—January 23, 2016
The lights in the Social Hall are dimmed, and I am able to see a very pale pink sky out of the large windows. The day is coming to an end. On one of the tables, I see a lovely blue and white braided candle, and I hear the Rabbi softly chanting a lovely melody. I am about to experience my 4th Havdalah Service, signifying the end of Shabbot and the beginning of a new week. A spice box is passed around, and we are all encouraged to sniff the interesting scents emanating from it.
This concludes the 4th in a series of 9 classes, and I am left with feelings of both contentment and excitement.
Never having had any formal religious education, I am finding the Chai Mitzvah Classes stimulating and fulfilling. Being a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, the class in January, focusing on Interpersonal Relationships, was of particular interest to me. Emphasis was placed on our relationship with our children and our relationship with our friends. The booklet we used provided us with Biblical Understandings, Rabbinic understandings, and Later Understandings of these important relationships. Later Understandings emphasized the importance of being a proper role model, not only for our own offspring but for younger people in general.
In discussing friends, we read about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi, the most positive biblical portrayal of women’s relationships. I am reminded of my good fortune in having friends who accept me unconditionally for who I am. I feel that everyone in the class had similar feelings about themselves and their own friends, and, I feel, there was an unspoken appreciation for these friendships by everyone in the room.
A big thank you to Rabbi Pat for providing this opportunity for us. I eagerly look forward to our classes in the near future.