Tonight is the start of the hungriest day of the Jewish year.
Crap, I meant holiest. The HOLIEST day of the Jewish year.
But it’s also the hungriest.
Because you’re not supposed to eat or drink anything for twenty-four hours.
Now okay, I’m clearly not the world’s most observant Jew. (Read my blog on how I entertain myself on Rosh Hashanah to see why.) But I do fast for Yom Kippur. I’ve been doing it for almost twenty years now. Which I think means I’m halfway there to being a Muslim, because they fast for forty days for Ramadan. I know, poor me, right? I’ve got to do it for a whole DAY.
But, as a Jew, I still have the right to complain about it. It’s what we do best. That and taxes.
In general, the no food thing doesn’t bother me all that much. Not being able to drink anything, however, kills me. I have learned that I am the exact opposite of a camel (insert Black Eyed Peas “My Humps” joke here). I drink a lot of water every day and my body seems to store none of it. By 3pm on Yom Kippur, I’m usually so dehydrated that I’m hallucinating that I’m crawling through the desert gasping hoarsely for water.
That’s not the worst part though. The worst part is that because, despite my age, I am single and have no Jewish friends, I go to synagogue with my parents every year. They don’t seem to mind the lack of food, because my parents are both the skinniest people alive these days. Their refrigerator looks like a DC-area grocery store when the weathermen predict a couple inches of snow—totally empty.
I’ll outline the problem for you. Those of you who know my family, picture my dad. Now picture him WITHOUT a cup of coffee in his hand. You can’t do it, can you? I’m pretty sure my father is single-handedly keeping Starbucks in business. In fact, when he was the chair of the physics department at the University of Maryland, the accomplishment that he’s most proud of isn’t getting the approval for a new physical sciences complex. It’s that he got a Starbucks put in the physics building. Literally IN the building.
My parents don’t have blood. Their veins pump pure caffeine. And when that caffeine level drops below a certain point, which happens at about 11am on Yom Kippur, they turn into the chick from The Exorcist, complete with the evil voice, spinning head, and projectile vomit.
And because I don’t drink coffee, (I know, I know, I’m a freak of nature. But I don’t sleep well as it is. Give me coffee and I’d be up for a month!) their demonic rage tends to be directed at me. So basically as soon as synagogue is over, I go home as soon as is humanly possible where I hide until sundown when the demons can be tamed with an injection of caffeine straight to their hearts, Pulp Fiction style.
I usually spend the afternoon napping, because I’m too dehydrated to concentrate on reading, and you can’t watch TV on Yom Kippur.
I don’t mean that you can’t use electricity. The orthodox Jews believe you can’t, but I think that’s kind of hypocritical, because most of them still USE electricity, they just think it’s okay as long as they don’t flip the light switch themselves. I think if you’re going to not use electricity, you should REALLY not use electricity. If you want to be strict about it, go get yourself a Shabbat horse and buggy or something. Although I think not using electricity is ridiculous. The rule is you’re not supposed to do work. Electricity PREVENTS you from having to do work. It's a lot less work to turn on a light than to start a fire. But then again, to the orthodox, I’m a shiksa, so I’m not even going to try to argue with their logic.
I say you can’t watch TV on Yom Kippur because somehow EVERYTHING on TV on that one day of the year is about food. Delicious, tasty, yummy food. It’s part of a plot by Mel Gibson to torture us on the one day of the year when we can’t eat. But I’m onto you Mel. I’m not going to watch your anti-Semitic Yom Kippur propaganda.
But eventually sundown comes and I get to break the fast with the traditional Jewish meal of bagels, lox, and kugel.
After I stab my parents in the heart with their caffeine needles, that is. Until they’ve had their caffeine injections, I’d stay away from them or any other coffee-obsessed Jews tomorrow if I were you.
The Day of Atonement makes them a little cranky.
And you should probably avoid wearing blue around me. Around 3:30, I might decide you’re an oasis in the desert that I’m crawling through. And I can’t be held responsible for my actions in that case.
But in the spirit of the day, I'm sorry to anyone I've wronged this year (and thank you to my parents for being such good sports when I make fun of you on this blog). And to all the Jews out there reading this, have an easy fast tomorrow!