Last night, I participated in a shabbat morning service that took place in the library at a Jewish Day School. I was on my school's Hillel retreat. The service combined three different traditions even though it was advertised as a Liberal service. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pluralistic services. They allow us to learn more about each other. However, I couldn't help feel a pang of missing home.
My rabbi liked to say that I lived at our temple. This is not entirely untrue. From the age of 5 through my high school graduation weekend, I was consistently involved at Beth Emet. For a lot of this time, it was the most stable thing in my life. I went through different friend groups and grew up, but I always knew that I could come home to Beth Emet. When I think of each room in that building, thousands of wonderful memories flood my mind. In the synagogue, we had Purim shpiels and song sessions. In the basement, we played Hide and Go Seek and made menorahs. In the kitchen, we made chili all night and decorated cookies. Even the hallways illicit joyful memories of playing flashlight tag during Lock Ins. Our confirmation trip, all be it filled with delayed flights and miserable weather, was one of the most influential weekends of my life.
The people are what made my experience so special. The clergy helped me through everything. I have seen an Associate Rabbi become a Senior Rabbi; I have seen 5 Youth Programs Directors; I have learned from 3 Cantors. My group of friends are a lot more like family. We have thousands of inside jokes, some of which I don't even remember the origins of. We have laughed together, cried together and prayed together. I couldn't miss them more. While I may not be at Beth Emet this high holiday season, a piece of my heart will be hiding on the couches outside the elevator upstairs or collecting food at Yom Kippur, just so they won't forget me.
Shana Tov to all of you!