October 19, 2006
Grupo Hispano celebrates a buen 5767
(Page 2 - Previous Page)I understood. Beth Shalom may be old-fashioned in some ways, but that's part of what makes it attractive to those who are new to Judaism and come from a culture of faith.
At one Spanish-language service in the ad hoc sanctuary, Alvarado played guitar and sang Hebrew melodies, while Herrera accompanied him on piano. Both are talented musicians. After one exquisitely beautiful Hebrew song, I struggled to hold back tears and there was a deep silence in the room: Everyone needed a few seconds to absorb it.
Suddenly there was a loud whisper: "Awesome!" The Spanish-speaking congregants turned. At the doorway was Steve Baptista, who is neither an elderly Ashkenazi nor a Spanish-speaking member of the Grupo Hispano. He's American-born, a tall, robust, recently retired police officer who took Rabbi Beliak's Introduction to Judaism class several years ago, converted to Judaism and has since served as Beth Shalom's president.
"Awesome," Baptista repeated. "Just... awesome."
Everyone felt it: Awesome. An appropriate word for the Days of Awe.
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