Monday, June 15, 2009
Beat of the Same Drum.
Slap me silly and call me crazy, but I love Waterbury, Connecticut.
When I told people that Tuvia and I were going on Sunday to visit, the initial reaction was "Seriously?" and "You can't move there" and "They're black hat, yeshivish, you could never fit in there." So I went in a little closed, a little cautious. The defense was most certainly up. We arrived atop this gigantic hill in a housing development that is slowly going up for the Orthodox Jewish community. There were maybe 10-12 houses already built with another couple dozen in the works as soon as buyers pop up. The couple we were visiting were put in touch with Tuvia through a blog reader who so graciously made the connection. We arrived to freshly baked muffins and the kindest and most welcoming couple. They were ready, without reservation, to welcome us into their home, take us around town, introduce us to their friends and rabbi, and that they did.
We visited the grocery store to see the kosher options (outstanding), a deli (fried chicken and fries for $4.95? yes!), the rabbi's house (where we were given pastries and welcomed with an incomparable eagerness), the yeshivah, the school, the shul, and we landed at last at the newly opened pizza place where I took part in the most delicious piece of cheese pizza!
Yes, it's a very frum community, but they're so devoted to growth, to maintaining friendships and family, to Torah, mitzvot, to a Jewish life. It wasn't scary, pushy, or too far off the right wing plank for us. In fact, it was kind of refreshing.
Am I nuts?
There's something beautiful about living where everyone is sort of rocking the same tune. I love the diversity of the community I'm currently in -- some drive to shul, some don't, some are shomer Shabbos, some aren't, some are kosher in the home and some are vegetarian out. I respect the rights of everyone to do what is right for them Jewishly -- it's the beauty of the Jewish community! But there's something nice about being someplace where everyone's rocking the same hashkafah, where everyone's kind of in tune with each other. It's possible to be in-tune without being drones, and that's not what I'm getting at.
Am I making sense here?
At any rate, it was an outstanding experience, followed by a hike at Sleeping Giant State Park with the Young Adults Club from my shul and a good-gone-bad dinner at Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven, CT (a kosher, veggie joint where it took us more than an hour to get all of our food -- UGH). Here are a few photos of our adventure.
There are more photos, of course, up at my personalized Facebook page!