Israel Independence Day

Sometimes open worship is hard for me to sit still in, I want to MOVE!!! I will openly admit, this does detract from my being a good Quaker. Recently I was putting on some perfume and a fellow Quaker asked me, “You weren’t raised a Quaker, were you?” I confirmed this and she responded many Quakers don’t wear perfume at conferences because so many people have medical problems with the scents. I don’t know how many wear perfume at home but I thought this quite funny- that someone could tell I was not raised a Quaker by the small habits I do within my day. So I will tell you, there are things I do and believe that deviate from “historical Quakerism”. On top of that, being a Quaker is only a part of my life, it does not define who I am or my spirituality. It is an ingredient among others.

For example, back to open worship this morning, I wanted to stretch out my arms and legs, I wanted to play, I wanted to worship God with my body! This morning was one of those mornings. I wiggled, I tapped my feet, I shifted, I looked around, I thought about all the things that are swirling around in my life and I looked at the clock, several times. One person spoke about how worship was work and sometimes she didn’t want to do it. I was appropriately chastised, (though I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way), but it didn’t help my wiggles. Worshipping was not the problem. Sitting still the whole time was my difficulty. Being inside was hard. I thought about going to the art table and painting something but wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. What I really wanted to do was dance!

At five till twelve, we ended it, I made my announcement about the upcoming writer’s night, and I was out of there like a shot out of a cannon. My destination as I raced through the town was the Jewish temple I attend. (Another large ingrediant.) I had told my friend, Stacey, earlier that morning I would meet her there to show her the quilt I had just finished and join her for Israeli dancing as it is Israeli’s Independence Day. When I got there, I showed her the quilt first then we walked over to where people were eating lunch outside and drinking strawberry lemonades. They had already set up a speaker and cordless microphone for the music. While Stacey put on the microphone, I talked with her sister-in-law and parents-in-law, all fantastic people I am blessed to know.

We started first with “Mayim”, a song about water, quite appropriate since it is a beautiful blue sky afternoon. It was so fun to finally MOVE! We danced with grapevines, trachezias, kicks, claps, and shouts! Sometimes we snapped, sometimes we wiggled our toushies, but all of the time, we had fun! We were joyful! Some of my favorites are Yo-Ya and Zodiac. Stacey and I had turned Zodiac into a tap dancing duet last year and performed it at the World Beat Festival. It has always since been one of my favorites.

I enjoy my Quaker meeting, I do. That is why I go. They are the place I am growing out of. But quite frankly, they can be a quiet, subdued bunch and I am much more outgoing, even flamboyant. That is why I was surprised to discover on my recent travels that Quakers in general, are touchy-feely. My meeting is not touchy-feely. Judaism tends to be more robust, more gregarious, more joy-filled. At least where you can see it. So my meeting may be where I’m planted, but my branches are reaching out to many places. I feel quite at home at temple with my fellow Jews and this afternoon was a wonderful reminder of why. I value both Quakerism and Judiasm and hold them in each hand, not letting one overshadow the other, but living in paradoxical tandem. After all, truth is often found it the tension between two other truths. This, I know to be true as I worship God in silence and in dance.

One Comment on “Israel Independence Day

  1. When my work days were more sedentary, I went to Tae Kwon Do class in the evenings. These classes were normally very strenuous. Now my regular job provides me with lots of exercise. Sitting still in Quaker meeting is not difficult for me because of what I do the rest of the week.
    I think that people dancing like in the pictures of the site is the result of culture that has approved of it for centuries, and is a sign of intelligence and vitality to a degree well beyond anything I have much experience with.

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