I lived across from a Jewish Synagogue

When I was a little girl, most of my childhood we lived in Jersey City, New Jersey. At one point we lived across the street from a Jewish Synagogue. I was approximately there from the ages of 9-12.

I can't tell you exactly when I read 'The Diary of Anne Frank', but when I did, I know I cried. Was it before or after this place, across the street? I'm not sure. Somehow though, seeing and knowing it was there, brought me comfort.

In this place we lived in, which was about 100 years old, we had several strange and unexplainable occurrences. Non-functioning doors constructed from an old, heavy wood, would suddenly move along with knocking from an invisible hand. We were in the room of the other side of the door. The knocking would come from 'someone' standing in the empty hallway. There was no one there. 

The television would turn on, and I know at least once I tried explaining to myself why I was seeing a shadow of a little girls dress. I tried explaining to myself that it must be a shadow cast from the street light, into my window, and that I must have a dress of mine hanging somewhere. In the end it just didn't make sense.

After a few years, moving away to upstate New York, beginning a different life, you naturally begin to forget the places you lived in before. This place, our home from that piece of my childhood, is actually the only one that shows up in my dreams....often. I don't know the history of that place, the people and lives that existed there before us, but my 'imagination' could put together a story.

And today, I'm thinking about it and that lovely Synagogue across the street. Because today, I remembered a dream that I had years later, and other bits and pieces from this life.

I'm American. I'm not Native American. Which means that my ancestors 'arrived' in the U.S.A., like the majority of Americans today. My family is most recently from the Carribean - Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. And I'm brown.

In this one dream though, I was not. And neither was my family or people who were around me in this dream. There was snow outside, in a European city, and it was night time. We were hiding. 

Normally I remember details quite well...but this ones different. It was very emotional and heavy, but in trying to remember it, it's just not happening. Like saying, 'let's not go there again.'  I acknowledged this experience today. And sent as much love I can to that time.

And then I connected my moving here, to Switzerland. Before the chance or idea of moving to Europe crossed my path, I remember wondering (with a far from friendly question mark) why anyone would purposely learn German. Not long after, I fell in love with someone from Switzerland. I knew immediately that I would pack everything up to live with him. As I prepared myself for an international move, packing and giving belongings away...I came to a screeching, inner halt. I talked to my friends and told them my new fear. I wasn't afraid to leave my family and the life I came to know (in then Texas), to go to a new and foreign country.  I wasn't afraid to leave the job that I grew to love. I was afraid....I was really afraid, to learn German.

They told me that it made no sense. After all, I was far from Jewish. And everything would be fine. I got it, and that was just what I needed to hear at that moment. Something inside clicked and I was able to make my move without that fear attached. 

Here I am, 15 or 16 years later, remembering that lovely Jewish Synangogue. I'm remembering that Now I'm free to come out and experience life. To that time, which called for attention today - may you enjoy the pink, blue, and yellow balloons, the dolls and toy cars. Most importantly feel safe and comforted Now, in all of the Love that embraces you.