Larchmont Temple Chevra Torah

Questioning faith in the parsha

Foreskin’s Lament II

Parshah T’rumah  — Modern Author Shalom Auslander – An excerpt from Foreskin’s Lament. For the full excerpt, come ot the Chevra Table Shabbat morning.

One Saturday night, not long after the blessing bee, Rabbi Blonsky phoned my father and asked if he would build a new holy ark for the synagogue.

–He who contributes to the building of a synagogue, Rabbi Blonsky said earnestly, is considered to have saved the entire Jewish people.

I awoke early the following morning to the familiar tortured wail of my father’s radial saw. The garage was next door to my bedroom.

–“#$*%,” I heard my father say.

He was talking to the ark.

Rabbi Blonsky was the rabbi of our local synagogue, a congregation of about fifty families, located in a converted cottage house on Carlton Road. Rabbi Blonsky was forty years old, and he worried a lot about the Jewish people. I was nine years old, and it was the Jewish people in my house I was worried about. A holy ark wasn’t going to help any of us.

I’d been worried for some time now. Two years ago, when I was seven, I worried so much I did Nixon. My father had attacked my brother with the dining room table, trapping him in the corner and shoving the table into my brother’s stomach until he couldn’t breathe.

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