Thursday, September 14, 2006

Shalom, Schwartz!

I'm playing in a performance for a Jewish temple this weekend. Despite what having the name "Schwartz" may suggest, I'm not Jewish. Nor is the Schwartz family, at least within the last two generations. It doesn't stop people from thinking I'm fibbing, however. "What? With a name like Schwartz, you must be Jewish." Actually, with a name like Schwartz, I must have some Germanic ancestry on my father's side. Which I do.

So, this performance is a way for me to get in touch with the roots I don't have. The mailing I received in advance made sure to mention that all adult men must wear a kippah when in the sanctuary. I certainly respect that, so I end up waiting outside the sanctuary before the first rehearsal for them to present me one (as mentioned in the letter). No one is there. There are musicians down at the front and they've all got them. Shoot. There are racks of prayer shawls, but no head coverings. Well, there is a pile of something that MIGHT be, but they're lacy and white. And even though I'm late for rehearsal already, I certainly don't want to offend anyone by accidently wearing a coffee doily on my head.

I don't fear that if I enter the sanctuary with uncovered head, I'll be struck dead. I'm not worried about the people pointing at me and hooting scornfully because I can't follow instructions. I may not follow the religion, but I respect it. If I'm instructed that no man enters with head uncovered, then I'm not going in. Of course, as I make this impassioned mental statement, the coordinator comes out and says, "Hi! Go right on in, there's a kippah on your chair." Oh, so it's a little more relaxed that I was prepared to be.

But wouldn't you know, I've got a big head. My yarmulke doesn't fit. One size fits most. It doesn't wander around on my head or fall off, fortunately, but I won't tempt it by running or dancing. It encourages me towards good, still posture. Like any new addition, I'm self-conscious of it, rather like a man who's not used to wearing rings, after his wedding.

"Are there any drafts in the sanctuary? What? Air conditioning is set to 'whirlwind?' Hmm, hair clips are in order."

1 comment:

  1. I can picture you with a white doiley on your head thinking, "Hey, Im trying!"