I just survived Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. I’ve never been religious but Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Aaron insisted on going. Well they didn’t insist so much as they guilted. It’s been great staying with them for no rent, but it makes it hard to say no to anything. They seemed disappointed my mother for never made me go to temple and so Aunt Rebecca has taken it on as a personal duty to inspire me in the ways of “G-d.”
The overbearing Jewish guilt paired with the lack of alcohol hasn’t been a pleasant combination. With no friends to drive and no bars within walking distance of the New Rochelle residence, I’ve been sol. The beginning of any move is difficult. Being robbed of ones coping mechanism is damn near impossible. While I was in the city looking for a job, I’ve considered picking up a small bottle of Evan Williams. And even as cheap as it is, I’m in survival mode until I find a job.
Back to Yom Kippur. As we sat in the Synagogue 30 minutes early (to get good seats) the Rabbi, a thin neurotic woman (the female version of Woody Allen) asked us if we’d like to read or hold the Torah or whatever. Uncle Aaron volunteered me saying “it would be a good way for some of the Jewish boys to notice me.” Yes. Every Jewish boy is looking for a skinny, bored, and barely Jewish girl holding a Torah.
I was handed a slip of paper which told me when to present
myself. But it seemed like I would be spared as the Rabbi railroaded past my page number on by a few prayers. Just as I was sure of my salvation, the Rabbi stopped mid Kaddish to apologize for robbing me of my sacred right and invented another moment for me to hold the sacred scrolls.
Poised and on display, the Torah is much heavier than one would think. I was once told that they cost $10,000 as they are hand written. Bearing my cross (sorry for the metaphor) I considered the possibility that what I was holding was more than an overpriced relic. I pretended the scrolls were every bit as holy as an orthodox Hassidim might esteem them to be. I pondered what I was bearing in my arms, struggling to support, might be a direct telephone to “G-d.” At that moment my heart started to pound and I got very angry. If He or She or Whatever did exist, and was watching out for me, why had He/She/It been so silent? Why for all the times I did breakdown and pray was I ignored? Why do I have epilepsy? Why am I so alone? And at that moment I wanted to throw the Torah on the ground and storm out.
Then the Rabbi thanked me. I laid the Torah down as carefully as a mother would her ill infant and sat down. Uncle Aaron patted my thigh and said “Good job, kid.”
–(Insert clever signature here)
P.S. Check out good ol’ Cyanide and Happiness. Makes me smile.