Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My High School Reunion: Faith and Identity on Friday

So, I didn't attend Temple Sinai on the Friday night of my high school reunion weekend. I did not come to this sanity-affirming decision all by myself. A dear friend reminded me what happened during an impromptu visit years earlier.

Silly me, I'd stopped by the synagogue office to ask for permission to tour the sanctuary and was treated to an inquisition. Because visiting from out-of-town wasn't a good enough reason, I got huffy in return, "My grandfather of blessed memory designed and built the bimah. My family donated most of the landscaping." (Because reforesting Israel wasn't enough.)

"Well, we don't want people wandering around," snarled the synagogue secretary. I muttered dayenu and promptly decided to expand my tour to the kitchen where I once scrounged around for B'nai B'rith breakfast leftovers. (One Youth Group activity I remember.) Take a WAG, did I open the refrigerators?

With that memory reignited, I decided to ditch services and join the cloud of witnesses gathering at a local restaurant. Thanks to the humorous grace of God, the first clutch of classmates happened to be those who'd attended Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Roman Catholic) parochial school before transferring to public high school. Bemused curiosity all around about what the h-e-double hockey sticks had happened to me.

Not for the last time during the weekend did I trot out my "Jewish in identity, Christian in faith and Catholic by religious practice" trope.

As it turned out, I really didn't have to brace myself. The big negative reaction never came, not from them nor from classmates with whom I'd once raided the refrigerators at Temple Sinai. Instead, on Shabbat I was treated to a delightful riff about what the nuns would have done with me had I attended OLMC. Think: The Trouble with Angels meets Doubt and The Sound of Music.

Thus began a weekend tuned to the Self-Discovery Channel. Saturday would be even more illuminating in the domain of faith and identity, although I do plead guilty to indulging in unrepentant schadenfreude at times.


  1. You are such a hoot. But you do fit the profile of the women who attend those events--thin, pretty, successful.

  2. Neil: Our class was/is too politically correct to capitulate to that stereotype!

  3. It looks like you have a great site here. I will be checking back often. Once again, Great website, and great writing.

    God Bless, Pastor Dan


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