We spent last night at Temple to kick off the High Holy Days in grand style. For those of you who are not Tribe Members, let me describe some typical (and to some extent, standard) sights and sounds:
1. Well-dressed women in their best jewelry, heels and blow dries with impeccable manicures and pedicures. They are dragging their suited husbands around “air-kissing” everyone and wishing them a very happy new year while discreetly whispering about “Poor Sylvia and did you hear what happened?…”
2. Boys in their first “real suits” that are already too small with fake clip on ties and high water hemmed pants. They are trying not to have to talk to girls.
3. Pre-teen girls in heels that are way too high for them. Their asses rocking violently back and forth on top of shaky ankles and clopping shoes because they don’t have the balance or coordination for Jimmy Choo-ness yet. They are desperately trying to look sophisticated but end up looking less than graceful instead.
4. An elderly man hocking up something phlegm-oriented with all his might during the rabbi’s sermon… Every. Damn. Year.
What was interesting to me (because my G-d it wasn’t the sermon) were some of the more touching and comical images scattered throughout last night.
The grand dame of society tenderly sitting alone with her mother comforting her through her tears as her mom remembered someone who was no longer with us.
The rush to get the hell out of there before the rabbi begins his sermon. (See, the service ends first, then he talks giving people a moment of exit. Odd, I know, but it happens that way.) In the midst of whispers about how terrible it is that all these people are leaving, the sight of a father carrying his terminally ill son out to the car so that it would be easier for them to maneuver rather than fighting a large crowd.
A guy who could have passed as Bill Murray’s twin walking slowly and quietly up the aisle to take his daughter to the restroom and grinning like Carl from Caddyshack on ‘ludes.
The realization that there were many families from New Orleans in the congregation that evening and wondering what they might be praying for silently.
Quite the juxtaposition. Many people look to the rabbi to teach them something profound in his sermon. I find that if people would just look around and observe, the lessons taught by those around us in the congregation are much more powerful (and entertaining).
L’shana Tova Tikatevu – May you have a happy new year and be inscribed in the Book of Life.