Friday, September 18, 2009

L'Shanah tovah, y'all! שנה טובה

The Lord spoke to Moses saying: Speak to the people of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of complete rest, a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts. You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall present the Lord's offering by fire.--Leviticus 23:23-25

Today is New Year's Eve, or Erev Rosh Hashanah, for at least half of my household. What does that mean for me? Well, it means that I will be baking hallah this evening. See, she rests.... and I do the work. :)

It was the Erev Rosh Hashanah service in 2003 that started my partner on her new faith path. She wanted to check it out, and I agreed to go along with her to Temple Israel. We found out that we needed "tickets" to be admitted through the front door, and since we had none, we were sent to the back door. I "harumphed" and both of us went around the side of the building. There was a sheriff's deputy standing by and the man at the door wanted to see our driver's licenses or some other photo ID. My partner didn't have hers, and I was reaching to get mine when the man looked at me, eyes widening, smile broadening, and exclaimed:

"I know you! You're Susan Gage! I LOVED your show!!" (a reference to my performance piece "Susan Gage: Term-limited"). My partner, realizing that I had an "in" with the door man immediately exclaimed that she was with me! I talked with the guy a little bit, and learned his background as a state employee who had witnessed the destructive behavior of Governor Jeb! Bush's administration; hence he had not only heard me on the radio, but he also had appreciated the swipes I took at our boorish Governor in my show. And he let us through with no further need to prove we weren't there to cause trouble.

The place was packed! We took seats in the back room that had been opened to expand the sanctuary. My partner reveled in and sobbed through this very, very, verrry long service. I, on the other hand, was confused. The music was nice, but I didn't know what was being said half the time, and what I did understand didn't sound too far off from what I had remembered from my upbringing in the Episcopal Church. Lots of God, lots of praise to God. She was taken. I was still drifting.

Erev Rosh Hashanah was a marker for her faith journey, and a new turn down our road together. I make a point of going to Rosh Hashanah services to hear the blast of the shofar, and the re-telling of the story of Abraham and Isaac... where the only and beloved son is NOT sacrificed... and to hear the music. My partner has joined the choir, literally and figuratively, at the Temple. And I bake the hallah, and dip my apple slices in honey, in sweet remembrance of the first turn toward God for our household.

L'Shana tovah.


Anonymous said...

I loved this remembrance for you and it is new for me. However, I too, enjoyed attending the service when I lived in Tallahassee when Daddy was down there (and so sick) but it meant a lot to me and I too dipped apple slices in honey and partook of challah. I loved the blast of the shofar as well.

Happy New Year!


frdougal said...

This is really a rather lovely story. Thanks for it.

SCG said...

You're welcome, frdougal!
And Peggins: I'm amazed you never heard this one. Well, as the late Paul Harvey used to say, "And that's the rest of the story!"