2006: I was a new ALEPH rabbinic student, over the moon at being able to name myself so. 2007: I had recovered enough from my strokes to be cleared to fly, but I had no idea what health mysteries might have caused the trauma. (Still don't.) 2008: getting swept up in the whirl of davening Hallel with my teachers and friends. 2009: I miscarried on Shabbat, and my friends cared for me. 2010: the year I stayed home with our newborn son, imagining my beloved friends and teachers far away. 2011: the year I became a rabbi.
And here comes Ohalah 2012. Tomorrow morning, at a painfully early hour, I'll be off to Colorado for the Shabbaton and ensuing Ohalah conference yet again, for the first time as a rabbi. On Saturday night I'll be ordained a second time, as a mashpi'ah ruchanit, a Jewish spiritual director. On Sunday I'll have the joy of seeing several of my friends ordained.
I wonder how it will feel to return to the OMNI hotel outside of Denver, which was new to us last year when we converged there for my ordination. I dimly remember last year's arrival, with a dozing baby in the car seat and my spouse and parents in tow. I remember strolling Drew through the empty hotel lobby at 3am, trying to coax him back to sleep again. This year, Drew will stay home with his dad, enjoying all the comforts of home -- his dear daycare provider, his comfy crib, his house full of toys -- and I will spend five days with my hevre, reconnecting with colleagues and teachers and with God, adrift in the freedom of being temporarily childfree.
And of course there will be experiences I can't quite anticipate. Melodies and harmonies. Meals with beloved friends. Prayer both scheduled and spontaneous. Conference sessions which open me up in surprising ways. These things are always true.
To those among y'all who I'll be seeing in Colorado: travel safely and I can't wait to reconnect! And to those who won't be there, have a lovely few days.