My First Shabbat Service: Diving in Headfirst with Both Feet

23 Iyyar 5774

After an hour-long wrestling match with myself and my nerves, I’m going to go to my very first Shabbat service tonight.

I haven’t heard back from the rabbi (yet), so he may take the traditional route of making me approach him three times, or he may just not have had time to respond (it is the daylight before Shabbat services; I’m sure he has a lot of stuff to deal with today!).

But I’m still going to walk over to the Friday night Shabbat service tonight. On my own.

I’m nervous, but I’m not going to let the knot in my stomach convince me that it’s anything more than nervousness. This is not anxiety, it is not panic, it is not fear. It’s just nerves. It’s nerves just like I get any other time I have to do something new (I did mention I’m high-functioning autistic, right?). And I’m not about to let nerves stop me.

So I have to find something appropriate to wear, and I’ve been given advice about that – a good button-down shirt and a pair of nice jeans will be fine. I can do that. I don’t have slacks right now (I’ve lost weight over the last year and nothing fits!) but I should be able to manage basic business casual. I hope.

I also hope that my Hebrew studies will help me with keeping my place in the siddur, and that I won’t do anything too obviously not-Jewish during the service. (I do know that any time the Ark is open I have to stand up, right?)

It just occurred to me that I’d better eat before I go, too, as the oneg will very likely not have grain-free or gluten-free options, and I don’t know how long the service will last. So I’m going to go do that now.

Tomorrow, I’ll write about this experience, and on Sunday I’m going to try to write about sin – specifically sins of omission. I will try to figure out whether just not talking about certain aspects of my life counts as a sin of omission, or as just keeping my privacy intact.

But tonight, I’m going to see what it’s really like, going to an actual Shabbat service. I’ve been to a seder, a wedding, and a bar mitzvah – and now I want to see what a regular weekly service is really like.

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Filed under Conversion Process, Judaism

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