In the beginning, there were swirling masses of chaos that were, tohu vavohu, unformed and void. On the first day, these swirling masses of chaos started intensives. And shortly thereafter, first classes. And shortly thereafter, Rosh Hashanah, where these HUC students, these swirling masses of chaos that were, tohu vavohu, unformed and void, were able to pull themselves together and create beautiful moments for communities across the country.
My story of moving from tohu vavohu to, for lack of better term, “more organized chaos” started at my Bar Mitzvah. Rabbi Jon Stein, a graduate of HUC’s New York campus, stood with me on the bimah at our congregation in San Diego and said, “Well, Jeremy, you have a choice: you can be a rabbi or a cantor.” I had never given HUC a thought, and in that moment, Rabbi Stein actually gave me a gift: he planted a seed. It was that day that my interest in my own religious development began to grow. That seed drove me towards NFTY, Hillel, camp, youth work, and eventually, naturally, to HUC.
In the beginning of the program, we often heard the words, “trust the process,” as a way of saying, “That’s a great point, and I know you’re concerned, but eventually, you will learn an order from this experience that seems tohu vavohu.” HUC has allowed me to make a journey from chaos to order. But it also has led to my growth, giving me and my classmates the tools to take on the next generation’s tohu vavohu and help them create their own order from chaos.