Friday morning at 9:30 I turned my RAV4 out of the farm driveway toward the city and what would be for me an evening of enormous grace. The synagogue where Jerome has been accompanist for the past 17 years would be honoring him with a dinner and blessings at their evening service. The congregation and more especially the leadership of this very large community have been in many ways a surrogate family for Jerome in my absence, an opportunity for him to offer his music in a powerful spiritual way.
I struggle to describe the outpouring of love and respect for Jerome that I witnessed.
I was called to the bema to join the rabbi, cantor, musicians and singers who were surrounding my husband, and we were sung a blessing and given this gift:
Rabbi, whose 3 grown children live in Israel and who travels there often with members of the synagogue, had recently returned. While there she purchased this in Jerusalem and tenderly carried it back as a thank you to Jerome for his years of contributions to their worship and as a blessing on our farm home: an illuminated manuscript of cut paper, encased in glass front and back. The English translation is a simple summary of the more complicated and breathtakingly beautiful Hebrew prayer.
It is an extraordinary gift of love and will hang in a prominent place as a reminder of their love for the rest of our lives.
During service, rabbi read from an Israeli poem. One phrase stayed with me and I recall it to mind often now, something of a new mantra:
"Entrances to holiness are everywhere."
They are indeed.