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vendredi 14 octobre 2016


 It was the most unusual Yom Kipur, not planned at all that way. The night before I had begun the observance in the company of a delightful Syrian Christian Orthodox family who had cooked up a storm. I had mentioned to my friend Mr M that I would like to break the fast in his company. He has been to Israel and considers many Jews among his friends in USA, South Africa and Israel; and prides on the fact that he might have jewish ancestry. He is, like most orthodox syrian christians, very pious and religious, with strict observance of the ritual calendar.
 To get some of the fundamental things to break your fast, such as a glass of wine, is not that easily accomplished in the state of Kerala with its strict Liquor laws. Some south african dry red wine appeared mysteriously on the table, as did two candles and a cheese cake to support it.
 I said the bracha and explained the significance of those prayers and also explained the difference between the religious jews about 15 per cent and the rest who could be classified as cultural or talmudic jews. An arbitrary division but which has great psychological impact in the west.
 American Jews would appreciate the irony of the food that came one plate after another.. it was the indian version of CHINESE food...
 My friends from Miami did point out that I had managed to break several of the food rules of Yom Kipur...Calamari and Shrimp are not food for this feast , but as the company was congenial and tolerant, every thing smoothly played out. 

 I felt that I had spent an extraordinary Yom Kipur, in Cochin, with extremely good food to begin my fast, and an ironic twist to the Indian food to break the fast. I did fast for the full prescribed hours, I did not eat or drink anything.
I would like to have listened to Kol Nidrei, the opening prayer for this night. But as I left to go back to Fort Cochin, I had an immense satisfaction of having done my mitzvah not only from a jewish point of view but a wholistic human view point as well.

I have learned a very good lesson on this Yom Kippur spending it with gentle, tolerant, sincere Syrian Orthodox Christians of Kerala.