Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

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 This was rescinded when he was reminded about the diuretic anbd temperatures soared, but the weather was lovely and I just didn't take it.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.
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