After ten years of teaching adult Old Testament classes at the Methodist Church, my middle-aged brother in law began to think more and more about Judaism. At the same time, my eighty-nine year old mother was becoming good friends with a Rabbi at her retirement home. She introduced the two.
What followed was quite stunning. Hours and hours of conversation over ancient texts, issues of great and small consequence, ethics, morals, rules and questions! Rabbi encouraged BIL to learn more. Sadly retirement Rabbi died. BIL continued his study and joined a Reformed Temple. He said that he had always felt that he was Jewish by heritage. He decided to convert.
Last week my brother in law stepped to the Bema and read from the Torah. At 61 he was the Bar Mitzvah boy!! It was an amazingly beautiful service - and his friends and family from all over the world showed up to celebrate with him. He provided an inspiring and thoughtful D'var Torah (sermon) - that had people saying..."We thought you would become president of the congregation...but maybe you might become a Rabbi!"
The party that followed was a mix of wonderful people, joyous music, fabulous food and tremendous joy. The Methodist friends beamed with pride: "We trained him!" The marathoners(he has run a marathon on every continent) said the same! Everyone there gathered to celebrate and honor a man who chose his own path. I have never seen him so happy. Mazel Tov!
I learned to swim in a cold Adirondack lake at 8:30 every morning of my childhood summers. When you live in a village on a lake you make sure your kids know how to swim. My parents signed us up every summer for the early morning community lessons that produced everything from splashers to life guards to olympians and professional syncronized swimmers. An old photograph shows me and my sibs in soaked suits, guts pulled in from the brutal lakewater cold shivering under a shared towel. After the lessons we went home, warmed up, ate a meal and returned for the warmer afternoon to play on the beach and swim. It was a big deal when you were certified to go beyond the ropes to the dock. Sadly there was at least one drowning every summer. Lessons or not.
A few years ago I jumped off a boat into a cold Idaho lake - and my life quickly passed before my eyes..I am definitely too old to be that cold. Now I love the gently heated old lady pool.
May 8, 2012 4:44 PM