It Takes a Chevra

Contributed by Linda Lingle

It was with great pleasure and a sense of accomplishment that I participated in our recent Shabbat service that shined a light on the various Jewish educational opportunities available to Sof Ma’arav congregants.

Since moving home last year after spending a couple years on the mainland, I have participated in biblical Hebrew language class, Talmud and Torah studies, and Trope class. I delivered my first drash in December, and this past week during the Shabbat service, I had the privilege of reading from the Torah for the first time.

While delivering my first drash and reading from the Torah took a bit of courage, it was a lot less than you may think. Although I had never even heard the terms “drash” and “trope” before joining Sof Ma’arav in April of last year, the support and encouragement of my teachers, Don and Sandy Armstrong, as well as the camaraderie of my classmates and other synagogue members boosted my courage.

In addition, my dear friend and first Hebrew teacher, Sharon Snyder, of Temple Israel in Springfield, Illinois, continues to help me by recording her beautiful voice singing the tropes I have been trying to learn.

But it doesn’t stop there. There are Gregg and Dina leading our Talmud and Torah classes along with our regulars who always raise fascinating questions: Mat, Sid, Jay, Les, Bill, Fran, Sandy, and Sally. My classmates in the intermediate biblical Hebrew and trope classes include: Risa, Les, Bill, Tamar, Jessie, Michelle, Hefcibah, Sharon, Carolann and teaching assistant Lorna.

I am also grateful to Dr. Littman for the extra background he provides on so many occasions during Torah service, as well as the many others who help lead services week in and week out so the rest of us can participate in the mitzvot of Shabbat and Torah.

You have each been an inspiration and support to me as I continue my journey of discovering all that our beautiful Judaism has to offer each of us.

I hope the two points I have tried to communicate have been made—should you want to begin your own journey there will be many of us here to help and support you; and if I can do it, you can do it.

It takes a chevra, and we are it!

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