Festivals From The Fringe

Schools were closed in our neighborhood yesterday for Rosh Hashanah. I walked the dog in shorts and tennis shoes while people walked in their best clothes to Temple. I zapped my dinner while our neighbors gathered around their tables to feast on savory home-cooked meals. I shopped at Target while they worshipped God.

That "out-of-sync" feeling reminded me of being a kid on holidays like Christmas and Easter. Such special days of celebration for everybody else were simply extra days off school for me and my sisters and free time off from work for Ma and Baba. The five of us slept in, played tennis, and ate lamb curry, but it wasn't the same.

I understand why Jewish people choose to live in our town. There's something about your community-at-large commemorating your family's festival days that makes you feel at home. Fringe-dwelling kids usually watch from the sidelines, and return to regular, post-holiday days feeling somewhat out of step. It's one of those times in an immigrant kid's life when the power of story can help alleviate the loneliness on the margin. "Been there, done that," the writer says. Ah! Then I'm not the only one, the reader realizes, and is comforted.

Anyone want to invite a Gentile over for Seder in the Spring?

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