Dear Ones, Greetings from sabbatical land! I’m just past the halfway point of my three months parted from you all. I have complicated feelings about my absence from you and yours from me, what I call becoming my own unoccupied country. I miss you and am sad for my strange distance from people who have suffered losses this winter, from dear folks undergoing difficult medical treatments and surgery, and from other situations in which I would certainly have connected with you.
On the other hand, I have been enjoying reconnecting with myself and working on the perpetual puzzle of how to maintain the most healthy balance between loving and strengthening myself and loving and strengthening you. It is a great luxury to have such an expanse of time to say “Yes!” to the many interesting things that beg for my attention and study! My dive into Judaism, for instance, has been a total delight. I just completed book three of four of this (biblical) Hebrew language course. The aim of the series is to make Torah study and prayers more accessible and meaningful. I have learned so much and have so long wanted to devote some time to exactly this. Check out Central Synagogue in NYC whose live-streamed and televised (Optimum 138) Shabbat services I regularly attend. North Shore Jewish Center and Rabbi Aaron Benson whose Judaism 101 class I have been enjoying weekly since October have been wonderful hosts to my learning, which has included Israeli dance on Tuesday evenings!
The NSJC class ends next week. Meanwhile, I am moving along in Hebrew book 4, Tav is for Torah, mapping my daily walks and, with my whole family, working on healthy eating habits! By the way, Linda and I completed the New York Times 30-Day Well Challenge (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/18/reader-center/30-day-well-challenge.html). The short workouts and healthy living challenges (like creating a date night, using exercise mantra, and choosing a special song to share with each other) were great sabbatical fare.
In a little more than a week, Linda and I will be flying (on March 5) to Nashville to begin our solo Civil Rights Trail journey through Tennessee and Mississippi. On March 20, we join 50+ other UU and UU-adjacent folks for a Living Legacy Pilgrimage—Alabama portion (http://www.uulivinglegacy.org/living-legacy-pilgrimage.html). Looking ahead: You’ll find in this newsletter some save-the-date invitations from me regarding our Belonging series, the April Vespers service, Easter Sunday child dedications, and a challenging adventure involving Ramadan. Please check them out! I’ll see you on the last day of March. Be good (but not too good).