Wednesday, May 11, 2005

70. Flavors

Attending a Jewish singles event meant that I would need to set foot in a synagogue, about which I was ambivalent. I wasn't even sure I wanted to date anyone Jewish, considering where it had led me after so many years. But in my sleep I could hear the voices of my ancestors yelling, what, are you out of your mind? So a friend and I decided to go to services one Friday evening, just to measure if we were ready to travel in those circles.

The Upper West Side is dizzy with shuls of every imaginable flavor, stripe, and degree of adherence to the rules--whether they be the real rules, or a set of their own invention. Within a few square miles you can reinvent your religious life anywhere along the spectrum from non-kosher Reform to Madonna-style Kabbalistic to wig-wearing fervently Orthodox. You can be Reconstructionist, Renewal, or Flexidox, which all sounded like brand names one might find at Home Depot. We chose a Conservative synagogue a few blocks from my apartment known for its independence and love of robust intellectual inquiry. They also hosted pretty good swing dances one evening a month.

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