Happy anniversary to me! One year ago today, I wrote this. Like most of the really good decisions in my life, I began "on chanting" on an impulse. 265 posts later (and having spent the other one hundred days of the year thinking about what I would say) I'm a different, better person for this experience of writing, being read, and reflecting upon generous and thought-provoking comments. Thank you all so much.
It had been only a few months, last January, since I led High Holy Day services for the first time. My friends, although they would never admit it, were getting a little tired of hearing me talk about the overwhelmingness of it all. I kept trying to come up with other words of description but was always struck dumb during conversation, as if my powers of speech had been snatched away during those moments at the bima.
But I had to talk about it or better yet, write about it--had to process and document it. I was never much good at keeping a journal; I guess I'm a bit of an exhibitionist, and have to know that someone might read what I write. Even if no one does, just the possibility is enough to get me motivated. I also wanted (and still want) to improve my skills, and needed the pressure of a daily commitment to do so. I'd taken an essay-writing workshop on and off for a few years, and had just published my first and only short piece. So I was all excited about this new endeavor.
But I still had no idea how or where to pursue it.
I poked around the Intenet and found a Yahoo group about leyning (the Yiddish term for chanting Torah). Perfect. I've been online since 1990, i.e. the dawn of time (mostly here), and am more comfortable in this medium than even plain old talking. I wrote an introductory post about how cool it would be to share my enthusiasm, and maybe learn a few new things in the process.
(To be continued.)