While everyone at home is sleeping or getting up for temple, Adam and I are hanging out at home. It's a little strange to be in a place where everything is "business as usual," especially after 3 years in NY, where even the public school system is closed for Jewish holidays. Luckily, we found an organization called Kehillat Beijing and went to their Erev Rosh Hashanah service last night. Just outside of the subway, a girl stopped us and asked if we knew where the Capital Athletic Club was located, which is where the services are held. She is in college and studying abroad in Beijing for the semster! The 2 of us followed Adam (we should have known better!), and then turned around after she asked someone for directions :)
We got there on Jewish Standard Time after wandering around a bit because it is located in what looks to be a banquet hall in the back of a business center. We met and sat with 2 of Adam's friends from the Fogarty. It felt like we could have been anywhere in the U.S.! The organization brought in a rabbi for the High Holidays; he had a northeastern accent, was pretty relaxed, and definitely wanted to move the service forward to get to the meal. Adam put it best: "I like this style of Judaism!"
There were probably close to 100 people, which is pretty amazing considering we're in the middle of Beijing, China! Most of them were white, though there were several Chinese woman and biracial kids. I was surprised by the number of young people. We met and spoke with a few girls who just graduated from college, but most of them were staying for dinner. (We left because we figured that we would scope it out, and if we liked it, we would go back for Yom Kippur and stay for Break Fast then).
On our walk home, Adam and I talked about the different Jewish services that we have attended over the past few years. This felt the most "homey," probably because it was American-run. It is a comfort to know that this will be here for a small taste of home when the homesickness eventually sets in. For now, I'm looking forward to Yom Kippur at Kehillat Beijing!
(PS: in response to Adam's "Happy New Year" post...that was the best darn mango I've ever eaten!)