Regular readers of this post know that there are two things that feed my soul… that enliven my spirituality… Judaism and Music.
Concerts were my church… Okay, Shul is a better descriptor for a nice, Jewish boy… but most Shuls do not have people dancing in the aisles and singing…
Well… I actually have found a few out here and they are amazing and magical.
Until recently and all though growing up, I never made too many sacrifices for Judaism. Okay, I HATED going to Hebrew school and missing out on certain things every Tuesday afternoon and Sunday morning… or whenever we went… I know it was two days a week, but that is all the brain is giving me right now…
But… it was not always pleasant, so I suppose that was a sacrifice.
We did not keep Kosher… did not go to Shabbat services very often… and were your typical two timers… Shul two times a year. I am not proud of this… just stating the facts.
2014 and the JMI trip to Israel changed my trajectory and put me on a very different path, and while I have many more miles to travel… and many more food items to give up… I am firmly on the path.
How much so? My most favorite musician/artist off all time is Bruce Springsteen. If concerts are like Shul… Bruce and the E-Street Band is like the greatest service ever, with the most senior head Rabbi in the world and the most inspiring Cantor and chorus you have ever heard.
You walk out of those shows feeling like you can conquer the world… alive and inspired… with the power of Rock n’ Roll pulsing through your veins and your brain.
My lifelong dream has been to meet him and I have the opportunity when he comes to LA for a signing of his autobiography, Born To Run. Yes, we will each have two seconds with him, to have him hand you a pre-signed book, shake his hand… maybe… and have someone snap one photo of the two of you. Still, that would be an amazing memory and a moment that would truly last a lifetime… and yet… Sigh…
There is one glitch… Bruce has planned his visit to LA on Rosh Hashanah. Doh! Bruce SpringSTEIN would have NEVER done that… But Bruce Springsteen did. Okay, his people or book publicist did… and I can see that his schedule is super tight, but still… on a MAJOR Jewish holiday… in LA???!!! A city with a huge Jewish population?! Siiiiiggggghhhhh…
It is rather insensitive and insulting, if you ask me. What do you mean, you didn’t ask me?
But for me… here is where it gets interesting… There was never a question that I was going to skip it… Not one.
Yes, I was upset. Yes, I was angry and hurt. Yes, I wrote a note to his people, that has gone unanswered as of this writing… but there was never a tormenting decision. I would skip meeting my musical idol, because Hashem and the holidays and setting an example for my daughter was far more important to me. Being Jewish was far more important to me… and no person (“Idol”) would be worshipped before Hashem.
Many of you may be rolling your eyes… or surprised that I am surprised… but this is a big thing for me…. a major step forward and some major spiritual growth… and a bit unexpected.
Now, given the fact that it is going to be an absolute madhouse makes the decision a little easier to take… but I was surprised with myself… and how quickly I told my friend I could not go.
I also found that MOST of my distress was at how little concern the rest of the world gives to the Jewish holidays. Perhaps that is also naive, given how small a percentage we are… but in towns like New York and LA and Chicago, I expect more consideration.
The Torah discusses how we will always be in the minority… how we will always be persecuted… how we will always struggle… And it also talks about how much joy there is in being a Jew… How much our efforts to the world mean… how important our connection to Hashem and each other really is.
I have to say, as strange as it sounds, it gave me a lot of joy to make the decision I did. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Hopefully they will change the date… but if they cannot or do not (and I am not expecting them to in a million years)… while Bruce is at The Grove, I’ll be at Shul… and happy and content and connected to being there.
For me, being a Jew is a whole, life-long symphony, one I am studying and relishing and enjoying… listening to… learning from… and taking in, note by glorious note.