In this week’s Torah portion, Beha’alotecha, the Israelites experience a unique retrospective journey into their past, defined as it was by nostalgia and mythic imagination. Frustrated by their journey through the wilderness that seemed to be leading them nowhere, they fondly remembered the delicious food that used to be theirs for the taking: “the fish that we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” (Numbers 11:5). Granted, their idealization of slavery’s culinary delights was fueled by their present uncertainty and fear. But the color, texture and passion conveyed in their words is arresting. It speaks to the ways in which memory gives us roots and animates our sense of home.
So it is all the more distressing when we face destabilizing experiences that cut away at our sense of routine and predictability. Some of them go further than that, taking away pieces of our core identities and replacing them with… well, we don’t know yet! It’s possible that some pieces may not even be replaced at all.
The Israelites felt this all too keenly in their journeying, and we feel it as we walk forward too.
On Sunday June 3, our synagogue will be host to two different programs that speak to dislocating experiences with honesty and hope.
The first is from 3:00-5:00pm. Our Immigrant Accompaniment Team invites you to Sanctuary: An Accompaniment Story to learn about one family’s experience with our immigration system. We and our neighbors from Orinda Community Church have been helping a local family, Leandro and Gaby, and their son Andrew. Come meet them, hear directly from them about their experiences and share a light dinner featuring Gaby’s home cooked tamales. All are welcome. If possible, please RSVP to Michael Fischer at email@example.com.
The second program is a Healing Service led by one of our congregants, Gerri Levitas, from 5:00-5:45pm in the Library. We held the first one at the end of April and it was tremendously moving. This is a service for anyone who is facing illness or emotional difficulties, or who is caring for someone in those circumstances. You will be surrounded by warm and caring people who will understand what you are experiencing.
These two programs are an index of just how many wonderful things are happening at our synagogue. Our hope is that through participating, you will enrich your own Jewish journey and come to feel that CBT gives you even more of a sense of roots and of home.