Don’t Rain on the Parade

I probably shouldn’t admit it, but occasionally during High Holy Day services, my mind wanders. Sometimes I think about what the holidays were like when I was young. I recall that, through the streets of our predominately Jewish neighborhood, families walked together to the synagogue a few blocks away. There was an unspoken rule then that every person must have a new outfit for the holidays. This included new shoes which often caused great pain during those initial wearings. Stylish hats, gloves and fur stoles (even during Indian summer weather) adorned the women while the men sported fashionable suits and wide-brimmed hats. In order for our new outfits to receive proper admiration, we teenagers paraded in front of the synagogue until someone came out and scolded us. We reluctantly trooped in like a swarm of locusts and joined our parents who gave us dirty looks for not coming in sooner.

I clearly remember that sitting on hard benches in intense heat made it difficult to concentrate on the prayerbook. From those musings, I returned to the present - to the thickly cushioned seat in which I was sitting - to the air conditioning that kept me comfortable and to my grandchildren sitting next to me in what appeared to be last year’s clothes. Although they excuse themselves now and again to go to the restroom, I’m sure it never dawned on them to parade for hours in front of the synagogue. Which all makes me wonder if our spiritual leaders really appreciate just how devout we’ve all become!

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