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Member’s Perspectives

The Joy of Shabbos Services

“During Services, in the circle of light, surrounded by friends with my eyes closed, I feel so connected. It’s as though we are one enormous loving heart and soul, beating in tune with Rabbi Marc’s voice and the music. The candlelight enters, even through closed eyes, and the feeling of our souls being woven together is so powerful, I always briefly hesitate to open my eyes.” – Elyn Zerfas

I Woke Up Singing

Saturday morning after services, I woke up singing prayers. I was blessed with insights from last night’s Service.
Words from last night’s sermon popped into my head. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi said, “Every Jew should live an Orthodox life for a year.”During services, my brain said “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Other than services and candle lighting, I have never done Shabbos before, so I don’t know what it means to follow the rules and “laws”. I did, however, have my interpretation, as I am sure many others who are not Orthodox, and that is what I would be giving up… not what I would be receiving.This Saturday morning, like most others, I sat at my desk to work. Instead I played for a while and started having the most amazing revelations… all stemming from last night’s service. The first thoughts that came to me is “This is me being with God. Ah. This is Shabbos.” Wanting to be in the joy I was experiencing, I decided to celebrate Shabbos and didn’t work. The time I now had and the abandon I submitted to led me to God and last night’s messages and service.The moment I started living just a piece of Shabbos, I was blessed with joy and Love.I am 86px86px86pxwriting to remember… so I can remind myself when or if I start to forget. These thoughts are so important, I don’t want to forget them, and I want this feeling to continue.I just got why we don’t spend money on Shabbos. Like so many truths, it’s so simple, though it took a half century to get! When we spend money, we’re in the mundane world. We don’t connect with God when we’re focused on physical things. Shabbos is a day to connect with God. When we spend money, we’re connecting with “things” and things are not God. – Jenae Rubin

Community – the WOW of TAO

The people who shared with me how they were touched, touched me. Of course! We’re all connected. Adonai Echad.
Recently newcomers and first timers feeling shared with me that for the first time, they felt connected. These are Jews Filter who longed to belong and did not find a connection in traditional Judaism. Yes, we pray in Hebrew. Though we always prayed in Hebrew, for the first time, we understand what we’re saying and praying for. Rabbi Marc makes Judaism relevant in our lives today. This brings tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts. It satisfies a need that, until now, has been craving and seeking satisfaction.
With love, faith and friendship, Shirley Shelpman

On Renewal Judaism

“What is Renewal Judaism?” For me, it is looking deeper, understanding new ideas, seeing the truths.I was thinking about my “Best Friend”. Once referred to a long time friend of hers as her “Best Friend”. Later she mentioned someone else is her Best Friend. Then she alluded to me as her Best Friend. How is this possible? “Law” says there can only one “best.” This is a truth by definition. Yes… and what if “Best” is a set. Then we are all part of the “Best Friend” set. In which case we are each, individually as well as collectively her “Best Friend”.
What if “Best Friend” is the way you treat someone rather than a position that permitted only one? What if “Best Friend” is the way you feel about someone instead of that number one ranking? What if there are other meanings I don’t yet see? The meanings exist. It’s my understanding that doesn’t… yet.
This is renewal Judaism. Seeing the other meanings in “Laws” (a/k/a “Truths”) deepens life making it more meaningful. Renewal Judaism is looking deeper, understanding new ideas, seeing new truths in the teachings and wisdom that is. In doing so, it makes Judaism relevant to life… now…

Our Blessed Rabbi

A new, first time attendee, after being so touched, with tears rolling down his cheeks, asked me, “What is it about Rabbi Marc?”Perhaps it is that he is born to Rabbis who were born to Rabbis. Perhaps it is that he was born to be what he is and he is living his path. There is no doubt his aura is of Sweetness. Perhaps a lesson I learned last night is an answer.
When you do something nice, willingly or not, and this is so important, toward someone you do not see through Love, you enter into Love, and then see them through Love. We can’t help but be in Love, when we come from Love… regardless our initial intent.
Love is Love.
When act as though we are in Love, we are in Love. So if we want to be in Love, we need to be in Love, because willingly or not we enter into Love. Rabbi Marc expresses the gift of Love every day. Watching him live Love when we, observers and bystanders, feel otherwise teaches us, in the most profound way the benefits of living Love.
What a blessing TAO is in our lives. How grateful we are to belong to such a community and have such a teacher.

Filled With joy

I am filled with joy and fulfillment after last Saturday’s yoga/meditation/chanting Shabbos Hour Retreat at the Rabbi’s home. It set the tone for my entire week. I feel so lucky to be part of this incredible community. I used to think Friday night TAO services were the most precious place to touch God. The love and energy swirled and then rested and then gathered momentum and then quieted again and my soul connected.
Then I found Saturday mornings at our private sanctuary in Davie. The music and the intimacy and the soulfulness touched me deeply, and I knew this was the most precious place for me to touch God in the presence of my beloved community.
Then I returned to our sanctuary for a gentle yoga/meditation/chanting morning, and I truly knew that this was my most precious place and time to open my heart to my God. My eyes filled with tears of joy and my soul filled with the love and fulfillment that sacred silence in the presence of loved ones can bring.
I find the connection in many places, the mountains in the early morning, walking with a loved one on the beach, the silence of the in-between places of my life. How grateful I am to be able to share this incredibly loving God space. And I am so grateful that I know it… really know it.