Yom Kippur

Posted by – September 28, 2009

I just had the most fantastic day today! I decided to go to Yom Kippur services at Bet Alef synagogue. I chose it because it seemed like more of a modern, spiritual synagogue, and because their services started at 10:30 am instead of 9:30 am. Good decision, because I ended up being half an hour late anyway. It was fantastic to be back in temple, and to hear all the familiar prayers and chants. I was grateful I’d decided to attend.

After the traditional service, the Rabbi led a “healing service,” which is essentially a 30-minute guided meditation. You sit in the pews directly behind the person in front of you. Everyone must be silent. Your rows are numbered even and odd, and for the first 15 minutes, the people in the even rows are guided by the Rabbi to summon the healing energy of the earth and the sky, and then they put their hands on the shoulders (and later the heads) of the people in front of them. You’re instructed to serve as a conduit for the energy and to transfer it into the person in front of you. Then you switch and repeat. I know it sounds very strange, but I had an experience I’ve never had before in meditation. I could feel an energy moving through my body, and specifically through my hands. My hands got hot, and it was almost as though there was a force pushing them back from the woman’s shoulders. I could feel something happening. Then when I was the recipient of the energy, I definitely felt something. I really felt an energy pulsing through my body, unlike anything I’ve experienced in prior guided meditations. It was incredible and very, very cool.

Afterward, I headed to the break-fast at the urban kibbutz in Ravenna, where my friend Neal lives, and it’s always a joy to see him. At the kibbutz, I met the charming and hilarious Steven Blum, who chatted with me for about 10 minutes before being like, “This is kind of embarrassing, but I read your blog and I love it. I follow you on Twitter, too. Actually, I knew you were here before you even came in because I read your tweet about not being able to find parking.” Tee hee. It was very meta. Steven had some very kind things to say about this blog, and that’s always nice to hear, because Lord knows enough people have unkind things to say. I broke the fast there with the other kibbutzim, and they were fantastic hosts. The food was delicious. “Hunger is the best sauce,” commented Neal. “No, ranch dressing is,” I corrected.

Unfortunately, I had to run out the door pretty early, because I was meeting my friend Clay for drinks. The last time I saw Clay we were in eighth grade. Clay was my academic nemesis. At our hyper-competitive prep school, Clay was always #1 and I was always #2. He always won just one more award than me, or scored just one point higher. However, he was always very humble and kind about being a total genius, and we got along well. Now, after living in China, becoming fluent in Mandarin, graduating from Harvard and completing law school at Georgetown and Beijing University (I know, I know — total underachiever), he’s joined the Coast Guard as a part of the JAG corps. Their ship pulled into Bellingham for a couple days, and he drove down to Seattle with another total underachiever to see the city. His underachieving pal, Abdul, aside from being strikingly tall and handsome, played football at Wake Forest, was North Carolina’s most eligible bachelor according to a 1998 issue of Cosmo, and then attended law school and practiced law for several years before joining the Coast Guard’s JAG. I was not at all in love. (Okay, maybe I was a little in love. If he’d been in his uniform I may have fainted.) Oh, and you wanna know the best part? Clay’s grandfather is the late Senator Claiborne Pell, the phenomenal man responsible for the Pell Grants. And Abdul? Had gone to school on a Pell Grant. He was like, “Clay’s grandfather is the reason that a poor young kid from Florida made it all the way through law school.” And although Senator Pell passed away this year, Abdul is going to meet Clay’s grandmother soon and is looking forward to the chance to thank her in person. How freakin’ cool is that? I had a little tear in my eye as he was talking about it. Anyway, Clay and I caught up without missing a beat, like we’d just seen each other last week. It was very, very cool to hear about all the amazing things he’s been up to and all the amazing things he has in his future. People like him and Abdul inspire me to keep pushing harder and exploring new opportunities. We sat there and chatted for a couple of hours, and it felt like no time at all had passed. Just a freakin’ AMAZING day all-around, one of the great days that makes the bad ones worth living through.

Oh, and, yeah, Gawker called me out today for being on JDate and being hungry. A wee bit embarrassing, yes, but mostly I’m flattered. Proud to be a twitterati!

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