Twice a Year
At this time year we see the emergence of a large, but infrequently seen tribe, emerging from its habitats in north west London. Wearing a remarkable collection of hats, its members purposely migrate to parking slots just sufficiently round the corner from the synagogue. I refer of course to the 2 day a year Jews, who turn up to synagogue in the droves on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, along with their even more hardcore counterparts the 1- day a year brigade, for whom the yiskor service on the day of atonement is quite sufficient. The annual appearance of this tribe leads rabbis and other synagogue professional into extreme overload, as they desperately attempt to satisfy their occasional visitors. The ideal being that through creating the perfect atmosphere/singing/sermon/hospitality the 2 dayer can be induced into showing up during the rest of the year. At the very least, they need to be sufficiently happy in order to keep paying their (probably extortionate) membership fees. However, what the tribe wants is curiously opaque, and much debated at synagogue council meetings. Do they want more of the same? Or (god forbid) change?Do they like the rabbi? Would they like another one better? Are they the promiscuous type, tempted by another shul, or worse still, another denomination? All these questions are pointless. The tribe is very clear what it wants – exactly what it does now. To come to shul on two days a year. No more, no less. I say fair play to them – it cuts out any metaphysical angst and leaves more time at the weekend. The people that need to change are the ‘regulars’, those that turn up throughout the year. Enough trying to build your communities around the presumed whims of your occasional relatives. Just do it your way – practice Judaism as you actually want it. without regard to what anyone else things. You never know, some of the 2 dayers might end up showing an interest.