When you're on a cruise ship, it's pretty easy to put real life on the back burner, way back. You settle into a self indulgent routine where the biggest decision is what to wear for dinner. That's why cruising is such a relaxing way to travel.
However, when our friends Keith and Susan decided to take this cruise with us, one big concern that almost kept them from coming, was the fact that the cruise takes place during Yom Kippur. This day of atonement, where Jews ask for forgiveness from God for disgressions committed throughout the year as well as looking for forgiveness from others they have wronged, is a major holy day, An important section of the Yom Kippur service honors family members that have passed on. As we get to that certain age, we have more and more family members in that category. Our friends were assured that a rabbi would be on board and services would be held. It would still feel weird to them to celebrate this day without family members and the traditional meal, but this would have to suffice.
Last night they left the comedian's show early to make their way to the Skywalker's Lounge, where services would begin. The comedian made an unfortunate, but clever joke about Keith's lack of hair as he tip toed out of the venue. The Skywalker's Lounge is a lovely area where windows provide a 180º view of the sea while cruisers sip drinks and listen to music. The rabbi and his temporary congregation were assigned to half the lounge area. As they sat on comfy love seats amidst the empty cocktail glasses and watched the waves go by, it certainly wasn't their usual service, but it went a long way to remind them of the real world. Today they spent the day fasting, no mean feat amidst the bounty of food and the fact that their friends were stuffing their faces as always. Surely forgiveness will follow. The fast was broken after the late afternoon service. Normally, it would take place at sun down, but there is nothing very normal about any of this. As you would expect on a food laden pleasure palce, the fast was ended in a bountiful way with challah bread, lox and bagels, smoked fish, etc. Back to fantasy.