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MY REFORMATION

My Reformation

When I was in grade school, junior high, and high school in Revere, Massachusetts, I faithfully and enthusiastically attended Jewish religious school, and got Bar-Mitzvahed, Confirmed, and Post-confirmed at Temple Israel in BrookIine, Mass. I was proud to be a Jew; the mezuzah pendant that my mother gave me was a precious reminder that I was a member of the tribe.

But throughout my eleven years of college (with all of its secular entrapments) I lost my devotion to Judaism. At one point, I discarded heaps of Hebrew books and volumes about Jewish history. I even rid myself of my cherished mezuzah, symbolizing the sacred bond between God and his Chosen people.

After having children, however, prodded by my non-Jewish wife (who after 50 years converted to Judaism), I grudgingly reentered the fold. Remarkably, I seamlessly fit in, regularly attending Shabbat and High Holy Day services with my wife and with my children.  After a while, I became a lay leader and two-term president of Temple B’nai Sholem in New Bern, North Carolina.

On a trip to Israel that my wife after years of supplication convinced me to undertake (I was fearful of terrorism from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran), she bought me a pendant that was inscribed with the Priestly Blessing from Leviticus. I wore it religiously. 

When we eventually moved to Hawaii, I joined the Reform Temple Emanu-el, attended Friday night services, Saturday Torah studies, and Tuesday Jewish wisdom sessions. Last month, my daughter gave me a mezuzah pendant for Father’s Day, replacing the one I had disowned when I was in college.

At Temple Eman-uel, my wife recently became in charge of the Sisterhood Chai Boutique, primarily selling Hawaii Judaica, including handcrafted items made from native koa wood (door and necklace mezuzahs, dreidels, kippahs, menorahs, tzedakah (charity) boxes, tallit celebrating the 613 biblical mitzvot and the 39 books of the Hebrew Bible, and the long-sought after Shaloha T-shirts (shalom plus aloha). Adam Sandler, when he was in Hawaii, bought a couple of them.

Whenever we are at Shabbat services, I help out at the boutique. At other times, I assist my wife with stocking, organizing, and cleaning the premises.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have gone on-line. It has been a laborious process, but we are now fully established. The website is hawaiijudaica.com. Although we offer products not made in Hawaii (like jewelry and Israeli kippahs, candlesticks, miscellaneous Hanukah and Passover items), our mainstay is Hawaii Judaica. I myself have purchased a kippah and a Shaloha shirt, more reminders of my Jewish heritage.

I have come full circle: I hope to be a visible and faithful member of the tribe forever.

 

schlomo
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Recognized Social Butterfly

SLIGHT REVISION OF THIS POST

 

My Reformation

When I was in grade school, junior high, and high school in Revere, Massachusetts, I faithfully and enthusiastically attended Jewish religious school, and got Bar-Mitzvahed, Confirmed, and Post-confirmed at Temple Israel in BrookIine, Mass. I was proud to be a Jew; the mezuzah pendant that my mother gave me was a precious reminder that I was a member of the tribe.

But throughout my eleven years of college (with all of its secular entrapments) I lost my devotion to Judaism. At one point, I discarded heaps of Hebrew books and volumes about Jewish history. I even rid myself of my cherished mezuzah, symbolizing the sacred bond between God and his Chosen people.

After having children, however, prodded by my non-Jewish wife (who after 50 years converted to Judaism), I grudgingly reentered the fold. Remarkably, I seamlessly fit in, regularly attending Shabbat and High Holy Day services with my wife and with my children.  After a while, I became a lay leader and two-term president of Temple B’nai Sholem in New Bern, North Carolina.

On a trip to Israel that my wife after years of supplication convinced me to undertake (I was fearful of terrorism from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran), she bought me a pendant that was inscribed with the Priestly Blessing from Leviticus. I wore it religiously. 

When we eventually moved to Hawaii, I joined the Reform Temple Emanu-el, attended Friday night services, Saturday Torah studies, and Tuesday Jewish wisdom sessions. Last month, my daughter gave me a mezuzah pendant for Father’s Day, replacing the one I had disowned when I was in college.

At Temple Eman-uel, my wife recently became in charge of the Sisterhood Chai Boutique, primarily selling Hawaii Judaica, including handcrafted items made from native koa wood (door  mezuzahs, dreidels, Hawaii-print kippahs, menorahs, tzedakah (charity) boxes, tallit celebrating the 613 biblical mitzvot and the 39 books of the Hebrew Bible, and the long-sought after Shaloha T-shirts (shalom plus aloha), and Chai-5 hats.

Whenever we are at Shabbat services, I help out at the boutique. At other times, I assist my wife with stocking, organizing, and cleaning the premises.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have gone on-line. It has been a laborious process, but we are now fully established. The website is hawaiijudaica.com. Although we offer products not made in Hawaii (like jewelry and Israeli kippahs, candlesticks, miscellaneous Hanukah and Passover items), our mainstay is Hawaii Judaica. I myself have purchased a kippah, a Chai-5 hat, and a Shaloha shirt, more reminders of my Jewish heritage.

I have come full circle: I hope to be a visible and faithful member of the tribe forever.

 

schlomo
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