October 9, 2012
I went to the synagogue in Waltham for a while on Yom Kippur. There were some people there who coughed at me, every few minutes, the entire time that I was there, during the service. I thought about saying, loud enough for everyone there to hear me, “Don’t you think that you should be worrying about your own sins rather than taking it upon yourselves to harass me for what you think my sins are?”
I didn’t observe Yom Kippur by fasting. There is far too much going on that is stressful and dangerous for me to fast. Not only can I not put myself in a situation which would make me physically weak, being without food can impair your judgment and make you more prone to being emotionally reactive. Since I’m being stalked and provoked all the time, fasting isn’t an option. I know that it’s one of the rules that if following a rule means that you are risking health or safety, you break the rule rather than take the risk.
I have no obligation to explain the extent of my religious observance or lack thereof. From the first second that I started writing online about how I liked being Jewish, I said that I wasn’t observant. I said that I liked Jewish culture, and that there was much that I liked about the way that Judaism approaches religious questions.
Copyright L. Kochman, October 9, 2012 @ 4:16 p.m.