A few weeks before Rosh Hashanah, my older sister invited me to join her family and our mother in New Jersey for the holiday. “Is it a three day Yom Tov?” I asked, referring to when a holiday is followed immediately by Shabbat. “I don’t think I can handle that,” I said. My sister, though she feels the same way, would observe regardless of holiday fatigue. She couldn’t entertain a different possibility.
A few hours past sundown on a recent Saturday evening, Rivka Nahari, 31, took to the stage. Her slight frame draped in all black, and her wig swept back with a clip, she sang an aria from “Romeo and Juliet” while accompanying herself on the piano. The audience, which consisted of 50 Orthodox women and girls who had been listening to musical performances more suited to “American Idol” than to the Met, vacillated between awe and confusion at the French lyrics and the power of Nahari’s voice, which reverberated from one end of the gym to the other.
Larry David has purchased scalped tickets for temple seats during the High Holy Days (and was subsequently kicked out of services). He’s invited a convicted sex offender to a Passover Seder. He’s pitted a Holocaust survivor against a castoff from the TV series “Survivor.”