Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yom Kippur and kids

TALKING OF fasting, we'll need to come Friday, and not just because I'll have run out of cash by then. It's Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, which caps ten days of reflection since Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year. It's the holiest of Holy Days, all the more so this year since it falls on Shabbat. The gist is abstinence: from eating, from driving, from pretty much everything bar intensive praying. That much is clear from the warnings I've had regarding making sure we've got enough food in, and giving sight-seeing a miss for 24 hours. We're talking a total national shut down, from the borders to the roads (although I'm told that the more secular minded take to their bikes and blades).

But what is rather more hazy is where that all leaves an avowedly secular Louis. (My attempts to explain why I'd donned what was effectively a curtain to nurse Raf in a market cafe today by talking about people's religious beliefs had him zoning me out even quicker than usual.) Where, for example, does the Torah stand on playing? Are climbing frames out? Swings frowned upon? And just what do the city's growing number of Haredi inhabitants do with their vast broods in between those five visits to the Temple? I'd like to see them try and make Louis sit still in contemplative fashion all day long. Come to think of it, if they could swing that, then perhaps the Haredi guide to parenting is the book for which the world has been waiting. I can see it on the bestseller lists now.....

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