The big envelope comes from the synagogue with the sticker on the front “High Holy Day Information inside”. It sits on Larry David’s desk for a couple of weeks and the day has come when he needs to decide what to do.
Larry has been debating for a few days in his own mind whether he wants to go to High Holy Day Services this year, and even continue at the synagogue. For the last few years, he has only gone 3 days a year. His children and grandchildren live in New York and won’t be coming home. When he does go, he sits there for a couple of hours anticipating the rabbi’s sermon and remembers it as often being a letdown. He decides he could use those days to work on a few writing projects and throws the big white envelope in the waste basket.
Two days before Rosh Hashanah, his friend Jeff comes over to visit. Jeff is all excited. He and his wife just had breakfast at the diner and bumped into the rabbi, who gave them a sneak peak of this year’s High Holy Day Worship – as well as his Rosh Hashanah sermon. “You have to come, Larry. It is going to be great. A band, a choir and the rabbi is going to preach about what we can do to make the world a better place.”
Well if Jeff is going, “I am going, too”, Larry thinks. So you can bet that the writing of his next sitcom is going to have to be delayed for a few hours while Larry calls the rabbi, and whoever else he has to call, to get those precious tickets.
I have written about that maybe we should stop using the word tickets, and call it “Spiritual Passes”. That way, we would no longer be speaking about tickets in the same vain as we do tickets for the Red Sox-Yankees series next month, or to “Evan Hansen” and “Hamilton”.
High Holy Day Tickets are a benefit of membership and belonging to a sacred community. Synagogues also use High Holy Day Tickets for security purposes. Having a ticket means that you belong and the ushers (and sadly, police officers) can let you through.
Can High Holy Day worship ever be open to the public? Security issues can be overcome – which of course costs more money. And you don’t want to alienate congregants who provide both ongoing financial support as well as volunteer their time. Space might also be an issue. Some synagogues have dealt with this through community-wide worship in more public spaces. Or making all services open to the public, except those that always have high attendance – First Day of Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre and the morning worship on Yom Kippur.
Maybe Larry David, after his various telephone calls, secures those tickets, that he can pick up at “Will-Call” – the synagogue’s office. If he can’t snag the tickets, maybe he just shows up. He shares his saga with the usher at the door who recognizes him and lets him in.
I wonder what will happen at the Community Seder….