Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eruv Shabbos in Lakewood

When I got to Lakewood, I was looking for information for this connection that was supposed to take me by my friend’s house. There I was at the Lakewood bus terminal and I didn’t want to bother them to pick me up. There was supposed to be a bus to take me right near where they lived. I looked and discovered that said bus didn’t come for almost an hour. Great! I was surrounded by the type of people you would expect to see in a bus terminal. I mean, I’ve been around people like that. However, here I was dressed “Jewish” in Lakewood and I heard some whispers about, “there’s one of them…”

Then I realized there was a new dilemma, how was I going to pay for the other ride? I don’t think they’re going to take cash on the bus and there didn’t seem to be a ticket window or information booth inside. There was one Jewish guy there with his kippah on. So, I asked him for advice. He didn’t know but, he offered to drive me when his daughter came. I was thinking to myself, “what if his daughter doesn’t want to take me?” Well, if I can’t figure it out, I guess I could I could call my friend and ask her to come get me. I didn’t want to do that though, because people don’t always have an extra few minutes for something like that right before Shabbos. I’m not so sure that I would.

So, the bus pulled up and the driver got off and closed the doors to the bus. “I’m sorry, can I just ask you a quick question?” Well, everyone in the terminal came over to help, including a security lady. So, while the driver slipped off to, I assume, his break, the security lady showed me the pay-yourself machines inside and told me to get a one-zone ticket.

Phew! I bought my ticket and turned around to catch the bus. A girl (obviously Orthodox) came up to me, “do you need a ride?”

So, I found out that this man was there to pick up his daughter. I had assumed that he had come in on one of the buses for Shabbos and was waiting for his daughter who lived in Lakewood to come get him. Instead, they lived in Lakewood and she had gone away to see some friends and was coming back in time for Shabbos at home. These kind people will probably never know how much their kindness meant to me.

You see, when I picked out my Jewish neighborhood, I didn’t pick so well. Where I live, the handful of religious families cluster together and the rest of us who are singles without a family are left in the dark. People ask me all the time, “you don’t have a family in your area to go to for Shabbos?” I do not. Instead, I go away for Shabbos almost every single week. If I don’t go away, I cook some food for myself and eat by myself. The only other option is to walk about two miles or more for hospitality. Mind you, I live in a Jewish community. In fact, the shul I attend sometimes when I’m home is four tenths of a mile from me.

So, anyway, that’s enough of that venting. These kind people took me to my friend’s house. I received the warmest welcome from my friend, “thank you so much for coming! I’m so happy to have you for Shabbos. Let me show you to the guest area…” I got ready for Shabbos. I went to look for my friend and saw her husband but not her. So, I went back to the guest room for a little bit.

1 comment:

  1. That definitely sounds frustrating, but at least you made it safely.

    The idea of community I have come to realize is so huge. A host family puts me up in the community almost every week. When they have a bunch of people over the time flies, when its just us, especially with Havdallah so late, the day can definitely crawl.