Blog: October 2020

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Two years

Say their names:

  • Joyce Fienberg
  • Richard Gottfried
  • Rose Mallinger
  • Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz (who ran to the fire)
  • Cecil Rosenthal
  • David Rosenthal
  • Bernice Simon
  • Sylvan Simon
  • Daniel Stein
  • Melvin Wax
  • Irving Younger

May their memories be for a blessing.

They were good people. I miss them.


Well, I guess the silver lining in the pandemic for last week was that, since we're working from home, I had more meals in a sukkah than ever before. (There's no way to do that at the office.) And for bonus points, it only rained for one of the days! Neat.

Services were via Zoom. For both Sukkot and Sh'mini Atzeret (first and last days), both of which were on Shabbat this year, the Zoom setup actually worked -- cool. (There have been some other Zoom failures, where I set it up Friday before sundown and on Saturday morning I've been kicked out.) Even though it was all online, my synagogue continues to do combined festival services with another congregation whose standards are, um, not up to mine. And both times they had the lion's share. I'm done with that. Already I didn't go in person -- not even to my own, let alone to the other one that's a two-mile walk each way -- but now I realize the discontent runs deeper. I suspect we will still be doing this come Pesach in the spring, so, note to self, do something else.

It turns out that the hagbah that I recorded in advance was for our service Friday night, not Saturday morning. So I wasn't actually there (because you cannot cue up two different Zoom meetings on the same device). Oh well.

I miss the morning minyan. Even when it doesn't feel like a real service because of Zoom. This coming Shabbat should be back to normal, yay.

I bought some additional lights for my sukkah this year which, due to delays, didn't arrive until mid-week. The description said the lights could be chained -- which is true, but I had missed that they mean with like kind, through a special connection that is not a standard plug. So I'll need to remember to get some outdoor-grade splitter before next year; the idea here was to augment, not replace, my current lights.

Velcro cable ties make stringing lights really easy. Just sayin'.

And now, after a burst of holidays in the span of three weeks, we are back to "normal time" for a while.

Two vignettes from my day

My synagogue is trying to recreate holiday services using video and Zoom, and they asked me if for Simchat Torah I would be willing to do hagbah, the lifting of the torah, recorded in advance. I did that this morning. This means picking up an open torah scroll by the bottoms of the two support rods (spread a couple feet apart), holding it overhead, and turning around in a circle so everyone can see it. Because it's Simchat Torah, the scroll is rolled all the way to one side or the other (we read the very end and then the very beginning, from two different scrolls). They gave me the D'varim one, meaning all the weight was on the "wrong" hand for me, but it was fine. (There's a trick; you don't just lift but push off from the edge of the desk and put physics to use.) The scroll weighs probably 25 pounds -- not super-heavy, but awkward. So lots of people decline this honor, but I can do it if I'm careful and don't rush it.

This afternoon a package was mistakenly delivered to our porch. I picked it up, said "um no", and walked to the neighbor's house to see if anyone was home to come get it. No answer. The package was large and awkward, not too heavy -- I could lift it just fine and could have carried it across a flat surface fine, but I wasn't confident of open steps. Probably weighed about 25 or 30 pounds. As I was walking back into our house (thinking to fetch paper to leave them a note) I saw Dani and told him what had happened -- and he went out and delivered it.

So I guess that's strong 1, weak 1, net 0 for the day? Can't help thinking I should have been able to deliver that box, though.