Work Conversations

Yesterday, we had our weekly staff meeting.

Boss Lady: Okay, and as a head’s up, Mikvah Bound will be out of the office next week on Thursday and Friday.

Coworker 1: Oh, nice, where are you going? Weekend getaway?

Mikvah Bound: No, I’ll be going to my synagogue.  It’s Rosh HaShannah.

[Coworker 2’s eyes grow to be the size of Guam as his face reddens]

Boss Lady: Coworker 2, are you okay?

Coworker 2:  My wife is going to be so mad at me!  She wanted me to ask for that day off… like a month ago.

Coworker 1: That day? [eyes Mikvah Bound suspiciously] Why does he need one and you need two?

Mikvah Bound: I’m Conservative. We do two days.  That’s how we roll.

Coworker 2: My wife and kids go to a Reform temple.  They do one.

Boss Lady: Interesting… so you want Thursday or Friday off?

Coworker 2: Thursday.  Oh, and Wednesday, can I leave early? About an hour?

Mikvah Bound: Ooh, me too.

Coworker 1: Now you’re just being greedy!

Mikvah Bound:  The holiday actually starts Wednesday night, at sundown.  There will be services then, too.

Boss Lady: How long is this holiday?!

Mikvah Bound:   One day.  But Jewish days start at dusk and go from sundown to sundown.  Back in the olden days, people outside of Israel couldn’t determine the correct lunar date with accuracy, so they decided to add one to be sure they celebrated on the right day.

Coworker 1: So what do you do to celebrate?

Mikvah Bound: Go to synagogue a lot.   Eat a lot.  Like most any other holiday.

Boss Lady: Huh, so do some people do it three days?

Coworker 2: No, not that I’ve ever heard…

Boss Lady:  So why does Lawyer Lady upstairs need three days then?

Coworker 2: Ah, her family is Orthodox. Who knows what they do!

Mikvah Bound:  Orthodox do it two days, too.  So I bet her mom is going kinda crazy right now and needs lots of last minute meal help on Wednesday during the day, before sundown.  We can’t cook on holidays—

Coworker 1: So an important part of this holiday is food, but you can’t cook it?

Mikvah Bound: Well, we gotta cook it before and then keep it warm during the holidays, but without starting a fire.

Boss Lady: This sounds… wonderful.

Mikvah Bound: It’s not so bad normally.  But this year we have Shabbat RIGHT after, so her mom has to make three days’ worth of meals, since we can’t cook on Shabbat either.  So three days’ worth of meals all cooked before Wednesday at dusk.

Coworker 1: You people are crazy and masochistic!

Mikvah Bound: But wait, I haven’t even told you about the fast day that was supposed to fall on Saturday, but is being pushed to Sunday this year!


2 thoughts on “Work Conversations

  1. lol!!!
    had a similar situation with handshaking… i’m in a women’s band, and we met with our (non-Jewish) producer. Well, some of us shake hands with men, and some of us don’t, so when he met me, I said – sorry, I don’t shake with men, it’s a religious thing… so he looks at the six of us like we’re crazy, because apparently the others shook before i was introduced (and we’re all Orthodox mind you)! Yeah, crazy sometimes is just the right word!

    • I personally think we’re a hoot! (Okay, and maybe a bit crazy.)

      Yeah, I can imagine the confusion in that situation for your producer. At least here there were ‘easy’ labels to help ‘explain away’ some of the differences. That’s not always the case.

      To address the whole handshake situation, I’ve seen some of the Orthodox women in San Francisco adopt the Asian greeting style: put the palms of your hands together, place in front of chest, bow slightly. Seems like more people should adopt this practice, especially as the cold and flu season approaches!

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