Sunday night. It’s dark. My head aches. My stomach churns. I know i’m going to get killed as I walk to Young Israel of South Beverly Hills (at Shenandoah and Pico).
I walk down the street listening to the Philip Roth novel “Exit Ghost.” I swing my new $27 tripod in my left hand. I’m ready to be mugged and raped and chopped into little pieces in His infinite mercy.
Who shall live and who shall die.
What more appropriate for the skeptic than to get run through by a Christ-believing shvartze tonight?
I run into a girl on Sherbourne and Pico. She’s on her cell phone. I walk behind her. She’s scared. She stops. I walk past.
I get to shul. There’s a big kapparot sale and a big lulav and etrog sale.
I see people I know. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to buy. I don’t want to pay admittance.
I sneak into the shul. I don’t want any drama.
What’s the worst possible thing I could do right now? I mustn’t do it.
I set up near the front. I figure out my new tripod. I attach my camera.
The screen doesn’t work. Hasn’t worked right in about nine months.
Rabbi Kalinsky from the Orthodox Union walks in. They promoted the event.
Sheer terror grips me. I’m not up for any confrontation tonight.
There’s a girl. She didn’t answer my email. She didn’t make me her Facebook friend. Oh, the humiliation.
I make small talk. I want it to be over.
I bury myself in my book, “Gross National Happiness.”
I don’t want to talk to anybody. I’ll just say the wrong thing.
This isn’t about me. This is about Lior Kaminetsky and his violin and his parents and his band.
The show beings half an hour late.
I sit contorted on my chair but strive to let my neck be free, let my shoulders relax, and let my head rise up like a balloon.