|A MOMENT TRANSFORMS|
Shabbat in the Park?
Here’s why…Last June, I received the following letter.
I was driving along 133rdnight, on the way to Home Depot to pick up some things to fix a broken toilet. As I passed Mission, heading east, I saw this crowd of people converging on the park. I slowed down and let a couple dozen people cross the street. While waiting, I asked someone what was happening. When they told me it was a Shabbat service, I was intrigued.
I am Jewish. However, I must confess that I am not very religious. I don’t belong to a synagogue and – quite honestly – thatnight my thoughts were on overflowing toilets and not Jewish prayers. I didn’t even realize that it was Shabbat…that is how non-religious I am.
However, as I said, I was intrigued. There were A LOT of people there. Something compelled me to pull into the parking lot and come over to the park. A nice woman offered me a chair and a glass of water. I knew a few folks there, but it was a different feeling than I have ever had at a Jewish event. Without meaning to be disrespectful about anything else you do, THIS was joyful.
Then, the service started. And the music. And the celebration. Incredible.
When it was all over, you came up to me, introduced yourself, and said “Shabbat shalom.” You may remember me. I was in shorts, a t-shirt, and said, “Thank you for letting a stranger share in this service.”
So, now I want to tell you…I am not a stranger. I am Jewish. And your congregation helped me realize thatnight. Thank you.
P.S. It felt wrong to continue on to Home Depot. So, I went home, told my wife about the experience, lit Shabbat candles for the first time in a decade using votive candles – is that kosher? – and took her out for a lovely, late Shabbat dinner. Again, thank you.
SHABBAT IN THE PARK INFO
A. Gezer Park is located at 133rd and Mission Road, just across from Price Chopper. Our service will be in front of the pavilion that is on the west side of the park, in between the play structure and the bathrooms.
Q. Chairs? Water?
Q. Who makes this happen?