Last night, as we were having a relaxed dinner before the fast (chicken and pasta with veggies. Light, high on complex carbs with a good amount of protein and low on fat. Ideal prefast food. Also yummy.) at about six o'clock, I noticed something. Silence.
I live in New York City. In Brooklyn. It's never silent. But it *was*. I didn't hear cars. I didn't hear kids. I didn't hear anything. And I realized that much of my neighborhood was eating dinner right now - perhaps a bit more elaborate than mine, with soup and so on, but still.
And the siren went off and I lit my three candles - the two normal Sabbath/holiday ones and the memorial that we light because Yom Kippur is a remembrance day, when those of us who have lost a parent say prayers for deceased relatives. And we walked to synagogue in the sticky wet streets - but the rain had stopped before it was time to go. And everyone else was going, too. The men wearing their white coats and prayershawls, the women in their suits and various white blouses or suits or whatever, everyone in sneakers. And it felt good to be a part of that. To be on the same page.
I got to synagogue late, so I only got to say "Good Yontiff" to a few people on the way, but on the way home - every synagogue except the more yeshivsha ones let out for their afternoon break at about the same time - 2PM. People were headed home for naps or to feed the younger kids lunch. And, again, people headed back for the afternoon part at the same time, and finished at the same time, and...
My old neighborhood had one Orthodox synagogue. Because it had longer services, it never began or ended at the same time as the liberal ones. And most of the neighborhood just didn't care.
It's. Nice. Belonging. Not being weird. Well, still being weird because weird is what we do, but having one layer of weird gone.