(Continued from part 1.)
I spent the first part of Yom Kippur day at the theater, where I helped lead Shaharit. Maybe because it usually functions as a kind of temple of the most secular, fewer "regulars," those most likely to arrive early and leave late, chose it from among three possible High Holy Day service locations. So at 9AM the rabbi and I stepped on stage in front a congregation of five. (The other thousand would arrive by noon, when it would be standing room only.) But those five smiled at us and looked so ready, poised on the edges of their seats waiting to take off in prayer, that for a moment I hoped no one else would show. Then we could sing to each other all morning, volleying prayers back and forth like a slow game of tennis in this low-ceilinged, womblike space, and share a peaceful and cozy Yom Kippur. I was very tense. Much as I tried to believe this day was just a gentle reminder to re-evaluate, rather than an inevitable push over the cliff between past and future, I swore I could hear the scratch of a pen on big, heavenly Book of Life pages.
(To be continued.)