Monday night. Fifty five degrees out. Too cold. Staying in. Running late. What’s the use of going to shul?

Tuesday morning. Failure. Failure. Failure. I feel like a failure. I feel like I’m swirling down the toilet of life.

On that happy note, let’s go to shul.

Tuesday night. I’m swirling. I’m swinging. I’m spinning. I’m the outside man on a daisy wheel and we’re racing around the bima. As the outside man, I have to cover more ground. I have to run faster. I have to avoid crashing into the ark and through the mehitza into the ladies’ section.

I’m spinning faster and faster. If I let go, I’ll spin out of control. I’ll crash and burn.

I must hold tight.

I mustn’t let go.

Must not.


Ten PM. Fifth hakafot. Time for a change.

I stride east on Pico Blvd and then south on Robertson to the Shtibl Minyan. There’s a high level of fervor. Men dance with women and the Torah. There’s a Sikh bloke with a purple turban. I wonder if he was born Jewish?

There’s divrei Torah about finding a place for women in the tradition. The crowd is largely American Jewish University students and faculty and friends and lovers.

These were once my people.

I feel renewed hope for the Conservative movement. It will be blessed by beautiful rabbis.

I stay in my shell and don’t say more than a few words to anyone. I don’t want to pull a muscle or sprain an ankle or make a fool of myself.

I feel like the world is coming down on my head. I must stay quiet and calm and collected. I must conserve my inner resources. Still my inner drama queen.

Don’t say anything dumb.

Go home. Lie down. Be still.

Boys don’t cry.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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