Columns - 2017

    High Holy Gaze

    Throughout the year, most people at synagogue share one common thought: Why can't services be longer?

    The rabbis of old, endowed with as much clairvoyant perception as they lacked in sarcasm perception, provided the High Holy Day services.

    High Holy Day services give people a chance to reflect. A very big chance -- though not enough of one, as the state of society indicates.

    Perhaps people would reflect more if they weren't vampires. Or, if they interspersed their deeper thoughts with random musings such as...

    The Book of Jonah

    Does owning half of a quarterhorse give you an eighth of a horse? If so, is half of this Haftarah a quarter of the Torah?

    What if Jonah had a fish allergy?

    Whales are mammals. The original text says "big fish." The movie Big Fish didn't even have a character named Jonah. I'm too confused. Or dehydrated.

    Yeah. Look around. Most of these people have no idea there's more to the story than fish food.

    If I tell students to write an essay regurgitating all they know about Jonah, will they get it?

    Maybe Ahab was seeking revenge for Jonah. Maybe I should have read Moby Dick when I was supposed to. Or The Catcher in the Rye. Or The Great Gatsby. How did I graduate? How did I end up with two degrees in English?

    Or As You Like It. Or King Lear. Or Maccers. How did I end up running a Shakespeare company?

    High Holy Day cuisine

    Apples and honey. The perfect finger food when wearing nice clothes for services.

    Whoever came up with the word "fast" to describe not eating or drinking was an idiot. He might have thought he was funny or ironic. He wasn't.

    Break fast for dinner? I always go to work after breakfast. I can hold out another twelve hours.


    If I have to stand the whole time, why does the name have "kneel" in it?

    I see three stars. More, even. They're spinning all around me.

    Sure. I can wait until after rehearsal tonight to eat something.


    I'd like to hire a ram's horn to drive me around.

    That guy's Sh'varim didn't make me shiver.

    Dodge Ram trucks should have a Jewish option, where the Ram's horn sounds like a Shofar.

    Nope. That was only eight short ones. I want a truer T'ruah. Start over.

    Did Morse steal his Code from the Shofar blasts?

    Did Robert Morse know Morse Code?

    If they ever make me run High Holy Day Youth Service again, we're playing a game of T'ruah False.

    Wow. We need to sit shiva for that guy's Sh'varim.

    Okay, so who figured out that if you blow through a ram's horn in just the right way that it makes a sound. Really. What course of events led to discovering that?


    We have sinned against you by putting that ram's horn image in people's heads.

    I didn't do that one this year. Well, there's always next year.

    The front row is reserved for the righteous and the pure of heart. We have sinned against you by sometimes sitting closer than the back row.

    That guy two rows over needs to atone for his atonal singing.

    Really. His singing makes that ram's horn image seem not so bad.

    I did so many things not even listed here. Does that make them okay?

    I'm sorry I did that one. Still, it was fun...

    Okay, students, repeat after me: "We have sinned against you in our Hebrew reading by Shinning instead of Sinning."

    Nothing in particular, because it gets to that point

    Three days of holding this book puts the "sore" in Machzor.

    Serpent and repent are similar words.

    It's after Labor Day. Why are we wearing white?

    Why did they name those flies after these fringes on the tallis?

    Someday I'm going to make a retro 1970s boothsploitation film, I'm Gonna Git You Sukkah.

    How many of these will I remember, since I can't write them down until I'm out of here?

    Doug Brook is on his annual quest to do something that requires atoning, before it's too late. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, like

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.