“My first service at TBE was Selichot, the late-night penitential prayer service that begins the Days of Awe. ‘I, of little merit, stand before You,’ I whispered, taken from the pages of the holy machzor. I was 32 years old, confident in my ability to lead the congregation, but subconsciously scared to actually do it. I nervously ascended the bimah. I stood before the open ark, admiring the scrolls that I would soon get to know, each beautiful letter, each dent in the silver ornaments. I reached out my arms and gently embraced the center scroll, wrapping it lovingly in my arms, when suddenly, I felt a strange sensation scurrying down my arm. Was it a sign from God? I wondered.
It was at this moment that I knew that my rabbinate at TBE would be filled with the surprises of the sacred. It was a squirrel that had popped out from the Torah and traveled down my arm. Surely, God is in this place, I told myself. This is indeed a beit Elohim!”
As Selichot and the Days of Awe approach, we’re excited to share Rabbi Sisenwine’s reflection on his first Selichot at TBE! You can read his whole reflection in The Story of TBE, a history of our synagogue compiled when we moved into our new makom in 2010. The accompanying photo is from when we moved into our new makom.