Friday, July 27, 2012

Shul Hopping

I knew when I decided to retire from Kehilat Shalom that I would also decide to stay away from the community for at least a year. I had heard stories and had some experience with retired rabbis who remained in their communities... it was difficult sometimes for the new rabbi... to be THE rabbi. So I'm in process of looking for shul ... where I want to daven for this year.
I know no synagogue is going to be perfect. My ideal, when I reflect on it, would be a Camp Ramah service. I like lots of communal singing, a service that moves at a good pace, and some teaching in the service. (I also do not like a three hour service) There was always an intimacy and warmth (even on weekdays when everyone was half asleep) that was part of a palpable sense of caring and sacred community.
So I've been to three different congregations this month and will try another tomorrow morning. I really would prefer to walk to shul on Shabbat, but I'm sure sometime in the future I'll again be able to enjoy the sacred spirituality of shabbas walking.
I'll report more on my quest for a place daven and my work situation when things fall into place.
Shabbat Shalom.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

First week after Kehilat Shalom... QM2

Spent last week on the Queen Mary 2 up to Halifax. My sister Karen (and her son Daniel) and my family took my Dad with an aide up to Canada for 5 days on the QM2. We left last Sunday and came back Friday. The ship is impressive: 151,000 tons, 2600 passengers, 1200 crew. Beautiful ship.
We were all kind of disappointed with the food... good but never great, which we've experienced on other cruises. OTOH, the spa was first rate (although expensive). I had an amazing massage and then met with the ship chiropractor who did trigger point acupuncture. My shoulders have actually relaxed for the first time since my surgery 5 years ago.
I guess the highlight was just being able to "take" my dad (although he actually paid for all of us). My parents used to cruise 1-3 times a year after he retired 27 years ago, until his Parkinson's made it too much. We were all quietly sentimental thinking about how much she would have enjoyed. My Dad even used one of her pocketbooks to carry stuff. With the aide, my sister, myself, Diane, and two grandsons... it was great to get him out of his Nursing Home. He was able to wheelchair around in Halifax and Boston. He was able to use his walker on the ship. He went to shows and activities. It was a special time for all of us.
Spent Shabbat in Yonkers after dropping my Dad at his Nursing Home in Northern Westchester. Did dinner at Epstein's Kosher Deli Friday before Shabbat... finally had great food. Nothing like NY deli! Davened at Northeast Synagogue in Yonkers. Nice people. Even received an aliyah. Kind of sad that like so many Conservative Synagogues... location, location, location... the demographics are working against the shul having a future.
Stopped after Shabbat near Philly in Mt. Laurel, NJ. Davened this morning at Beth Shalom in Cherry Hill. It brings back memories of Rabbi Al Lewis (z"l) who was one of my homiletics teachers 35 years ago at JTS. Beautiful shul, nice minyan for a Sunday morning.
I'm ready for a quiet week of networking and job search. Next week I'll have a conversation with Pastoral Care at Adventist Health Care and see if they have something for me as my next career.