Growing up in Virginia, my family celebrated Rosh Hashanah every year with our closest Jewish friends. It was a time we looked forward to–in large part–because of Maryann’s great cooking. My little brother often said he hoped he would grow up to marry a Jewish woman in hopes that fresh-baked challah would be a staple in his home. (Who knows–it could still happen!)
So last week when I met one of the members of Tamid, I got excited and nostalgic upon mention of this week’s Rosh Hashanah service. I asked around to see if I could attend (High Holy Day services in NYC are generally ticketed events with no empty seats) and was so pleased to join with five other Trinity clergy. Why would so many of us be at a Rosh Hashanah service? Because Trinity shares space with the Tamid congregation in St. Paul’s Chapel. And only tonight did I hear the story of why.
Rabbi Darren Levine told us that years ago, he and his son would shoot hoops before school almost daily. And daily they would encounter another father-son duo doing the same. A year or two passed by, and the dads became friends without ever mentioning their day jobs. In 2011, Rabbi Darren was looking for a space for Tamid to worship. The historic St. Paul’s chapel came to mind, so he looked up Trinity Wall Street’s website, only to discover the dad-friend from the basketball court: the Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones. And in a New York minute the basketball dads became clergy colleagues– the rest is history. Only tonight the history grew deeper as Tamid dedicated it’s new/restored/historic Ark as a permanent fixture at St. Paul’s. It was a beautiful celebration to witness, with some personal touches that will remain etched on my memory for all time.
Tonight I am grateful for haunting Hebrew music, moments of incarnation and Spirit filled spontaneity, a warm welcome from the people of Tamid, and the promise of profound relationships as we encounter and embody the Holy in this world together.
It’s going to be a great New Year. !שָׁנָה טוֹבָה