Prayer On The Road

In Career, Mental Health on February 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Even on tour, Madonna finds time for G-d.

Dear Yenta,

I am 27 and just got a job that involves traveling. I am from a small Jewish community and am worried about missing Shabbat and feeling isolated. Is there anything you have to offer? My job is based in the US, and only rarely we go abroad.


Wandering Jew

Dear WJ,

Vagabonding is a normal and easy state for some, and rocks the core of others. If you have a Type A personality, the lack of control and structure can be torture. I heard many a story from the Obama campaign about moving and roaming on a nightly basis. A few things in the face of such constant travel can help.

One, a gentleness and kindness with oneself. Keep a journal, bring bath salts, invest in a robe. Two, friends and family. And three, well, G-d. Yes, that three, or in my case, two letter word and the community that goes with it. Church and synagogue, a meditation session, an AA meeting, pick your poison. Whatever it is that reminds you that you are connected to something bigger than the roving body you inhabit will help as you flit across the country and beyond.

In lieu of actual Jewish resources, here is a list of some of my favorite synagogues and communities across America. In addition to these, you can find your own with just a little research. When I was a constant traveler I made sure I went to synagogue every Friday, a meditation center whenever I could find one, and yoga twice a week in a effort to stay as sane as possible. If you call a synagogue in advance and tell them you will be in town on business, I guaruntee they will find a home to host you for a homecooked Shabbos meal. If they don’t, I will cook you dinner myself next time I am in America.

The List:

There is one in practically every city, and they are very welcoming to travelers looking to honor Shabbat.

Adventure Rabbi
This woman brings her torah on ski trips, to hiking summits, etc, and leads services and weddings in the wilderness.
Boulder, CO

Nashuva: A Soulful Community for Prayer in Action
Services involve live music, chanting, silence, etc. Feels like revival.
Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Naomi Levy – famous, particularly for her book “To Begin Again.”

HaMakom: The Place for Passionate and Progressive Judaism
Santa Fe, NM
Led by a lesbian rabbi who leads community discussion and learning as part of the service.

Rabbi Malka Drucker

B’nai Jeshurun
“B’nai Jeshurun is a passionate Jewish community that inspires spiritual searching, lifts the soul, challenges the mind, and requires social responsibility and action.”
New York, NY

Tikkun Leil Shabbat: Songful, soulful sabbath services featuring a teaching about a social justice issue and followed by a potluck vegetarian dinner.
Washington, DC

Bet Mishpachah: An Egalitarian Synagogue Embracing Diversity
GLBT synagogue in DC with services led by congregants. No rabbi.
Washington, DC

Gishmey Bracha: Rain of Blessings
Online resource for spiritual Judaism.
Rabbi Moshe Aharon

Am Hayam: Cape Cod Havurah
Community-led prayer, potlucks, and learning. Mostly elderly, but a terrific model for positive Judaism and community.
Eastham, MA

Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center (Reform)
Services conducted in a circle around a table with a seated female rabbi.
Parsha is delivered in a discussion form with the whole community.
Vineyard Haven, MA

Rabbi Caryn Broitman

Pardes Levavot: A Jewish Renewal Congregation
Lafayette, CO

Rabbis Nadya and Victor Gross

Yesod Foundation: The Reb Zalman Legacy Project

Nevei Kodesh: Jewish Renewal Community of Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, CO

Rabbi Tirzeh Firestone

Fabrangen: An Independent, Egalitarian, Particapatory Havurah
Washington, DC

Have a favorite synagogue or community? Please share!

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Merissa Nathan GersonCreate Your Badge

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