When did my fascination with world religions start? I don’t really know, but I love learning about other faiths. It was a blessing to have worked with my dear friend Kamel from Egypt who taught me so much about Islam, and about Hinduism through my yoga teacher, Paritosh.
I did not knowingly have a Jewish friend until high school, and since then I have been intrigued by their culture and history. Last year I finally got to experience a Seder dinner, and last Friday I was generously invited to Shabbat services at temple Beth El in Boca Raton. What an experience!
One of our professors, Rabbi Larry Kotok, arranged for a group of students and faculty to visit Temple Beth El for Shabbat, I signed up right away. The Senior Rabbi, Dan Levin gave us a briefing before the service. It was a special service since it was Shabbat Shirah, a musical celebration of the separation of the Red Sea. Singer Elana Arian was brought in from New York to lead the celebrations and she did not disappoint.
The Temple has been recently renovated, and it is beautiful, very, very well done. It is very “homey”, beautifully carpeted, with nooks for chatting, a great bookshelf called Soaring Wisdom, a cute little gift shop, there is even a sculpture attributed to Salvador Dalí.
The whole thing was so beautiful, I must confess a couple of times during the service I was overcome with emotions. After the service, we were invited to a great BBQ dinner in the patio, we chatted with some members of the congregation before saying good-bye.