Yom Kippur Bad Boy

September 24th, 2020 § 2 comments

Yom Kippur, “The Day of Atonement”, will be observed this month by Jews throughout the world. Basically, the day is marked by confessing the sins of the past year (and hoping for forgiveness). The body is mortified that day (sunrise to sundown) by fasting (strictly enforced). HG’s Mom and Dad were Socialists and labor unionists. Not particularly religious. However, they emulated their ancestors by the observance of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s). Mom was very strict about Yom Kippur fasting. The reward was a sumptuous dinner (replete with many sweets) when the fast ended. The dinner always ended with a tray of home-baked nut-and-raisin rugelach (infinitely superior to the rugelach sold in present-day bakeries and groceries). Pop accompanied the rugelach with glasses of “vishniac”, his home-brewed cherry brandy. (Little HG was allowed a few sips). One Yom Kippur, eight year old HG left the street games (no synagogue for atheist HG). Late afternoon. Famished. Tray of freshly baked rugelach in the pantry. Satanic urges. One nibble of rugelach. That’s not really breaking the fast. Hmm!! Overwhelmed by temptation, HG ate the entire tray. Mom came home. Set the table for dinner. Looked at the empty rugelach tray. Shrieked. “Gevalt!!! Call the police. A burglar stole my rugelach.” (Pantry reached the back door so Mom wasn’t illogical). HG confessed. Major league scolding (no corporal punishment in HG’s home). Pop tried hard to mask his laughter. After all, there were other sweet things on the table. Lekach (honey cake). Taiglach (nut sized balls of flour batter baked with honey and ginger). The anecdote of HG’s rugelach theft became an oft-repeated piece of family history.

§ 2 Responses to Yom Kippur Bad Boy"

  • Susan Rosenbaum says:

    Love this!!?
    My parents also were non-observant and politically very very left, I am a red diaper baby I was told, but my mother always observed those two holidays as well. She fasted but I tried and couldn’t make it as a child. And she baked rugelach! But it had raisins which I did not like so I had to pull them all out and she also take the most fantastic Mandelbrot.. Which I haven’t had in years and years. Those traditions I lost to my daughter and her children sadly.Xoxo

    • Gerry says:

      You are a remarkable (and beautiful) woman. Your advocacy of your Father’s art has enhanced my visual pleasure. Hope you get to Santa Fe (or Prince Edward Island) so Sharon and I can enjoy you in person.

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