I spent Friday through Sunday in Ottawa, Ontario. As recounted elsewhere, my partner is a final year rabbinical student. She has a once-a-month gig as the spiritual leader of the Reconstructionist Congregation there. She usually flies up on Friday and back Sunday night, but this time we went together. We drove as far as Watertown on Thursday, stayed over and arrived in Ottawa on Friday.
It was a great weekend. Wonderful to see Amy in action professionally all weekend, and wonderful to see how the congregation adores her. I can’t believe how much she does in one weekend, though! They only have a rabbi one weekend a month, so she does everything then: meets with potential converts, pastoral counseling, teaching kids, teaching adults, leading services.
They only do Shabbat services and only a couple of times a month, so they did Purim combined with Shabbat this time. So on Friday Amy met with a conversion student, then we baked hamentaschen with the pre-bar mitzvah kids at the home of one of them; had shabbos dinner with them and their parents; Amy taught them a Talmud lesson and then most of them left and I finished the hamenstaschen baking (felt weird to do that on Friday night, not that I'm shomer shabbat) while the host parents and Amy talked rabbi stuff. We didn’t leave until 11:30 Friday night.
When she was prepping for this, Amy asked me, "Do you make hamentaschen?" I said, "Actually I make the best hamentaschen in the world." So she asked for the recipe for the weekend. Anyway, we made the hamentaschen and served them to congregants all weekend. Many of the congregants bit into them, stopped in their tracks, and said something along the lines of "ZOMG this is the best hamentasch I've ever had!" So Amy saw it was not an idle boast.
Then we had to be at the place they rent for services at 9:00 the next morning for set up. She did this wonderful Shabbat-cum-Purim service - funny and moving and musical and everyone just ate it up. It was followed by a kiddish luncheon where she mingled, touching base with them all. Then we had a couple of hours off, followed by dinner at someone else’s house and then an adult ed class. It was on the concept of Chosenness, and again we didn’t finish until 11:30 at night.
The next morning there was another adult ed class. This was the second of a three-part series on service leading. It was really well done and well received – a great mix of lecture and practice. That was supposed to be done at 11:30 but we didn’t manage to get out until about 12:30. We should have gotten home between 10 and 11 even with stopping for dinner and getting slightly lost, but there was a bad accident somewhere in the middle of PA and we were stopped for a long time. And then when we got to Brooklyn it took close to an hour to find parking. So I'm a bit of a zombie today, but I'm glad I went.