You know that running is my passion. Every time I am at the start line and I look around, I see my fellow runners. They come in all shapes and sizes, all age groups, some fashionable, some not, in short they are a diverse network, just as reform Jews.
We wish each other good luck, exchange last minute running tips or hugs (San Francisco) and off we go. We are connected through our passion of running, we befriend each other through our apps and we create deeper friendships (just thinking of my friend friend Kellie who got up at 6AM to hold up a sign for me). All very similar to what should happen in a Synagogue.
As Jews we do not have to go to Services to celebrate Shabbat, we can celebrate Shabbat in our own way. It is a time set aside, declared holy during which we try to connect and reflect.
If religions are the languages to speak to god, and we can define god each in our own way, for some it might be a higher being, for others it might be nature or just all of us living in peace with each other and the world.
Whatever other definition comes to your mind will work.
This morning when I ran, it hit me, there I was conducting my own Shabbat service, I connect with myself and my surroundings, my D’var Torah is me thinking about my days, my to dos, my problems, solutions….my app keeps me on track, tells me when to turn the page or when it is time for #1,2,5 and 9 (smiling at Marty and Steve).
And all this with a great playlist, my own cantor right in my ear.
I start every run with “morning has broken”, and Cat Stevens might have been controversial but I love this song and I love the lyrics.
For me, it’s an homage to creation. “Morning has broken”, not really at 6 AM but we will get there and it is magic when the sun rises, its color turns from fire to gold and then fades into the sky. It is beautiful and it is magic and it happens every morning. Just go out and watch it.
I will not go through my whole playlist but here are some more examples.
Waka, waka by Shakira is the prep song, getting ready to turn it up.
You’re a good soldier
Choosing your battles
Pick yourself up and dust yourself off and back in the saddle
You’re on the front line
You know it’s serious we’re getting closer, this isn’t over …
Every day, we go out there and do what we need to do for our families, our community, this is our song, at least in my eyes.
“Born to run” probably would correspond to when we carry the Torah through the synagogue.
It is THE song, it is played when you kick off the New York City Marathon and you you start to cross the Verrazano bridge, it makes you feel good and joyous and you want to run, you are born to run.
The silent prayer, you probably wonder what that might be and I can tell you even at Schul I recite “Je ne regretted rien” by Edith Piaf, the song ends on the words:
Car ma vie, car mes joies -(Because my life, my joys)
Aujourd’hui, ça commence avec toi (Today, it begins with you) and I add in my head Steve Jacobs.
Kaddish – I think that would be “En Mediterranee” by Georges Moustaki, try it:
Anyway, it is my playlist, my own personal Shabbat Service and my opinion.
I have one odd ball though, Hot Stuff by Donna Summer, maybe that is the moment when even during services at Adat my mind disconnects. Every time I hear this song I think of the movie the full monty and the scene at the unemployment agency. It is true, this songs makes you want to move.
I have a high holy days version, from time to time I meet a fellow runner in my neighborhood and he always greets me with the Vulcan greeting, and of course I greet back, thank you Mr Spock.
If you have suggestions, I am open to additions to my playlist or tell me about your personal Shabbat.