For an exploration of why I went where I went this evening, refer to the previous post.
Services at the synagogue in question began this evening at 7:30pm. I left Drew at 5:30 for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I always leave early because I am chronically afraid of being late to things. Secondly, I needed to stop at the Stop and Shop first to pick up a couple of things on my way. Thirdly, the synagogue is in the nearby town of Summit, which is two stops away on the train and I do not know my way around the Madison train station yet and I figured there was ample time somewhere in that mess to get confused or lost. I had received faulty intelligence that all I needed to do was take the train to Summit and the synagogue is so close I could just walk from the Summit train station.
I went to Stop and Shop and was completely successful there. By 6:15 I was on the correct train to Summit. By 6:35 I was in Summit with no idea which direction I was facing. My scribbled map that I had copied down from Google Maps was doing me no good. I figured if I just wandered I bit I would hit upon my destination because I had been told it was extremely close. After wandering for a bit, I decided that I had no idea where I was or where I was going.
At this point, I stopped to ask directions. I happened upon a couple of women dining outside at a sidewalk café in downtown Summit, walked up to them and said, “Excuse me, do either of you feel qualified to give me directions?” “What an introduction!,” said the younger of the two. The older one said, “Are you going to shul?” As it turned out, I had happened across Ruth and Kim, mother and daughter, respectively. We were soon joined by Ron and Lauren, Kim’s husband and daughter, respectively. They were, as most are, confused by my fringes. They wanted to know what sort of Reform Jew I was wearing tzitzit and on my way to a Reconstructionist outfit. I explained, complete with all my usual shpiels about tzitzit really being anti-asshole fringes, Reform ideology, etc. They thought I was quite a character and offered to give me a lift to synagogue in exchange for a brief D’var Torah. I used my usual quickie about the binding of Isaac and its significance not as a faith test, but as a theological revolution.
When we finally found the place, I turned out this idea that I could walk there from the Summit train station was complete lunacy. In fact, the station between mine and Summit is actually a closer walk than the Summit station, I was told by numerous people after services. Upon walking in, the entire ushering team knew who I was as I had called ahead a few days ago. They were all very excited to meet me. After services one of them offered their husband, John, to me as a ride home. This couple, as it turns out, lives in Florham Park, which is the next town over from Madison. It turns out that the quickest way to get to the synagogue would have been simply to walk there from school. The drive back was about six minutes long and was basically a straight shot that took me right back past the Stop and Shop.
Tomorrow: My observations on Reconstructionist Judaism.