I had a cathartic evening last Friday night. Daniel, the director of the Beit Daniel choir begged and cajoled me into agreeing to sing with them one last time for services last evening. I was dreading it--every moment spent there, once I understood I wouldn't get Jaffo, felt like a rejection. Really painful, and somehow shameful, as if I finally was proven to be the imposter I always felt. And before and during this evening, when talking to people, even at the bank, I got weepy--when will I grow up?
But I took the train, Daniel picked me up at the station. We rehearsed, I ran into the rabbi I did Yom Kippur with, who held my hand and spoke solid comfort, and said that of course the head rabbi would write a letter of recommendation for me, and that he would sign it too. He was very sweet, and I was blubby, as usual.
Before the service, as the choir lit our own Shabbat candles at the proper time, as we always did during our rehearsals, I cried to think of the end of that, included among so many endings for me. Then I asked Daniel not to talk about me during the service, and he said he could see why he shouldn't.
The service. About halfway through the sermon about Tu b'Shevat, I suddenly looked around, and thought "Sheesh, I was so unbelievably LUCKY to have actually worked here, and served these lovely warm people, and been considered for Jaffo!! And the other congregations, too! I have come so far from my origins, and proved myself to be tough and brave, and now I know my own value!" And up went my prayer of thanks. Suddenly I felt SO much better. By the end of the service, when finally Daniel talked about me (he lied!), I was ok, moved, but not weepy (thank G-d!)
Apparently he had let people know that it would be my last service, and about 400 people were there. Daniel read the card they had made for me, and gave me a gift, and the congregation smiled and clapped, and poof! I was leaving another congregation that loved me. And I'll get my letter. During the kiddush, so many people came to talk, and I got a CD and so much love, I felt almost myself again. (It has been a couple of months since I was with my Koleinu friends, after all!)
Daniel and Lia, his lovely girlfriend from Brazil, drove me home, and what they said to me, I was suddenly able to hear. Earlier that week I talked with a friend from home--she asked me, "won't you miss anyone?" and I couldn't think of anyone!) But I will miss Lia and Daniel, the choir members, and the people from the congregation of Beit Daniel who wanted from me and appreciated what I could give, and Rabbah Galia and Rabbi Gilad (who just might be Prime Minister some day, and I will come back just to vote for him!) It was always about the synagogue, the congregation. My work.
And then I came home to emails from 2 congregations (in California...) who want to meet with me. As Daniel said, I only need one to go for me, whether there or somewhere else! Whatever these 3 years was really about seems clearer now. Not about the people who let me down, or who didn't believe in me, not even about Israel, but about ME. For me finally to believe in my own abilities. Letting go of so much, to find what I really need. I will be very careful about what I take on again, too.
I'm thankful that I realized all of this, and understood it now, as I prepare to find my new "home."
I'm also more grateful than I can say to all of you, who have stuck with me this whole time, and offered me such support and love. If you would like to follow the next stage of my journey (..."Cindy's US Adventure" maybe?) let me know!