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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Yom Kippur

Synagogues sell seats for the High Holidays. This has two intended results - it's a major means of fund raising for the synagogue *and* it means that the purchaser will have a place to sit during what are usually overcrowded services. Even Jewish neighborhoods, there are 3-day-a-year Jews plus people - especially newly married children - might well be visiting. Newly married children bring spouses, too.

These are *not* tickets, at least not in mosts O-shuls. Those who have not purchased seats can still attend, they just have to take their chances about sitting.

But there's a third result. These seats are usually assigned - if you sign up early or you're a regular and you have a real preference, you get to choose your seat. I don't really care, except I don't want to be in the very back.

Which means that you're going to spend a long time with the people sitting around you. Now, one of the strongest points of my synagogue is that people don't talk during services. Really. So that doesn't give a lot of time to socialize, but there are other interactions - walking past someone else to use the bathroom, finding places for the extra machzor or the sweater you know you'll need later, or negotiations about the little plastic book holders they hung from the backs of some, but not all, the chairs. Some people hate to feel them at their back, some people really want to use them and some don't care. (I don't care - no angle on the book holder works for me and I spent a large part of Y"K not noticing there was one attached to my chair.) But Leah, who sat to my right, liked them and Ellen who sat in front of her didn't like the feel. On R"H, Leah sat in the empty seat to my left, but someone was there on Y"K, so she just changed seats with me.

And there other things - who comes late, who has a beautiful voice, who shows a huge amount of spirit and who thinks it's a tad *too much* spirit. You just. Know. It's a little society in those seats we occupy for 6-10 hours on R"H and 7-10 hours on Y"K.

And then. Um. I had to handle the diabetes thing. So. Before the weather turned awful on Tisha B'Av, I was told I could fast so long as I monitored my blood sugar and didn't let it get too low. This was rescinded when he was reminded about the diuretic anbd temperatures soared, but the weather was lovely and I just didn't take it.

I did take my monitor with me to shul. And while I didn't bother testing at night, I did test during the day - first, every two hours, and then every hour. I began at 114, went down to 102 and then to 84 (this was scary). An hour later, though, I was back up to 98, and my bg stayed around 100, more or less, until the end of the day. If it had dropped below seventy, I'd have eaten. I had crackers and V-8 with me, and if it had dropped during the midday break when I was at home, which is where I was when I had the lowest reading, I'd have broken it on peanut butter on crackers and water.

I was fine during Minchah. I was fine throughout most of Neilah, the final service. I felt so good, in fact, that I believed I could stand for the entire Neilah - all 60 minutes of it.

And twenty minutes before it was all over, I suddenly felt weird. Dizzy. Because I'd changed seats with Leah, I was next to the wall. I tried leaning on it, but that wasn't enough, so I sat down. And then the wall wasn't enough to hold up my head, and I ended up resting it on the seat in front of me.

And got every other woman around me worried and scared for me. One was fanning me, and they were just... worried. Which.. ack. And it was too close to the end for me to think about breaking the fast. So, I took a few deep breaths and stood up to finish the service on my feet. I had to grab the back of the chair in front of me a couple of times, but I could do it. And as soon as the final kaddish was over and the men were dancing to "L'shana haba b'rushalyim", I tested my blood again - 105 - and retreated to a more secluded part of the shul to slowly sip my V8 and nibble some crackers while everyone else said the evening service or prepared the break-fast of cake and OJ - neither of which I can eat. Waiting until it was dark was fine. Waiting for havdalah (which meant a search for an existing flame)? Not so much.

And then we went home and had a more formal break-fast of bagels and lox and whitefish, and small cups of coffee, and I don't need to worry about fasting until next summer.


Oh my gosh. I would have been a fellow freak-out woman around you. People passing out in shul or at least looking like they are going to is not something that you want to see, even during the day of atonement (and well, there is the general jewish woman worry thing).

Anyway, I'm glad you were able to get through it alright. =/

I have issues with balance myself, so I have to sway when I stand or else I'll fall, people look at me sort of nuts, but I bet they'd prefer that over me falling on them while they are praying. =p

And I'm sure they saw me poking my finger, too...

I sway, too. I find it helps with the davening.

huh, interesting

i was jsut a few days ago having this conversation about tickets with my dad. their conservative shul sells tickets. tehy are admission tickets, you cna not comin without them (or withoutthe search andmetal detector, but i digress) on teh holidays. there are separate tix for kol nidre, and for minha and for rosh hashanah, but no tickets for neila. at their shul, the tickets are included in teh (to me) highly expecive membership they pay yearly. friends of theirs in the boston area have to pay an additional $250 for each ticket on to of the similar membership fee.

i honestly cannot understand how a religious institution can explain to it's own conciousness turnign peopel away from services, let alone high holiday services because they can't pay several hundereds of dollars. yes, iof you have no money you can write a tearful letter saying how sorry you are you are poor and could they make an exception. and don't get me wrong, they will always let you in withthat tearful eltter, but that is a bit much in my oppinion. i bet ther eare a lot fo peopelwhoul do nto go for the reason of price.

i know we n eed the fundraising... but HOWcan we turn peopel away? that is to say nothing fo the fact hatt i know i personally would gladly give a $250 coluntary donation, but will nto pay a $250 price jsut as amatter of principle...

i mean really, how can we turn peopel away? sigh. i knew there was a reason i liked chabad...

I can't answer that. I know we do charge for both membership and seats, but members get a discount for the seats. And we give a discount if people only come to one yom tov and not the other, which is why I had an empty seat next to me for R"H but not for Y"K.

I do know that Lincoln Square Synagogue has two minyanim on R"H/Y"K - one in the main sanctuary, with the reserved seats and the cantor and the other in the social hall with perfectly fine leaders who aren't trained cantors, but no seat reservations. So they had their fundraising but no one was turned away.

And, yes - Chabad will never turn anyone away, either. They may not get to sit, but they will get to pray.

Is that new, not having reserved seats at the downstairs minyan at LSS? All the time I was going with my parents, there were reserved seats. You got a ticket with your seat number (G124 or whatever), and the numbers were taped to the seats.

My parents got tickets for themselves, but not for Mitch & me, figuring that we could sit in empty seats - even at Kol Nidre, some people couldn't make it, so had to leave their seats empty, and if we had to stand, no big deal.

I remember reserved seats downstairs too. I think there may also have been a thrid/overflow minyan *upstairs* w/o tickets. I'm pretty sure there was a late(r) yizkor too.

The minyanim I've davened with (in Cambridge, MA) have asked people to pay for seating (sliding scale, pay what you can, etc), but if anyone shows up who hasn't paid, they're welcome to come in, too.

Blood Sugar

My blood sugar was 91 about 4:30pm and 74 at havdalah. Standing during Neilah was quite difficult. I had half a glass of non-diet coke, two pastries, and some challah to give my blood sugar a quick boost, and then over to the salad bar at Wild Oats for a more balanced and lower glycemic index supper.

Re: Blood Sugar

jonbaker, who has a tendency to hypoglycemia, had bg down to about 74 by the end, but that's normal for him on fast days and while he sits at the end, he was fine. (He's a self-admitted hypochondriac, so he has his own bg monitor.)

What's your blood pressure like?

I sometimes have issues with feeling very faint especially if I stand suddenly after squatting or sitting down for a long time. This is because I'm prone to hypotension.

(I love it when people warn me that caffine and sudafed are bad because they raise your blood pressure.)

My blood pressure tends to high, which is why I'm on the diuretic - hctz, which is fairly mild. I'm just not good about 25 hours without food or water. I never have been.

And - yes. My older brother tends to low blood pressure and he has had problems because of it. Extremes are not good.

That sounds scary. I'm glad you're ok.

Malka Esther is pretty much forbidden to fast because she occasionally faints, and when she faint she occasionally goes into convulsions. While the MDs are actually surprisingly blase about this, every shul rabbi whom we've asked 'Is it ok if she fasts if that means there is a small chance she will go into convulsions in your shul during YK services?' has very firmly told her not to fast.