Each time a meet someone new, even now, and they ask if I’m from Albany, I always say “no, I just moved here.” But really, it’s been almost a year. I don’t think I’m allowed to say “just” anymore. I’m having lots of new experiences, even though it’s been just about a year here. Today was another one; heading to a Rosh Hashanah service for the first time in my new city.
Finding a new temple isn’t something I’ve ever done before. When I moved to Rochester, I had the convenience of heading home to be with my family at the Temple I grew up attending. It was familiar, filled with family and friends, and easy. Albany is a little further away, and not a easy to make it home all the time.
I’m fortunate that I had one connection, from my Temple in Buffalo no less, that lives in Albany to help point me in the right direction. We headed into services together, and it felt a little strange. I was walking into a community that wasn’t my own, as much as as I wanted it to be. I looked around with the expectation of seeing people I would know, but of course that wouldn’t be the case. We sat through the service, which of course was the same on paper as any service I went to back home, but it felt different. I didn’t recognize the tunes, unfamiliar faces were reading on the bimah, and there was no one to say goodbye to at the end of the service.
With a new year comes new challenges and new goals, and one of those challenges is going to be finding the community I was so comfortable with for my entire life. It’s not something that comes quickly, but will be something that would be worth the work in the end. It took me a year to get started, because I allowed it to slip to the bottom of my priority list. “Getting settled” and “trying to meet new friends” are no longer excuses after being in Albany for almost a year. This new year means a new goal, and that goal is to be a part of a community beyond the one that my mailing address gives me.