Saturday, September 25, 2004

Yom Kippur at the Church

It was so OBVIOUS that the Oh So Feisty One wasn't going to school when she gracefully threw up in the hallway and proceeded to look extremely pasty-faced and sad. Within an hour she was requesting rainbow sprinkled chocolate Krispy Kremes from MOJO (request refused) but still didn't feel quite well enough for second grade. Groovy Aunt visited the under-the-weather-one and spent an hour or more reading "The Grim Grotto," and overseeing specialized art activities.

BEAUTIFUL SMILE appeared like an apparition by mid-morning and Smartmom was able to go to the office to GET SOME WORK DONE. Her mother, Groovy Grandma, came ALL THE WAY from the Upper West Side, for their regular Friday lunch at the SECOND STREET CAFE. At lunch, they discussed the courses in Greek Architecture, and The Avante Garde that Groovy Grandma is auditing at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. They also covered hair highlights and various in-laws and friends, gabbing like mad until Groovy Aunt showed up for a cup of pea soup and some more family dish.

Afterschool, Teen Spirit and Red, his friend from down the street, took the subway BY THEMSELVES to their Writing Comics class at CREATIVE ARTS on Smith Street. Groovy Grandma did some stamp art wth the Oh So Feisty One, but by 4:30, had to return to Manhattan. OSFO, completely recovered from the morning's stomach ache, went for a speedy bike ride up and down third street. Did you hear, she rides a two-wheeler now? Smartmom, OSFO, and bike (WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS, did you hear?) went to SZECHUAN DELIGHT to pick up Chicken and Brocolli in White Sauce and General Tso's Chicken for a quick dinner before the night's Yom Kippur service.

Before long it was time to dress-up for the service at the MISSION FOR TODAY CHURCH. Yom Kippur at a church, you say. This requires some clarification. KOLOT CHAYENU, a local and very progressive Jewish congregation usually meets in a smaller space (also in a church) But on the high holidays, they rent one of the biggest churches in Park Slope for their very popular services and simply cover up the crosses.

Smartmom, Hepcat and OSFO, wearing her spunky pink skort and monogrammed shirt, walked over to the service without Teen Spirit, who declined this year after being bored out of his wits at last year's service. Hepcat, wearing sandals and not the forbidden leather footwear, is a very good Jew despite his Presbeyterian upbringing. They were utterly SHOCKED to see a line that snaked from the MISSION FOR TODAY CHURCH door at 2nd Street and Sixth Avenue ALL THE WAY across to Third Street and three quarters of the way to Fifth Avenue. Now that's a lot of Jews and others waiting to atone for their sins!!!! KOLOT CHAYENU doesn't do the high holidays ticket thing. Instead, they like to welcome all who wish to come.

The line reminded Hepcat of his days at Studio 54, Danceteria and Area, famously hip clubs of the late 1970's. He regaled Smartmom with tales of his younger, more flamboyant youth as a roller skating club boy. Unlike those clubs, KOLOT CHAYENU didn't have to turn anyone away as the church holds one thousand people. The three were finally seated just outside of the church sanctuary right by the fire door, where they could barely see the rabbi but heard everything just fine.

The Kol Nidre with it's gorgeous, sad melody was beautifully sung by the female cantor who was accompanied by a cellist. Rabbi Ellen Lippman gave a well-written sermon on the power of something she called, the politics of the small. That is, the small ways that thoughtful (and progressive) humans can hope to offset the tragic violence and hatred that seems rampant in the world these day. DON'T FORGET TO VOTE ON NOVEMBER 2nd.

The Oh So Feisty One, who'd brought her drawing notebook, wasn't antsy at all during the three hour service and did not once ask to leave. Smartmom was PROUD.

Tired doesn't begin to describe the OSFO and Smartmom after the service. Everyone was in pajamas and ready for slumber by 11 p.m. Except, of course, Hepcat and Teen Spirit, who seem to do their best thinking in the midnight hours. Rock on, boys. Rock on.


At 10:51 PM, Blogger NewMan said...

from far off africa i reached your site, how?why? those are other stories.
But where can i find more about kolot chayenu. Sound like a form of spiritual and religious practice which might suit my ''very progressive'' heart.

Richard Newman
(Rabbi, MA, Opera Singer, Necrographer,Engineer, Teacher)

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