Monday, January 28, 2008
Someone asked me to find the following, which is from the late, unlamented sadiegazette, a chronicle of my time in Paris.
The personages are me and Moishe, formerly known as David.
On Saturday, following a festive tea at Le Loir Dans La Théière, David suggested, as we were all in the Jewish Quarter, that we attend Shabbat services. I was amenable, and accordingly found myself the only woman in a kitchen/storeroom, observing an Orthodox service from behind a curtain. As everything was in Yiddish and Hebrew, I was rather out of my depth (despite the fact that I'd respectfully dawned my béret), and the book I had in my bag, Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory, hardly seemed appropriate. David managed to slip me a French Talmud after a few minutes, which kept me busy for a while. I'd always thought being behind a curtain would be sort of like a harem, where you could watch all the goings-on unobserved. In fact, I had very poor visibility and had rather a dull time of it.
It was much worse, though, when they bid me come out into the synogogue and sit by myself at a table across the room while all the men ate a Dairy dinner (I was still full from the cake I'd et earlier.) Uncomfortable as this was, however, it was better than David's position, facing a white-bearded rabbi. What's more, I found a book of Torah commentary with English translations and happened to open it to the point where they give injunctions against witches (you shall not suffer them to live, incidentally) and bestiality (an abomination.)"