First, here are some cute cats:
Today I went to Birkat Hachamah services. Birkat Hachamah only happens once every 28 years, so I figured I didn't want to miss the chance to do it. I was glad to have gone, but it was pretty confusing. Observant Jews tend to have this free-form style -- everyone praying at their own pace -- and there was a lot of cross chatter. The leader was somewhere I couldn't even see, broadcasting over a loudspeaker. People were following along using various aids -- books, photocopies, some random handouts -- but I'm guessing everyone brought them from home, because I didn't see anyone handing them out. The only thing I remembered from what I read at home was that you were supposed to stand at attention, feet together, and look at the sun. Unfortunately, this morning was pretty cloudy, and the sun was mostly hidden. I know there were special rules for overcast days, but I didn't remember what they were, so I just kept staring until the sun poked through the clouds.
The other thing that I remembered was that, because the Shehechiyanu (my favorite prayer) is recited, you're supposed to wear new clothes (if possible). So I took this as an excuse to wear my new dress:
Yaay polka dots!
I also met a little girl there -- maybe 10 years old? -- who had my exact same glasses. I said hello to her and pointed out that we were eyeglass twins. She, like me, said she'd never met anyone else who had the same pair.
Must be a Jew thing, eh?
Along with Birkat Hachamah, they also did the traditional pre-Passover burning of the chametz. I don't anticipate observing Passover this year (though I will be joining bishopjoey and last_girl_guide for a seder on Saturday night), but I did have some seriously stale bread in my fridge, and I like when I get the chance to be a part of stuff like that. I don't like the fact that I'm working tonight. Even though I'm not at all Observant, working on the first night of Passover just feels wrong. Then again, at least I get to go to a seder this year -- my mother won't even be getting that much.
I wonder if I went in to work now, if I could leave early?
Well, at any rate, on my way home I passed through Bloomfield. As those of you in Pittsburgh certainly know (and many of you outside of the area may have heard), this past Saturday, three police officers were killed in what basically amounted to an ambush. Today, the public memorials start in full force.
Once of the officers, Paul J. Sciullo, II, was from Bloomfield, and his funeral was this morning. Here's what I saw as I drove past the church:
Hmmm... maybe I will go to work early ...