Thursday, October 9, 2008

Of White tunics, sneakers, forgiveness, challah and cookies

For all of my non-Jewish readers, there is only one holiday that I could be referring to in the above title: Yom Kippur. The day of judgement. Of atonement. The Holiest of Holy Days. And so on and so forth.

To quickly decode, the white tunics are what rabbis and cantors wear (instead of the customary black ones), sneakers are favored by some because of the custom not to wear leather, forgiveness is what we ask from other humans and one divine being, and challah and cookies (as well as bagels, lox, quiche or other egg based foods) are often what await after abstaining from any food or drink for 24 hours. Actually, it often ends up being more like 27 hours.

I am currently not a religious man. But I am a creature of habit and an occasional follower of cultural customs. Both habits and cultural customs die hard. So while I did not attend synagogue on Yom Kippur for the first time since living in Sevilla nine years ago, I did fast for the day while working in the wine shop. Unfortunately that meant that I could not sample some new Spanish releases from De Maison, or taste a line-up of whiskies from Dewar Rattray. Somehow, though, I do feel like I made the right call. Jewish guilt? Maybe. All I know is that I kept the 16 year streak alive. Hate all you want, you hating non-practicing Jews. I forgive you.

Happy New Year.