Out of the Way, Into the Heart

By Rivky Spivak

I’ve always been most drawn to the Kol Nidre service; my experience of it feels deeply spiritual and warmly enveloping. The most memorable one for me – up to this point – was the year I found a synagogue I’d never been to that was somewhat out of the way. I came upon this synagogue almost by chance when I was off from work on Erev Yom Kippur, and had biked over to drop off food for my sister before the fast.

The building she worked in at the time was in an area I would not have expected to see a synagogue, yet there it was nestled a quarter-way down the block, flanked by an apartment building on one side and residential homes on the other. I went home to do some research and found out that the area used to be a thriving Jewish community in the 1940s and 50s, and this synagogue was still around from that time.

For Kol Nidre that year, I joined a small group of people whom I had never met before in prayer and song. In this quiet little synagogue, with just a few of us there clearly coming from all kinds of different backgrounds, we stood together as the Hazzan’s voice soared with such feeling and emotion that the experience was quite ethereal and almost impossible to capture in words. My one unplanned Yom Kippur turned out to be my most memorable one!

About Rivky Spivak

Rivky is BJ’s Membership Operations and Programs Manager. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and later moved to Minnesota where she went to school, before returning to the Big Apple. In the past 5-6 years, she moved into the non-profit world where she found her calling in community and membership engagement. Rivky currently resides in Bayonne, NJ, with her husband and almost 3-year-old son.