This past weekend, as mentioned previously, I traveled with nine 8th graders to Boston. The trip went extremely well. It was really busy and we saw lots of cool stuff including a horribly rainy Harvard, Faniuel Hall, the New England Aquarium, the Touro Synagogue in Newport and lots more.
The highlight for me was going to Brandeis for Shabbat services. During my four years of university I attended services in the Pearlman Lounge with BaRuCH, the Brandeis Reform Chavurah. My friends were often leading the services and running the group, and then many would head to Sherman Function Hall where the entire Brandeis community joined for Shabbat dinner. (This is a general summary).
On Friday night, I walked into Pearlman Lounge and it was as though nothing changed. (Though there are more comfortable chairs, new carpet, and Brandeis clearly gone modern with IT equipment). Though the faces were slightly different, it was as though I could re-name the characters with my friends and classmates and nothing was different. I will say that my contemporaries were more adept with the guitar and ensured it was in tune.
Sitting in Pearlman Lounge I realize how far I have come. I was sitting in services like I did long ago and I am a rabbi. So long ago that was the goal and now I live it everyday.
After services we headed towards dinner. This was where things seemed very different. Brandeis Hillel has their own bencher (its Anim Zmirot and it has the parochet from one of the Torahs in the chapel as the cover. Fancy!), dinner is buffet style now and includes a salad bar and soup. (Soup!) Apparently there are fewer students attending dinner because more housing includes kitchens so people are making their own. The challah was delicious, there are still sodas on the table, and the minhagim are the same. Clean up also works similarly. There’s nothing quite like finishing a meal on paper plates and gather it all up in a lined table-cloth.
But I digress. The real highlight was seeing CINDY who is now the associate director of Hillel. When I was a student she was the program director and we worked together a lot, especially when I was on Hillel board.
The other really trip down memory lane was that the campus is in the middle of Holocaust Remembrance Week. I helped organize this group one year.
There was even an announcement about upcoming Hillel elections.
When I was a student this all seemed incredibly important, and for the students it is. It’s amazing the perspective you can get from the passage of time. Perhaps this is the greatest lesson from the trip down memory lane.
Thanks for the memories!