Friday, September 21

Blow, Daddy, Blow!

This evening, as many of you may know, marks the beginning of Yom Kippur. I am friends with and work with lots of Jews. While not an official member of the the Jewish clan, I'm definitely a friend of the clan. They tell me I'm "Jew-ish". I'll take that as a compliment, thank you very much.

Earlier in the week I was talking to a friend I work with named Ralph. He's a very nice, older man who is full of life and a lot of fun and who happens to be Jewish. Since last weekend was Rosh Hashanah, I asked how his New Year had been, knowing full well he certainly had a good time. He said it was wonderful but that on Monday he spoke to a goy (a non-jew) to whom he mentioned being honored with the task of blowing the shofar (pronounced show-far). His gentile friend completely misunderstood Ralph and thought he said he was honored with "blowing the chauffeur". Ralph couldn't understand the long pause on the other end of the line until his friend finally said "I wasn't aware of that tradition." He immediately understood her confusion and went on to explain the tradition of Sounding the Shofar. Ralph and I laughed for a long time over that one.

After retelling Ralph's story to another Jewish friend of mine, she admitted that the similarity between the words shofar and chauffeur had never occurred to her. She then added "I'll never think of a shofar the same again! Thanks a lot!!" She went on to explain that she'd probably never thought about it because she's always so preoccupied with worry for the man who sounds the shofar at her Temple. She said he's a rather portly man and that when he's blowing he turns bright red and she's always certain he's about to keel over from a stroke. On the other hand, she's never heard anyone blow the shofar like him so, the fear is apparently worth it.

When I emailed Ralph today I wrote "Happy day of atonement! I just heard that your fast means NO WATER. Yikes! I'd never make it." I SO wanted to ask if he had to blow the chauffeur again but decided against typing that into a work related email. Ralph would have cracked up but HR might have frowned upon that question. Ralph, and his boss, are always trying to get me to convert. I always tell them "I would but I'm not smart enough." I've explained that I was baptised Catholic but that it "didn't take". They inevitably go on to say something like "Come on over. You'd be such a good Jew. Besides, we atone for all of our sins in only one day a year. It's so much more efficient than all of those pesky Hail Marys and begging for forgiveness every day." Ya know, they've got a good point.

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