that it was closed. I told him I wanted to pray and he explained that since he didnt know me ( and his eyes said "and you dont look Jewish") I would have to go through a security check, which I was happy to do. And I was certainly happy to comply with every request and any security precaution anyone asked of me. Im from the better safe than sorry crowd and now that I understood that they weed out the usual suspects by trying to discourage them from entering I felt a whole lot better about the previous weeks fiasco as well. I think the fundamental difference between the 2 experiences is that the guard this week spoke some English!! A helpful tool for questioning English speaking suspects. But no matter. The sun was out and I happily entered what may be one of the most stunningly beautiful synagogues Ive ever had the pleasure of being in. Aside from the fact that everyone was seated on the same level, ground level, and I had no stairs to climb, I was simply overwhelmed at the stunning beauty of the place. (More to follow on the subject at a later date)And again, by COINCIDENCE (HA) on the bima, in the rabbis seat sat my friend from the elevator, Jason's downstairs neighbor, who I later found out is Rabbi Yisrael Froelich, Chief Rabbi of The Great Dohany Street Synagogue, Budapest. After I took my seat the rabbi, my newest chavair, caught my eye and mouthed "Welcome" or in Hebrew Brachim Habayim literally may your coming be blessed and I felt like this one really was.
As I turned around in my seat about 50 lovely,young women entered and filled in several of the rows of seats behind me. When they asked me for the page number I asked if they were American and they told me they were from Russia. My heart was so filled with joy to be able to share this time with them and be able to pray together to Hashem in peace and unity on this sunny Shabbos morning. There was also the woman and her husband from Englewood NJ. She had grown up in Budapest and rmembered when the synagogue had been used as stables for the third reich .May their name be blotted from history.
In so many ways and for so many reasons I was so happy to be there with such a clear awareness of being a tiny piece of a larger eternal, mysterious and sacred entity, The Jewish People
I know I will want to do this again and I hope that I can.