Monday, 29 December 2008


The time of week when I most think of this non-entity of a blog is Friday night. It starts in shul, me sitting hidden away in the alcove that is my place, assuming no one has pinched it or there is no simche with brothers, uncles, nephews and cousins far removed from all over the globe taking up the spare and not so spare seats. It is always my seat, chair is more like it, and a rather wobbly one at that, that goes first as I have a revered minhag passed down to me from previous generation to tuck in kugel and salad after the candles have been kindled and if I turn up to shul late, well, unlike a plate of kugel, whatever is missed is shul can always be made up.

The only downside of course being that my seat gets pinched and unfortunately I'm not one of those who shove people off MY seat. First because I don't really have a seat as that was nicked ages ago and second the place I do have to rest my posterior is in reality no more than a tiny space improvised once a week to serve as a repose for my tired self in an area which would otherwise have remained unoccupied. There is no table to rest my siddur in the corner I would never call home and it only really serves its weekly purpose when everyone is seated, for as soon as the point of rising to your feet arrives and all posteriors turn to west I'm squeezed into my little space with a gap to breathe only when the guy in front brings his rear end towards me while shokeling forward and like a swimmer I catch a bit of air at each alternate stroke.

As said my permanent place was stolen eons ago by a smug-face bastard who turns up to shul one of the first and settles into 'his' place as if he has a life tenancy if not a freehold over the place. At his funeral they will lament how punctual he was at the services while those following my cortege will hear sniggers if they only mention the word shul in the eulogy. So let me put it on the record: he is a thief and I am his victim. Let them say over my dead body what an angel I was that even when my seat was stolen in fluorescent-light robbery I turned my nether cheeks and parked them on the equivalent of a double red route during Monday morning rush hour where at any time I may and often am asked to move on to suffer the humility of joining in with a full throated Lecho Doidi in full standing view while those seated have the privilege of catching up on their sleep. And dare no one mention that the real reason for me keeping shtum is that I possess the pusillanimity of the main ingredient of the Friday night soup and like a good Jew don't want to make a fuss -though he will get it- and have the whole shtibel staring at me and muttering, not only does he turn up to lechi neraneno but he turns over the whole place. Go back to where you came from, fress your kugel and in case you haven't noticed some people do prefer to daven. Oysvorf!

So there in that little corner shielded from the glare of the strip lights above and the stare of the eyes around me I can indulge in some day dreaming, insights into the Sedre, some people call them, while heads round me fall like nine pins for a taste of the more authentic nocturnal visions. Truth said I have had an opportunity to stock up on material for my musings. After the shower that is de rigueur for every God-fearing Jew on a Friday afternoon, prostrated on my bed while waiting for the water droplets to be absorbed in my towelling robe or evaporate from those areas the towel can't reach I get the chance to leaf through the weight of newspapers that one cannot get through Shabbos without.

The 150gsm card that the Tribune is printed on, the multi-sectioned Hamodia, the free London Jewish News whose only merit is that it's free and possesses on the comments page some prominent bosoms, clad of course, what do you think we are? A bunch of proste goyim? the one and only JC, oy! what we do without it! we may be blessed with about 5 newspapers and advertisers servicing the holy square mile but how would we discover what's really going on in our midst without the JC? Who's abusing whom? Who stole what? Who by custody and who by penalty? So they don't have a columnist with the sagacity of buffoon yitzchak or tell us which rebbes are in town. I mean that's only because they can't fargin us our gedoilim while the best they have to offer are Rabbis, cough, splutter, Bayfield and Romain. But anyhow I was listing the papers to be perused while drying from the pre-shabbos douche to which must be added the clutch of non-Jewish papers to help me catch up with the doings outside Stamford Hill, NW London and that long and narrow horn-shaped strip on the eastern Mediterranean, not to mention some smatterings of Broughton Park and Brooklyn, NY.

To be continued, to be sure, bli neder, im yirtse hashem, I'm not promising, I do have a chasene tonight and I have to pick my brother up from the airport, but mertseshem I'll really try...