Tonight we went to our synagogue for Friday night services. It is Shabbat (Sabbath). We rarely go to temple.....Saturday mornings are always full from horseback therapy for A and sports for D, and Friday night services usually start too late. They have a Rockin' Shabbat once a month, which is geared toward kids (a band plays, there is dancing...much more kid-friendly than sitting through a dry, regular service) but it usually starts at 6 or 6:30, and my kids are in bed by 7. So we just don't go. Frankly, the bottom line is that it isn't important to us; if it were, we'd make the time to go, bedtime be damned.
However, these days I've been worried about the lack of Judaism in my kids' lives. Don't get me wrong...we have a very Jewish home, celebrate Shabbat every week (even with homemade challah that I make!) and do all the holidays. So "lack" is probably the wrong word to use. But D used to go to a Jewish preschool, where he got all-Judaism-all-the-time, and now he is in a public kindergarten, and is one of only 2 Jewish kids in his class. He did start Sunday school this year, which is great, and he not only gets to see his friends from preschool there, but he has continued his Jewish learning. But it's not the same as getting it on a daily basis.
However, A isn't even at the Jewish preschool! She is at an amazing preschool, which has a famous inclusion program. It is so much more geared toward her needs than our synagogue preschool ever could be---but it is based at a Presbyterian church. Our rabbis allow me to take A on Friday mornings to the preschool to sit in on the weekly "Shabbat with the Rabbi"....which is something, but not really much compared to all the Jewish learning D got.
Anyhow, our synagogue recently started a monthly service that meets on the fourth Friday of the month...an early service, at 5:45 pm, for only 20 minutes, and it's for preschoolers. I thought it would be great to check it out tonight, for both D and A, both of whom could use more Jewish exposure. It was amazing! A woman played guitar, the rabbi led songs both for Shabbat and the upcoming holiday of Passover, and the kids got to dance up front, on the bima.
The reason I'm relaying this story in my blog is not because it was so great to go to Friday night services after many years of not going, even though it was great to go. I'm telling the story because of my miracle baby, A. She was UP on the bima tonight, "helping" to light the candles, dancing, singing, running after the other children...in short, she was "just one of the kids". A few months ago (don't forget she has only been walking for 2 months, and standing still in one spot for about 1 month) this wouldn't have happened. She'd have crawled up there, and then crawled after the kids. But tonight, she walked, she stood, she dance, she chased. The tears I cried were happy ones.
I look forward to more of these monthly preschool services....it was great for my entire family!