The Rabbi,of the synagogue I attend,in reaction to Parshah Yitro, this morning riffed on how sometimes it takes new eyes, or an outsider to truly see. He then went on to talk about "Jews by choice", and he added the aside, "it isn't good to call them converts anymore" His message was that some how born Jews can get complacent, jaded and not fully engage in the wonder, joy and totality of the Jewish faith, even if they are observant.
It was funny, just prior to this talk, I had been slowly seething and deciding if I could get up the nerve to turn around and ask the three people behind me to please be quite. They were long time and involved members of the synagogue. We had a Bar Mitzvah today and this little boy was trying so hard and they were being so disrespectful. but I had gone by myself today, (I think my husband still finds it difficult to be in services with a celebration while he is still feeling the loss of his mother) and was feeling a bit too vulnerable. Added to this was that we had a low turn out due to snow and cold.
When the Rabbi started they were still talking, but as he went on they got quite! Did they see themselves in his talk? Myself, I became some what self conscious, he was saying lovely things about Jews by Choice, but because there were so few people there I felt like I couldn't hide in the crowd. Although he didn't mention me by name it was an odd feeling non the less!
Yet dispite some unease it was wonderful to hear him speak in such lovely terms about those of us who have chosen this path. Maybe next time I will turn around and ask them to please try and be more quite.