Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Nicole does not remember the last time I fasted on Yom Kippur. Does that mean I haven't since we've been married, or does it mean she has not been paying attention. I vividly remember fasting while in Israel (in 1989)...or maybe not so vividly. I remember discussing whether tooth brushing and sleeping with a pillow was allowed. I remember getting the "regular food" at at the end with mi amigo Shamir only to find out minutes later that there was better food for the people who had fasted...then trying to figure out what to do with our trays so that we could get new food. [Note to Shamir: Update your blog, or I'm taking your link away.] I know that I had fasted before that Israel trip, and I'm pretty sure I have fasted since, but I could not tell you when.

So the problems with fasting in New Zealand are:

1) It's a four hour drive to Wellington. You will get dehydrated during this drive. Attempts to make up this water deficit before sundown will prove futile.

2) Services (at least at Temple Sinai) start before sundown. Unless you want to arrive late or eat in the synagogue, you will not be eating at the last possible moment you would otherwise be allowed to be eating.

3) Your pregnant wife and 22 month old daughter are allowed to eat. If you hang out with them during the day, you will also want to eat, so you are better off spending nine hours in services. [Nine hours in services? That never happened when I was growing up. We would arrive casually late, and leave casually early...]

4) Rabbi Adi Cohen is a very mean man. He lets his children decide when we get to eat again--and since they were not fasting, they are not terribly concerned if there are four stars in the sky instead of only three.

5) Breaking the fast in an NZ restaurant can take a very, very long time. Apparently, a congregation member owns a nearby hotel and usually hosts a breaking of the fast. Due to some communication/scheduling problem, he ended up calling the owner of a neighboring hotel to host said breaking of the fast (several days before). When we arrived with a group of 20 very hungry people (which I guess includes Nicole and Jancie), nobody at the restaurant knew of our booking. After scrambling to set up tables and quickly taking our orders (at least by New Zealand standards), we waited an hour for Nicole's food...which Jancie found unappetizing. To keep her entertained (and quiet), I took her for a walk outside, which turned into a walk through the hotel lobby, then back into the restaurant, then back outside. 30 minutes and a few circuits later, a rather drunk man (watching the All Blacks--this was not a quiet place), yelled an obscenity at her. We felt obliged to leave, and started packing up when my food finally arrived. They boxed it, and after the 20 minute walk back to our hotel, I had gone 28 hours without eating.

We will see how I am feeling next year at this time. Right now, I could go a few more years without fasting again.