This post is dedicated to Alisa Bowman.
Good Sunday morning! I know we don’t usually meet here on Sundays, but the thing is that I’ve never really recovered from the Sunday mornings that I was forced into uncomfortable clothes and shuffled off to Sunday School. Not a Sunday goes by now that I don’t wake up and think, Awesome, I don’t have to go to Sunday School today. And it’s been 21 years since they made me go.
Look at this picture (shift your eyes up). That’s me. I was 4. Do you see how happy I was? That’s because I didn’t start Sunday School until I was 5.
It’s not that I’m against religion or anything. I mean, I believe wholeheartedly in George Michael’s treatise – you really do gotta have faith.
But Sunday School was just wrong. Let me prove it to you by listing some of my favorite moments (and, frankly, the only ones I remember) from this horrid weekly two hours that I suffered from Kindergarten through my sophomore year in high school (that’s 11 years, ELEVEN):
- Carpooling. Because it was fun when I was little to ride in a car that wasn’t mine.
- The Sundays that focused on the holidays where we got to eat (Rosh Hashana = apples and honey; Purim = hamentashen; Passover = charoseth) because they fed us on those Sundays.
- The ride home when we stopped at the deli on Wydown (Protzels) and I got to get the world’s saltiest and biggest pickle or pickled tomatoes, rye bread with corn sitzel and blow-your-mind corned beef. I ate mine with ketchup. (Does anyone see a pattern here? Clearly, my brand of Judaism revolved around food.)
- A very cute boy in my class named Sean. (Really, we’re Facebook friends and he’s even hotter now. Yes, because he’s no longer 12).
- The ‘teenage years’ when I walked in the front door of the temple, straight through the building and out the back door to meet my badass classmate who hailed from Jersey (the sketchy part) in the parking lot where we smoked and did nothing else for two hours and then walked back through the building to get picked up by our parents.
My family wasn’t very religious. True to one of the greatest coined phrases ever, we’re ‘Jew-ish’.
Oddly enough, however, one of my best childhood friends turned into a rabbi. Okay – that was kind of funny phrasing. Like he turned into a turnip or something. This was the first boy I kissed (when I was all of 5)…our moms and older brothers were best friends – and so were we. And we spent a ginormous amount of time together including every holiday, every weekend, every everything.
Mad scientist, Iditarod musher, famous musician – that’s what I figured he’d be. But, I never pegged him for the rabbinical life. Still, now, I totally get it. I understand why the Jewish faith is so important to him, why he’s taken on this amazing vocation. It’s because he didn’t have to go to Sunday School.
Read all about my old flame, Rabbi Heifetz, in a fantastic interview on The Daily Norm. Seriously. I wish I’d had a guy like this at my Sunday School…who knows, if it had been so, I, myself, might have turned into a nun.