I've been involved in my temple since I was about three years old so I am no newbie to the world of Reform Judaism. I went to Sunday School for many years until I became an aide in a Sunday School classroom and then to the cantor (I helped him lead services). If you want to read more about how much my synagogue means to me, you should read this blogpost. The URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) sponsored my camp where I grew from an awkward, quiet fourth grader into a confident counselor. The URJ brought me my youth group (NFTY-CAR) which helped me make it through my high school years. It gave me the resources to help a friend create a three-day camp and year long partnership program with a school in Waukegan, IL (more on that here). My community has given me so much, and that's the reason that I want to give back to them (More on that in a second).
This weekend is the URJ Biennial which I am not at because of travel craziness and the next biennial being in the city I live in, but I have been watching the lifestream every second that I have not been in classes the last few days. Last night, the incredible Alan Goodis opened with his song Esah Einai, a song that I listened to thousands of times as I fought my way through my freshman year of High school. I couldn't help but tear up as I attempted to write an essay at the same time. This morning, the URJ passed a resolution to make our communities more trans-inclusive, and I was once again on the verge of tears(geez, I'm emotional). I could't be prouder to be a part of this community.
Two days ago, the board of the Reform Organization here on campus attempted to take a yearbook photo. I say attempted because we are perhaps the most dysfunctional family possible. But we are family. I was welcomed into services on the first week of school, and I immediately relaxed after a crazy week of new experiences. Reform Judaism feels like coming home.
So many amazing clergy, educators and friends have contributed to my life, and there is too many to list here. Perhaps I'll write a longer blogpost about just them at some point. It is because of all these amazing people who made Reform Judaism my home that I am on the path to becoming a Rabbi.
In conclusion, there are not enough words that I can write to describe how blessed I am to be a part of the Reform Jewish community. Or at least not words that I can write without crying in the middle of the dining hall. All I can do is thank God and hope that this family will welcome me and allow me to welcome them for now and forever more.