They're identical twins in platform shoes and airy skirts, wearing jewelry with mystical designs. If I had to guess their age I'd say they're in their 50s, but they carry themselves like much younger women, brushing back the hair from their face and perching bird-like on their seats during the Kol Nidre service on the eve of Yom Kippur. I don't even know them but I have a feeling they're pretty awesome.
On Saturday afternoon a little girl, maybe three or four, shows up to synagogue wearing shoes with built-in squeakers. Every time she takes a step they let out a loud high chirpy noise. Two questions cross my mind as I try to concentrate on praying: 1) Why would you have your child wear shoes like that to synagogue? 2) Why would you buy shoes like that to begin with? Children are already experts at making noise; they don't need your help.
The first married couple: man and woman stand apart and discuss the pains in their legs and whether there will be rain later in the evening. The second married couple: man and woman sit on a bench, hold hands and say nothing.
The orange-yellow mums in the flower pot by the window look like a multi-faceted sea creature, small insects swimming in and out of it.
Towards the end of the fast on Yom Kippur I'm mellow. During the short afternoon break between synagogue services I sit in a nearby park, where my mind throws open its doors and says, "Welcome world," to the trees, the passing cars and pedestrians.
He speaks eloquently, but his story would have been more powerful had he not ended it with a request for money.
The Hebrew word for 'repentance' is teshuva, which means 'return.' You've gone off course and now it's time to come back. Teshuva is important all year round but is especially emphasized in the 10 days spanning from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. On Sunday we go out to lunch, mindful of what happened last month. But unlike last month there are no fights this time, no recriminations that ruin our plans.