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The seven-minute davven

This year's visit

This past Shabbat was a special one for me. Not just because we started a new book of the Torah in the lectionary cycle, but because my shul had a special guest. (Actually, two.)

As longtime readers may remember, my father, who lives in south Texas, makes a habit of visiting the Berkshires every winter. It's a chance for him to enjoy a little cold weather, and to spend some time with his daughters. This year's visit came at the tail-end of last week. He and I walked around south county (found a great רעד סאקס baseball cap at this shop), went to the root cellar at Caretaker Farm to get the week's distribution of winter vegetables, took in some typical local entertainment in nearby Shelburne Falls...and, on Shabbat morning, went together to Congregation Beth Israel.

My father hadn't seen me read from Torah since I became bat mitzvah in 1988. To my great pleasure, we had more than a minyan -- seventeen adults, in fact, including one of our recent b'nai mitzvot -- so we were able to take the Torah from the ark. I read about the birth of Moses, and how his mother hid him in a basket in the reeds at the edge of the Nile, and how Pharaoh's daughter found him.

As it turned out, my father wasn't the only honored guest at Shabbat services this week. My dear friend David R. a pillar of the community, was in a car accident a few months ago and has been flat on his back ever since, recovering from broken ribs, wrist, and spine. His doctors gave him permission to sit in a chair for a few hours on Saturday morning, and he chose to spend those hours with us at shul!

It was a real treat for me to show off my shul to my father: our beautiful building, our terrific rabbi, our warm and generous community. And it was a real treat for me to show off my father to my shul, too -- and to introduce him to David, who's been an important part of my time at CBI. Thanks for coming to town, Dad.

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