A funny thing happened in my house the other day. And by funny, I mean dismaying and somewhat depressing. My two-year-old daughter came home from preschool talking about a Bad Man. When we hear this Bad Man’s name, she told me with wide-eyed gusto, we make a lot of noise to scare him away.
There she went, waving over her father’s shoulder. My husband pushed a loaded luggage cart outside the departure level sidewalk at JFK with one hand and carried our daughter with the other. I stood beside the car blowing kisses and watching her shout, “Bye, Mama!” until they were swallowed by the automatic doors and had disappeared into the terminal. Then, alone at the wheel, I had a Ferris Bueller moment:
On the morning of Yom Kippur a few weeks ago, I woke up in a hotel built during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II, marched past the tempting smells of blini and raspberry jam drifting from the dining room, crossed a bridge over the Moscow River, skirted a corner of the Kremlin wall, proceeded along Ulitsa Varvarka past several 17th-century churches and the Znamensky Monastery, dodged sharply dressed Moscovites cruising the sidewalks on their way to work and spotted a gold Star of David atop a squat white dome behind a cluster of other buildings. I dug out my little pocket map. Yes, that would have to be it. The Moscow Choral Synagogue.
Lev Gorn knew that Kehilat Romemu wasn’t a regular minyan when the Torah service began. Rising from their chairs and meditation cushions, the roughly 100 people in attendance last month sang a lilting melody. There was guitar and Middle Eastern tabla drumming. The Torah was passed around from one cradling embrace to the next. When it was returned