My trip to New York was wonderful. I spent a few days at college campuses (Queens, Brooklyn, Hunter) before bringing the program to the 92nd Street Y. Upon arriving at 92Y, I was shocked to discover that they were hosting two programs that night: Faces of Israel and a joint talk by Elie Wiesel and David Axelrod. I figured that my program didn’t stand a chance against these distinguished figures, but my presentation room was 50-60 people strong by the time we got started. I was secretly pleased that so many people would choose me over them. Cool.
I traveled to Syracuse for a short trip at the end of the week and, as always, it was nice to be treated as a visiting scholar. The executive director of my host temple picked me up from the airport and checked me into my hotel, where I took the most incredible nap and relished in a super hot jacuzzi. I met a group of active community members for dinner at the fancy hotel restaurant and – though I should have anticipated this since it was a Reform group and I totally don’t care/judge – it was still surprising for me to see people ordering bacon, shellfish and meat/milk combos at a synagogue event. The evening was fun, but also challenging as several audience members used the event as an outlet to voice anti-Orthodox perspectives. Some of these comments were legitimate, but it was important to express multiple viewpoints and get attendees considering new perspectives, so I gave a bit of push-back.
Spending Shabbat at the Bayit was of course the highlight of the trip. I tried to keep a low profile since my visit was so short and unfortunately missed a few people that I would have loved to see, but I managed to catch up with Yair’s parents and a few friends, which was really nice.
And now, here I am – back in Reno. The first couple of days were a tough transition* as we only left NYC a few months ago. Everything about the weekend felt so natural, as though my life was falling back into place: the friends, the religious community, the excitement of the city.
When Yair picked me up in the RV, it was almost like an out-of-body experience and I couldn’t help but feel like “Huh? We live in an RV?” When I went to synagogue yesterday, I caught myself comparing the experience to the joyous singing and 200+ crowd (or so it felt) of Kabbalat Shabbat at the Bayit. And when I went to my dance studio for practice, I thought “Why is ballroom fun?” But it’s now a couple of days later and most of those feelings have washed over. I know that what we’re doing is right for us. I would get tired of the Riverdale scene after a while and would itch for more. We have friends here and every day brings new fun. I guess even positive changes and transitions just take some getting used to.
Later this morning, I will hunker down and tend to my one and only dreaded task: responding to and clearing out the enormous amount of e-mail that has accumulated over two weeks ‘out of the office’. Luckily, today will end dancing with my favorite teacher at the studio. Can’t wait. 🙂
*Another part of the transition: Many people in NYC know me as Amy, whereas in Reno, Costa Rica, Canada, etc. I’ve just gone by Ayo. It’s weird switching between the two, though Ayo feels much more like ‘me’ these days.
posted by ayo