When we moved to Beacon, as Nathan started to become a toddler, I wanted him to get a Jewish education. And in a small town, the only way to join a Jewish community was through a synagogue. Luckily, the only synagogue in Beacon turned out to be full of open-minded, community-oriented members. So, we felt at home there, even though I was a secular Jew, and Eric, a son of Quakers. We became friends with a lot of them, and with the cantor as well (I talk about Ellen in several chapters).
As I’ve mentioned before, since recovering from my injury I’ve had plenty of time to read. A friend recommended The Weight of Ink, a historical novel about the life of Portuguese Jews in eighteenth-century Europe. As I was reading, I came upon a translation of a song we usually sing at services. I immediately remembered the lyrics and melody, and started singing it in Hebrew. And I felt joy as I sang. The lyrics didn’t matter; picturing myself joining my voice with other voices in the synagogue’s basement brought a sense of comfort. Alone in bed, I traveled to the past, to a small room where I was surrounded by affection.