I’ve fallen off the blog wagon. Almost daily I conjure up words inside my head, yet somehow they never make it from my mind to anywhere else. I tell the story of our experience to me. I recognize doing so allows me to process and interpret this significant family adventure.
Tomorrow we leave for Israel. We meet up with fellow Temple Israel members and join them on a 10 day tour of the Promised Land. This highly anticipated trip has all five of us excited. The four hour flight decreases the jet lag and increases the ease of traveling.
Since our arrival last August, we recognize the importance of continuing our Jewishness. My grandma Bernie used to say, “Jewishness is not a word, but you know what I mean.” There are few Jewish religious establishments here, a Chabad House, a conservative Synagogue as well as a small reform congregation without a Temple or a rabbi. So, in order to ground our family with Jewish culture while here we do many things. We hung a mezuzah on our front door that Jeffrey and I bought while visiting the Jewish quarter in Barcelona. We celebrated Rosh Hashanah and broke the fast on Yom Kippur. We attended high holiday services that were lead in Spanish and Hebrew. The Jewish community here consists mostly of Shepardic Jews. Yet, the Synagogue recognizes that a small Ashkenazi community exists. A separate service for the Ashkenazis took place in a hall with a make shift bima and ark. That’s where we met three American exchange students who joined us for holiday dinner and Elliot received the honor of dressing the Torah. We make a point of visiting the Temples or Jewish Quarter of all the cities we travel to.
With Chanukah right around the corner we constructed a menorah out of tin foil and bought Euro chocolate gold coins to decorate the table. This year, instead of receiving gifts, because we recognize with great gratitude that this immense experience constitutes one of the greatest gifts, we chose to make a donation to a charitable organization of each of our choosing. With pride, we contributed to five organizations, including a Jewish fund, a local Catalan fund along with donations to help wounded soldiers, the hungry and the arts.
Barcelona greets Judism with curiosity and intrigue. This country prior to the Jewish expulsion in 1492 contained a thriving functional Jewish population. The remains of the Jewish existence in Spain as well as Barcelona reveals itself in many nooks and crannies throughout.
In continuing with our desire to keep tradition alive and provide a strong Jewish value in our children we will find ways and means to do so. And, as we zip our suitcases tonight making the final preparations for our Israel adventure, I will be reminded that no matter where I am, I choose how to celebrate and recognize our Jewishness.