Suburban Correspondent here to say L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu! It's Rosh Hashanah, which always brings to my mind apples, and honey, and challah (despite the fact that I've married a Catholic). It also reminds me of sitting next to my father during the long, long Rosh Hashanah services (I was raised in a Conservative congregation over 30 years ago, which translates to Conservadox now - I swear, I almost passed out with shock a number of years ago when I attended modern Conservative services with a friend and saw women on the bima).
But I digress. I amused myself during those long services by playing with the fringes of my father's tallis. I can still feel their silky smoothness slipping through my fingers as I twisted and braided them, I can still smell the mothball smell of the women's winter coats and dresses, I can still hear the mournful chanting of the liturgy. As I grew older, I was allowed to attend the children's services in another part of the building, which were shorter and which usually culminated in such curious exercises as deciding what you would do if you were hiding from the Nazis (we Jews are a fun bunch) or playing what I am fond of calling "the lifeboat game" that was so popular in liberal Jewish circles in the 70's.
Don't remember it? Sometimes it was set in a lifeboat at sea, other times it was set in a nuclear fallout shelter. The premise was, there were 10 people in the group but only enough food and water for, say, 4 people to survive. We each were given roles (or identities) to play (doctor, grandparent, cancer-cure researcher, etc.); and we had to decide who should be deemed worthy enough for survival.
Talk about upbeat, hey? I'll tell you now, any woman past childbearing age was a goner for sure. I'm thinking that those childhood lessons may be contributing to my creeping feelings of worthlessness now, in middle age. Maybe that's irrational, but you'll never find me jumping into a lifeboat already filled with younger people. I need to better my odds.