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It’s more than the end of the school year, it’s the end of an era

standard June 11, 2009 5 responses

Almost 8 years ago we set foot on the lush green campus for the first time. Two fresh faced lovers, recent transplants to the Bay Area, there to attend an Intro to Judaism class in preparation for their upcoming wedding.

We were charmed by the simple but beautiful buildings, the gorgeous grounds, and the overwhelming sense of community. Once we got there we never wanted to leave.

Over the course of the following year I converted there, we were married by the temple’s rabbi, we started teaching at their Sunday School, and I took a full time administrative job in their office.

We bought in, hook, line, and sinker.

Five years later, not only was I still working there full time, but we were still teaching every Sunday, and twice a week I was dropping C off at the brand new preschool.

I worked at that synagogue for a total of six years. We were active members for much of that time, but the honeymoon didn’t last nearly as long.

By the time I quit we weren’t attending any religious functions or teaching in the Sunday School. We missed teaching, but when you work 5 days a week and you have kids weekends become sacred family time. And the religious parts? Well, after a while I found it hard to have as my spiritual leaders the people who showed me their true colors behind closed doors. I’m not saying they were bad people. I’m just saying they were people, with human faults, and they slowly lost that mystique that religious leaders should have.

Most of the time when you leave a job you actually leave. You don’t come back time and time again. But when I quit that’s exactly what I ended up doing. I left my job, but we didn’t pull C from her preschool. So for a year I was back there three times a week. I ran into coworkers, I saw my desk, I answered questions. For a while I even spent the time C was in class sitting in an empty classroom doing my own work. I was still very much tied to the place.

Today school ended for the year. Next fall C will be going to another school.

As I pulled out of the driveway it struck me that I could well be leaving for the last time. I expected to feel some sense of relief. Instead I just felt sad.

I had such high hopes when we first pulled into that same driveway all those years ago. I thought that we might find a spiritual home and even possibly a community to call our own. Instead, years later, I’m leaving with barely a look back. Another failed relationship under my belt.

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5 responses

  • Oh, I ache for you!

    As a newish Christ Follower, I have had the same experience through serving. One summer, I worked in the main office, and I saw church leaders as people. I didn’t always agree with their choices and decisions, it’s like the more I knew the more I had to weigh. Nothing life altering, but still things to consider.

    At times I considered switching church homes, but family is family, and family is flawed at times.

    This post made me sad. If you see and love God through your faith–enough to go through the rigors to convert, then He is still there for you. He is with your family, but how to bring your family to Him?

  • No no no!!! Not a failed relationship! It’s a place where people gather and learn and teach and laugh and cry and … introduce you to new relationships! It’s a building. Yes, I cried when we left our home and all our friends, but every minute with them (good and bad) taught me something, including the ability to look forward to more new people and stuff.

    I believe God is where your heart is. Not where those walls were.

    You didn’t fail anything! Don’t be sad! Silly you. Do we have to go back to the point system?

  • I’ve attended many churches in my day (and have since left) and it’s so hard to see the true colors. My mom and dad are quite faithful, and encourage me to remember that those people aren’t the spiritual beings we worship. Still, I’ve had a hard time swallowing that. Good luck finding somewhere you feel more connected. I’ve been there…take good care.

    Oh, and YOU, my dear, are NOT a failure. Not at all.

  • Remember, the spiritual leaders are just people, people to help you but yes people. I am agnostic and for me the real purpose of being part of an organized religion would be for that sense of community you speak of. If you are not feeling it anymore, that’s ok but don’t turn away from it b/c the flaws of the people who connect you to it. On the other hand, I think even in the absence of church or synagogue, you can still connect with your higher power and share faith and morals with your children. Maybe your community will come from the block party or the web instead of the temple.

  • Look at all the friends you made and still have relationships with! You did not fail at all! I will agree that it is the end of an era!

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