Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And a very merry Yom Kippur to you as well

[ed. n.: Back to regularly irregular blogging schedule. Thank you, and good to be back/I'm so, so very sorry]

Most or all of my readers are former New Yorkers, at least, if not outright Landtsmen (sp?) themselves, so my announcement that yesterday's sundown ended the Days of Awe likely comes as no news at all. I haven't belonged to a synagogue in... far too long, and Berlin's not, um, noted for its vibrant and active Jewish community, so I didn't attend services. To be honest---that is, to confess my omission---I didn't even know where the nearest synagogue is, or where any is at all. Checking now, there appear to be four---the Rykestra├če Synagogue in Prenzlauerberg, the Stiftung Neue Synagoge in Mitte (that address doubles as that for an Israeli restaurant) , the Neue Synagoge Berlin-Centrum Judiacum in Wittenau (another restaurant, this one Russian-Jewish and called Kadima), and the Joachimstaler Street Synagogue in Charlottenburg (on Joachimstalerstra├če... natch). It's hard to tell for sure, as many Google hits are duplicative---the Stifting Neue receives foreign-language hits as both "Jewish Synagogue" and "La Grande Synagogue"---and the Stiftung and the Centrum Judaicum share not only the generic nomenclature "Neue Synagogue" but, confusingly, also the same street and number (Oranienburger Str. 28) albeit in separate neighborhoods. (I did a reverse search using each address and they appear to be legit. Odd. But I suppose when you're talking about the existence of a synagogue at all in Berlin, you're already agreeing to suspend your disbelief.)

Surprisingly, two days ago when I checked Google yielded few results for "things to do in Berlin on yom kippur" (the abbreviated "yom kippur in Berlin" yielded---no exaggeration---but a solitary hit, in the ahistorical hypothetical).

Going back online for the first time was an odd thing---I shall have to try it as a regular habit, to the extent consistent with my obligations to you-the-humble-reader. Well, I suppose it's always odd, but there's an extra layer to unfamiliarity when you don't quite speak the language on local teevee screens and newsstand front pages. Maybe it's just hte summer of Michael Jackson, Ted Kennedy, et al., but when I see an old celebrity's face and/or name, my first thought is the most final. But Roman Polanski (btw, least effective segue from Polanski to football. Ever.) evidently did not die but has merely been arrested in Switzerland.[fn1] Bridget Bardot has evidently only turned 75. William Safire is really dead, apparently of cancer. (He'd want it noted that no one ever died of "apparent cancer.")

Shanah tovah, everyone. Fifty-seven seventy, woo.
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fn1: Those notorious intermeddlers in world affairs, the Swiss. Honestly, even with sixty-odd years intervening, is there not something a bit outrageous about the inconsistency? "Gold for the Nazi war machine? Eh, not my department. Director hiding out in France to avoid prison for a rape thirty years ago? This will not stand, man, this aggression."

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