Yom Kippur memories


On the way out to the door to shul for the Kol Nidre service on Friday night, one of the last jobs was to pick up machzorim (prayer books) from the study for Susan and I.

My ArtScroll Yom Kippur machzor is pictured above. It’s old, battered, well-used, and nearly falling apart. It’s also much loved, because it reminds me of good times and places.

For a three year period, my brother and I were the gabbaim of our local shul. Neither of us wanted the job. Nobody else in the shul wanted to do it.

Michael was daft enough to say he would do it if I did it with him.

I was daft enough to say I would do it subject to certain conditions – like not having to wear a suit or a tie.

Unfortunately, they were so desperate, they agreed. And Susan was very supportive. I was doomed. Fortunately, my pessimism turned out to be misplaced.

For three years, Michael and I ran the services. We arranged people to lead the praying, distributed honors, and generally worked hard. Most people we dealt with were a pleasure and appreciative of our voluntary service. The exceptions are not worthy of more comment.

I learned a lot from that job; about my religion, its traditions, and observances. Rabbi Rubin was a pleasure to be with. Not only did he teach with joy in his heart, but he always had a twinkle in his eye and a great sense of humor. It was hard work, but it was also, quite often, fun. Working alongside Michael went smoothly. We had a good relationship before that stint as gabbaim, and kept it going throughout. Looking back, I appreciate how good those times with Michael were.

One of the many highlights was that each Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur absolutely flew past. These fasts were the easiest I have ever experienced. Why? On those days, there are a lot of honors to be given out. Who opens up the Aron Kodesh, who takes out the Sifrei Torah, and so on.

If you look at the picture above you will see red markers in abundance. These were my way of warning me in advance that there was an honor coming up, and I had better make sure we had somebody lined up to do it!

So that machzor is a reminder of Glasgow and the community and good times. Using it always brings a smile to my face; such sweet memories.

Thank you, Glasgow.