Friday, August 19, 2005

149. Arrival

Because I try not to take the bus on Shabbat and also love strolling down West End Avenue, where it's easy to forget that the whole world isn't Jewish, I always aim to leave sufficient time to walk to services. This Saturday morning I allowed over an hour to travel the mile, just in case--I forgot how to walk en route? I got lost? Nothing happening in the universe at that moment seemed more important than my prompt arrival at the synagogue. I can't remember if it was hot or cold outside, and would have been oblivious to a blizzard. I do recall performing the entire service in my head to the rhythm of my measured steps on the pavement, nerves increasing exponentially with each block.

There were only a few people in the sanctuary when I arrived, and no one saw me sidle into the Secret Rabbi Room. Once I closed the door and looked around, it didn't seem quite as sacrosanct as I had imagined. (And now quoting myself--am I allowed to do that in a blog?--from back in February):

"I call it the Secret Rabbi Room. From a door behind the bima they emerge at the start of each service, mysterious as Israelites arising from the Red Sea. Or at least that's how it seemed until I got to see, and exit, the Room for myself. The one in the synagogue is a casual little lounge, with a tan leather sofa, photos of Israel, and the imposing locked back of the Ark along one entire wall. There's a pile of boxes filled with CDs, some old siddurim, and a mirror. It wouldn't be good to face the congregation with spinach on your teeth. During my moments of complete terror right before the first time I helped lead Shabbat morning services, I was excited to notice a Gemini II alarm panel on the wall. I was, coincidentally, in the middle of designing a Flash animation for an alarm company to show how to arm this very same panel after it was installed next to your front door. I tried to staunch torrents of adrenaline by contemplating the meaning of safety, whether in the real world or during prayer, but all I could think was: how weird is this. Some of my reality is here."

1 comment:

Adinah said...

I not only quote myself, I comment on my own post...since it's your blog, you can do whatever you like!
I remember reading that post when I went through your old posts...sometimes knowing what lies behind those secret places, wherever they may be takes some of the "tension" out of it. For my it also ruins some of the mystery........and there really isn't a tooth fairy either.