Check Cell Phones On Rosh Hashanah

I saw one guy at an Orthodox service on Rosh Hashanah who refused to wear a kipah.

He told me he "didn’t feel the need."

I want to shove him out the door. I wanted to be the one kicking somebody else out of shul, but I controlled myself, keenly aware of my own vulnerabilities.

From the New York Times:

Standing on the sidewalk outside the Park Avenue Synagogue after attending a service on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, Joel Beeler said, “I feel troubled.”

Mr. Beeler is a real estate investor who has been trying to line up financing for a shopping center project. He said that an hour on the phone with a banker before the service had been fruitless. But he said he was not just thinking about the deal.

“I’m praying for the whole world and the country,” he said as he headed to his office.

Escaping the worries of a chaotic world is often difficult in New York — a single ringing iPhone can spoil the quietest moments of a concert at Lincoln Center; a vibrating BlackBerry can deliver a message upsetting enough to make someone climb over a row of people and leave a Broadway show to go back to the office.

But this week, perhaps more than most, it was hard to check one’s worries at the door, hard to concentrate on what it means to mark a religious holiday during a financial crisis.

Some worshipers arrived at Rosh Hashana services carrying The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. Others slipped out from time to time to check their voice mail and e-mail messages.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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