A little bit of Israel in the South?

Coming down to South Carolina, I figured that we’d be in for a less diverse community than the one we had left in Ann Arbor. And true to my expectations, for the most part, people down here are basically white Christians, and the culture is fairly homogeneous. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a little bit of diversity in the form of some Jewish discoveries I have made in the past few weeks. While on a search for free wi-fi a few weeks ago, I stumbled in to a bagel place by my apartment called Greenfield’s Bagels. The walls were adorned with all sorts of different Jewish knick knacks (my personal favorite, a photo of a beagle wearing a kippa) and signs for Hebrew National hot dogs. I felt obligated to buy something since I was using the wi-fi, so I got a cheese bagel toasted with butter. Honestly, this was the BEST bagel I have ever had in my life, so amazing, and I also talked to the owner, who was super nice. I brought Cam back with me that weekend, and he is now obsessed with this place. Like he wants to go there every single weekend to get a Ruben and always ends up buying a half a dozen bagels (so much for cutting down on the carbs!). While it’s no Zingerman’s, it’s great to have a place in our neck of the woods that even comes close!

On that note, Cam and I had quite the interesting experience last Friday when we attended a Messianic Jewish congregation about 20 minutes from our house. For those of you who are familiar, Messianic Jews are Jews who believe in Jesus, or Yeshua in Hebrew, and worship in a style that celebrates, not abandons the Hebraic roots of our faith. A few weeks ago, I happened to flip past a commercial on TV for a Messianic Congregation. My mom attends one of these in West Bloomfield, but I was surprised to find something like this in South Carolina, so Cam and I decided to check it out. They hold their services on Friday evening, the traditional Jewish start of Shabbat, and incorporate Hebrew in their services. Cam and I weren’t sure what to expect, but were really interested to find out more about it, especially after Melissa’s time spent in Jerusalem this summer. It was a long service, different then we were used to, but it was really neat. After the service, the congregation shares in a potluck meal together, and everyone was very welcoming to us. (They even gave us a loaf of challah for visiting, which we ended up using later that weekend to make french toast–so good!) While I don’t know if we’ll go there all the time, I am glad we went and am hoping to go back for some of the high holy days coming up in the fall! The Lord really has a sense of humor that after all my years in Ann Arbor at “Jew of M,” a place with a huge Jewish population, here I am in South Carolina eating bagels and going to temple. L’Chaim!