This past weekend, I visited the synagogue in which I grew up. It was the first time I had visited in a year and I was excited to introduce my baby daughter to friends there.
Before I arrived, I felt a sense of returning home. Once there, I realized how there were many people I did not recognize. Children who were now teenagers and new families who had joined the congregation whom I had never met. It was weird to think that perhaps I felt more at home at my new synagogue in Atlanta than at my former home’s synagogue.
Later on at the reception after prayer services, we were approached by the many people I grew up with whom wanted to meet my baby daughter. It was just as enjoyable and special as I had imagined it would be.
Even with the unfamiliar additions and new developments, there was still a feeling of coming home to my childhood neighborhood. But growing up is all about that transition: moving out, missing your home, and then finding a new place which eventually ends up feeling more homey than your original home.
In any case, I think the extent to which I feel comfortable or alienated in either place has to do more with how AT HOME I feel in MYSELF.