Snap, snap, snap go my clothes hangers. Blue. “No”, Purple. “No”, Peach, “No. I need white, not beige, not white with stripes, white.”
Found it. A 1940’s-inspired white linen shorts and button-down top not touched in 3 years and still perfectly pressed. White linen, a straw hat, Ecco Bella Merlot Lipstick, a few swirls of our natural black mascara and I am good to go on this 90 degree day.
When you are born, your family hangs a sign around your neck that states what you are; then they hand you instructions that tell you what to do about it. If you are like me, you go along with the traditions. Sometimes, I do it because I wish to honor my parents and their parents and theirs….and other times because I like to do it.
I was invited to the annual Friday night Jewish Sabbath worship service on the beach. Wear white, I was told. Meet at the temple in Elberon, New Jersey and we will walk to the beach with our chairs. Afterwards, back at the temple, there will be a barbeque. “You’ll like it” my mother implored, “The Rabbi brings his guitar and sings.” “OK.” I said, “I will leave Ecco Bella early and be there.”
I arrived at the temple at 5:30 p.m. as instructed, just in time to say hello to Rabbi Stanway, who in his white shorts and with guitar hanging around his neck, called out, “Shabbat Shalom.” to me and my husband, Kevin and then marched off down the wide, beautifully landscaped street to the beach with everyone following.
I went inside the temple to ask about the barbeque. Being 99% vegan, and a Boardmember of Friends of Animals, I do not trust the word, barbeque. I feel sad that my fellow humans have parties that revolve around the prior harm to animals. Once awakened I am certain many people would not want to participate, either.
The kind people inside the temple said, “Don’t worry we have others just like you, and there will be portabello burgers.” “Perfect, I said.” Knowing I would be fed later, I too, marched off down the street to the beach, husband alongside, meeting my parents along the way.
We joined the long stream of people, headed for the beach, and I, feeling the peace and unity of the moment, deeply appreciated having said yes.
As we neared the ocean, turning past lovely, manicured houses nestled side by side like shorebirds at the edge of the embankment, the heat fell away and the wind took over.
The early evening light, transformed the landscape, featuring in turn, humans then sea grass, and ocean and lastly, seagulls, another flock of worshippers at the water’s edge.
The Atlantic ocean set a glorious and watery stage for us. The photo below is of my parents, Jack and Max with me in the middle, and as we say at the Jersey Shore, “This is the best time of day.”
Please enjoy the video that I made for you so that you could savor the moment too.
Rabbi Stanway said. “Take a moment to reflect in silence.”
No one knows what another prays for, but I’ll share. I prayed in gratitude for my good fortune in having been able to participate in a service rooted in history that took place in the natural beauty of my home state of New Jersey.
Talk to you soon! Sally