Friday, September 10, 2010

Fun Things To Do On Rosh-Hashana

Hello dahhh-lings!

I have a longer, rambling post about Rosh-Hashana to put up later on, but for the moment I'll content myself with sharing a short, fun activity to try on Rosh-Hashana:

Walk into your local Chabad shul (synagogue) on the second day of New Year's dressed in business pants and patterned top with cleavage showing. Run into that nice lady you met a month ago at an Orthodox Kabbalat Shabbat when you were wearing a long-sleeved dress in the oppressive summer heat. Get that 'hey-I'm-trying-to-show-you-a-friendly-face-but-your-dress-and-clearly-un-halachically-stringent-manner-are-freaking-me-out' smile from her.

Next, as everyone stands up around you, turn towards the men's area (which you can't really see because there's a 7-foot cloth mechitza obstructing your view), and hear the shofar. Marvel at the neat sound coming out of a ram's horn - an animal's body part actually made musical. Think about how it's supposed to be a spiritual alarm clock. Wonder if your spirit will feel awakened. Think about how tinny and unimpressive the shofar's tone actually sounds; sort of like a small, insecure, over-compensating short man. Refocus your thoughts away from sexism & height-prejudice and back toward the positive. Start to drift off and read a poster advertising an upcoming lecture series. Bring your thoughts back to the sound of the shofar. Wonder if this is a healthy commitment to your spirituality or just another attempt to force yourself to like Judaism more than Christianity.

After the shofar blasts end and worshippers turn back towards their tables to sit, refuse the machzor that someone has thoughtfully and kindly offered you to read from. Smile at that nice lady you met at shul last month, who'se still giving you the 'just-keep-smiling-politely-even-though-you-might-as-well-just-have-told-me-you're-a-prostitute' smile. Graciously say, "oh, no, that's ok. I just came to hear the shofar." Then walk back out like you're 007.

I'm sure that one day I'll evolve beyond the thrill of flouting convention for it's own sake. Today is NOT that day.

And as I walked into the fresh September air, which was busy sounding it's own alarm and heralding the arrival of the coming fall season, I couldn't help but wonder -

was it mere coincidence that I'd walked in at exactly the right moment to hear the shofar and then return to my affairs without sitting through a series of long, rambling prayers I didn't much care for? Or had I, in fact, been touched by a Rosh-Hashana angel?

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