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Jewish things always tend to find me sometimes. I often go places where it’s not very Jewish at all so usually there’s nothing. I will eventually plan where I can go for specifics.

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I am delighted that you had such a nice trip and that you are now back, safe and sound. How do I travel Jewishly? I do not. I bring my Jewish self with me and though I never seek out Jewish places as such I am fully aware of a place that is or has been in some fashion Jewish. It is, we we used to say, our Jewdar, ie Jewish radar that can sense a connection. When sensed, I get a rush of feeling, something that works on its own but gives a sense of pleasure or, in some instances, of pain for what might have existed or been at some place or with some people I had emotionally connected with.

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Jun 17, 2023Liked by Miranda Lapides

One year (a great way to start a story) I was staying in the Monti section of Rome. It was not specifically a Jewish quarter but many Jews had lived there. Today if you ask anyone living there if there any remaining synagogues they will tell you no. There are three. I went through the process of emailing my documents to a rabbi so I could attend a Shabbot service. On Friday night I still had to wait outside for about an hour as the heavily armed military posted at the door were not informed that I would be there. After service the Rabbi invited me to his house for a meal. The only other visitor present was an Orthodox young man from New York City living on the upper west side. We had very different experiences of Rome. For me the churches were filled with astounding beauty. It felt like a vast extension of thought come alive in paint, architecture and sculpture. He would not step into a church and would only peak through the door. Earlier in the week I had asked a church attendant if Jews could keep on their head coverings and was told that if that was part of one’s religion then it was acceptable. At one time in Rome Jews were required to go to church once a week and it must have been frightening knowing that men and women had to disobey their religion, their concept of devotion to god and uncover their heads. Old hippy that I am it must have been “mind altering and frightening.”

I tried going to the synagogue again this February but somehow the process became more convoluted and sadly I gave up, although I tried to incorporate walking by one of the synagogues on my daily walks. There was a haunting quality to it: one that I could relate to.

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Thanks for your story! Do you think going to the synagogue and the process was worth it in the end?

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Definitely worth it!

It is great going to a service in another country. It makes you feel a part of a larger world.

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