Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rockin' out at Biennial

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Yesterday was quite an overwhelming one at the Biennial!

It seems as though I can't walk 2 feet without seeing a different old friend that I've not seen in years...each moment I turn around and see a familiar face. I haven't completed a single conversation because I keep finding someone new to whom I have to say hello!

I have gone to two different prayer experiences, both last night for Maariv, and this morning for Shacharit. Both were completely overflowing, with far more davenners than chairs. I am pleased and impressed with the desire for creative worship experiences. Last night, the Maariv service was musical and, similar to the way in which we do our Friday Night Live at Am Shalom, used a screen for the words, instead of a prayerbook. I find this to be a fascinating way to pray. Usually, I'm on the other end, the one running the presentation and not using the screen. I was able to "space out" on the music and the images on the screen unencumbered by a book, but I did find that I missed holding a siddur in my hands. The music was delightful and I felt a buzz of energy in the room. This morning's service was similar, musical but with a siddur in hand. Although I arrived late... the perils of running into people... this week's Torah portion never fails to delight. Ani Yosef!

Jay Geller told us that Biennial is a "bargain" -- and even at the prices we pay, I do believe that he's right. It's quite a joyful experience to see all these musical guests, hear all these wonderful scholars, listen to incredible speakers and celebrate Judaism. I love to walk into a tefillah and see more tallit and kippah than not. Rabbi Dan Freelander said that here we are "standing at the top of the mountain of Jewish life" and he is right. This is indeed the top of the mountain and we are blessed to be together, blessed to look out on the state of Jewish life.

More today!

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