I want to share two experiences with you that I had over the last few days. Both took my breath away and reminded me that there is always something new to learn and experience. The first took place when I went to the Reform Synagogue on Saturday. I have one foot in Reform and another foot in Conservative. The Reform Synagogue I belong to is unique in many ways. In its 90 year history it was the only Synagogue that for years did not have one member living in its zip code. It is located in an area that was considered dangerous. But a rebirth in the downtown and midtown area of Miami is underway and things are changing! Temple Israel has opened its arms to the incredibly diverse population that spills over from South Beach. There are no judgements. I go to services on Saturday in jeans unless I know there is a Bar or Bar Mitzvah. And that leads me to this past weekend. I watched a young man embrace his Judaism. He began his speech with “I am black, white and Jewish.” The parents are divorced and the father lives in Hawaii. The grandparents are longtime members and devoted to this young man. Family members stood to speak and before long I found myself crying. What moved me as well is that over half the guests where black. When the cantor began singing the hallelujah chant the energy in the room turned electric and people were joyous and clapping. The spirit of celebration and Sabbath made my heart sing. We are one.
Yesterday I was invited to a bris an hour and a half drive from where I live. The new mother is in her middle 40′s. Unable to have a baby she and her husband found a surrogate. The woman who carried the egg and sperm of the parents was at the bris with her husband and 9 year old daughter. During the service, as the infant was passed between grandparents and parents the surrogate also held the child she had carried. This little boy was brought into the arms of Judaism because a young woman wanted to give the gift of life to a family that could not do it for themselves. The surrogate and the new mother have become best friends.
Life can still amaze. We must always remember that. In the span of just a few days I saw with my own eyes, “from generation to generation. la dor le dor.