A few months ago, Holly asked to photograph me and to accompany me to shul.
Though I said yes with enthusiasm, she’s been too busy to do anything about her plans.
On Sunday, June 8, she took me to lunch (MIlk N Honey) for my birthday.
I told her that that night would be a good time to accompany me to shul.
She came back at 9 p.m. and walked with me to Beth Am.
None of the Orthodox shuls start their Shuvuot programming until 11 p.m. to leave time for a proper meal (kiddish can’t be recited prior to 7:46 p.m.). Most Conservative Jews don’t bother having a Shabbos dinner or a holiday dinner, so they’re free to start their Shuvuot programming earlier.
In the opening session, rabbis Sharon Brous, Perry Netter and Dan Greyber discussed the (allegedly) deteriorating quality of public discourse. I felt proud having such wise and good people articulate a Jewish perspective before Holly.
She found it amusing that the rabbis were busy condemning baseless slander as I am the biggest slanderer she knows.
Holly’s never been to a religious service, not Christian and not Jewish. Prior to her AA meetings, she’d never even been inside a synagogue or church.
She’s a total pagan and is jolly lucky to have me in her life for some Godly influence.
At 11 p.m. we hit the snack tables. Despite our big lunch (I had a vegie burger and an entire plate of fries, didn’t offer Holly any, and she had some Asian-style salmon, then no dinner), Holly chows down. She asks me to snag her various kinds of cheeses. Then she devours many of the offerings on the dried fruit stand.
"Did you know that Amber Lynn is back?" she asked.
"She signed a contract with Zero Tolerance."
Holly caught me up on all the industry gossip while Godly people all around me probed for the deeper meanings of Torah.
We walked back to the hovel. I pushed Holly for her impressions of shul. She noted that nobody greeted her. It was an insular crowd. She contrasted it unfavorably with AA where the attitude is, "The bigger your problems, the more we love you."
"That’s not a Jewish attitude," I said. "Jews are elitist. The more religious you go in Jewish life, the more hierarchical it gets."
I shared with Holly some of my hopes and dreams.
"You enjoy wallowing in your depravity more than anybody I know," she said.
As we said goodbye, she gave me two bottles of an expensive water, a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
On Monday, Holly got this email: "Crazy question, Holly: Were you at the Shavout learning session at Beth Am last night? A Suze member."