Sigoths on the HiHos: An Unholy Ordeal

Soon it will start to cool down. The humidity will drift down to less insane levels. The temperature will drop like the soon-to-be falling leaves. Before long summer will be over. Just a couple of weeks and it will be September. Autumn is just around the corner! I can almost feel it.

This is the time of year that I love. This is the time of year that I dread.

Along with being my favourite season, fall brings with it that most awkward of times… the Jewish High Holidays, or as I call them, the HiHos.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the High Holidays, I honestly do! Rosh HaShana, apples and honey, seeing friends and relatives, going to shul. Yes, you heard me correctly… going to synagogue on the high holidays is my idea of a good time! Watching a sea of beards, long prayer shawls, black hats and fur shtriemls [1], hearing the shofar [2]… I love it!

Having lunch and dinner in those little booths during Sukkos, the whole dancing around with the Torah scroll thing! I can’t get enough. While Passover is my hands-down all-time favourite holiday bar none… the HiHos come a close second. Sitting at a table with family and loved ones, checking out the young children growing taller and taller, who’s engaged, who’s having a baby, chowing down on all those wonderful things my loved ones make. Who wouldn’t like that?

So what’s with the whole ‘dread’ schtick, you ask?

Well, because… the HiHos is when the old friends and fam find out about… or worse, MEET… the Sigoth (aka S.O., aka Significant Other).

I can’t bear it. Especially when you consider the kind of Sigoths to whom I tend to gravitate.

Let me give you a snippet from about six years ago between me and my grandmother…

Bubbie: Sweetie? Your friend doesn’t talk much.

Me: No, Bubbie. Zombies don’t talk at all. They just moan and stuff.

Bubbie: Oh… And I thought those were ‘yummy sounds’ all during dinner!

A real Kodak moment, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Or this one from three years ago between me and Aunt Raizel…

A.R.: That friend you brought. Kind of pale, don’t you think?

Me: Vampyres are all pale, Auntie Rozzie.

A.R.: A vampyre? Oy! Well, at least they don’t have to worry about crucifixes in this house!

Me: Thank goodness.

A.R.: Sheila? SHEILA! I hope you went easy on the garlic this year!!

Oy, indeed.

It’s bad enough when I get it from the older generation. They’re set in their ways and aren’t so open to new ideas. It’s expected. It’s understandable.

But getting flack from people my age or a bit younger? That can really irk me.

Last year. First night of Sukkos. Me and my younger cousin, Rivka-Leah during dinner…

R-L: Interesting date.

Me: It’s not a date.

R-L: Do you find them on the internet?

Me: No.

R-L: The Kennel Club?

Me: I don’t want to talk about it.

R-L: Listen, do you need to take your friend ‘for a walk’ later?

Me: Rivky… please…

R-L: I’m curious… do you like bring a pooper-scooper or something?

Me: (motioning to a cousin) Excuse me, Fievi? Can we have some more Joyvin down here, please?

R-L: Seriously, though. I am sure they are very nice and all. But have you given any thought to how many Jewish holidays fall on or around a full moon?

Me: You mean like tonight?

R-L: Oy!!! There are kids around! Are they safe? Should I go to the Italian family next door and borrow some holy water?

Me: (getting up, motioning to another cousin) Rachel? Rachel, sweetie… we’re changing seats, ok?

R-L: What? What did I say??

It’s enough to make me break out in hives.

Luckily, I don’t inflict the Sigoths onto the shul or vice versa. I learned that lesson the hard way one Simchas Torah

Me: Just sit still over there and maybe no one will notice you.

SO: Grzt Prk*s ncb#]s!

Me: Well… you’re just as weird-looking to them, trust me.

SO: z”xc@skj lkkkk!!

Me: They’re not wearing Krllzyfnt Cave Rats on their heads. Now shut up! (throwing prayer shawl over its head)

SO: qPmm???

Me: Yeah, you blend! Try not to have any yeshiva boys knock you over and stomp on you, ok?

I like drama and intrigue as much – OK, maybe a little more – than the next person but I swear… my next Sigoth’s gonna be normal!!


[1] A shtreimel  (Yiddish: שטרײַמל, pl. שטרײַמלעך shtreimlech) is a fur hat worn by many married haredi Jewish men, particularly (although not exclusively) members of Hasidic groups, on Shabbat and Jewish holidays and other festive occasions.

[2]shofar (Hebrew: שופר‎) is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.


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