This is cross-posted at JWA.
I walk into what is undoubtedly the most beautiful house on campus. Its simplicity allows for the exuberance of the people within it to shine. The rabbi opens the door, a young father of twins, all smiles and joking about having to convince me to attend the university even though my mind was already made up. I follow my friend Tobah, a Conservative Jew who has yet to skip a week of coming to the multi-denominational Havurah, into the living-room-turned-synagogue. We squeeze onto a couch with a sisterhood of freshmen and sophomores who make up the majority of the Kabbalat Shabbat crowd.
The singing begins immediately and I can hear the feminine voices of women who will become my peers high above the few tenors in the room. I notice that the prayer book was published by the university’s Havurah itself, the liturgy and the interpretation unique to the school’s liberal arts academic philosophy. There is a feminist Amidah, as well as stories for each of the matriarchs that accompany those of the patriarchs. This book takes away all the excuses I have used to not pray. As the service continues, I realize that it could not be any other way.
Read the rest here.