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October 14, 2005


I can eat again! The sun set in Winnipeg at approximately 6:45PM yesterday evening, bringing to a close 24 hours of no food, no water, no sex (big deal; I'm staying with my parents), and, bringing me the most difficulty, no coffee. Yom Kippur is the most holy of all the holidays on the Jewish calendar. Because we're Jews, the most holy is, of course, the most difficult.

"May your Yom Kippur be filled with guilt and misery," was my e-mail greeting to close friend and nemesis AlefAlef back in Toronto. "May yours be even worse!" was his response. The greetings were tongue in cheek. No one really wishes anyone pain on Yom Kippur, the day when we atone for our sins from the previous year. But it is a festival with neither rejoicing nor celebration. The most anyone can wish for someone else is an easy fast.

Wednesday evening and all day yesterday were indeed filled with misery due to an incompetent khazan, kind of the equivalent of a choir director but without the choir ... usually. Usually, because choirs are not normally part of a traditional service. This khazan decided to introduce us to an assemblage of dedicated, enthusiastic, and utterly talentless people who screeched and yowled fervently like a crowd of cats trapped together into a cage. Albatrossing above them was the khazan himself, straining every nerve - his and ours - to extend his limited vocal register above and beyond what adolescence had given him. Peace with God was heard to reach through the cacophony.

My parents' congregation is one that believes in a lot of audience participation. Various prayers and readings are assigned to captive congregants to be read to the rest of the crowd. I was assigned an uplifting passage that began "We are feeble" and continued on from that inspirational tidbit, reminding us that all dreams and desires come to naught, that we will all die and be as if we had never been, and that life was one long path of suffering and pain. Party!

A few minutes after the reading, I had an illogical fit of the giggles and had to hunch over and look really really really observant to hide them. It's a good thing I was in the process of making peace with God at the time.

One blast of tekia gdola on the shofar and it finally ended. I could eat again! I abandoned my parents to a break fast at the president of the congregations with the Rabbi and a bunch of other high-up muckety-mucks from the synagogue. I went to my sister’s and we stuffed ourselves silly. Got tummy aches, and watched "The Apprentice". That lazy, snotty Toral deserved to be kicked off. Man, does she ever need to make a lot of peace.