Daily Inspiration: God on the Beach

In southern California where medical marijuana means legally high, is a place called Venice Beach. It’s a touristy little spot where weirdos live on the boardwalk and locals use the bike trail to ride or run to Santa Monica and back. You’d expect the fudge shops, and t-shirt vendors, but what you wouldn’t expect is the “The Shul on the Beach.” 

It’s a Jewish synagogue catering to a small and eclectic crowd of Venice residents, out of towners, and the curious who stumble in on a Saturday morning for the prayer service. Marina knew about it because she grew up in the area. Now she’s back in town visiting her folks and checking out Judaism. She’s married to a Jewish man and determined to explore his religion.  Wherever she goes, she tries out a different congregation. She calls herself a synagogue tourist. 

At the Shul on the Beach, the Rabbi is welcoming. He leads prayers in the traditional way. That means lots of Hebrew, ancient rituals, and a very long worship service. Not everyone is up to the task. Upon entering you’re warned; you’ve got about three-hours ahead of you, feel free to wander in and out. But Marina was in it for the long haul, she sat through services from start to finish. 

Marina wants to share her husband’s heritage. She wants to partake in the gift given by God to the people of Israel: holiness. She continues to look for her entry. The Shul on the Beach was an enlightening experience that took her one step closer. She’ll find another house of worship next Sabbath, she’s figuring it out as she goes along. But one thing she knows for certain: God is with her every step of the way and she’s enjoying it.
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