Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yom Kippur

My life can be called many things, but it will never be called boring.

Last weekend one of my friends from church called and asked if I'd be interested in an odd job on Friday night and Saturday morning. Odd job was perhaps an understatement. In case you didn't know, Friday at dusk began the Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Conservative Jews interpret the Sabbath commands of rest very strictly and literally, and so the most conservative won't even ride in a car. My friend tells me that she has a friend of a friend who is a member of a Temple in town, and she is an older woman who has back problems. So while most conservative Jews are walking to and from the services Friday and Saturday, she is going to need a wheelchair. However, the Sabbath laws also prohibit any Jew from pushing her wheelchair. That's where I come in. :)

To make it easier to keep the Sabbath laws, some of the members of the congregation were staying in a hotel about two miles from the Temple. My job was to push Estie in her wheelchair from the temple to the hotel Friday night and Saturday morning. The trick was that our route was in the middle of the very bustling NW OKC area, including crossing a major road. I don't think I fully understood was I was supposed to do until I actually got to the temple, or I might not have agreed. :)

Let me tell you about Estie. She is probably about 70 years old, Hungarian born, a Holocaust survivor, and then spent most of her life in Israel. I expected to meet a frail old woman, but she has more life and fire and spunk than I do! Half of my job was chasing her with the wheelchair trying to get her to sit in it!!! She is full of joy and laughter and was such a blessing to me.

We walked our route with another conservative family, and it was fun to get to know them as well. I think they were all from Israel. It was kind of wild to hear Hebrew being spoken! I studied it so much, but only as an ancient language. The walk was a little scary at times, but we made it alright. And it was an AMAZING cardio workout. :) God is so good to bless me with these crazy experiences and wonderful people! It was a blessing to be able to serve this woman in this way. I believe it is the beginning of a friendship!

I have a funny story to share as well. My friend who recruited me for this also went with me (she couldn't push herself because of a back injury). As we waited at the Temple for the service to finish on Friday night, we both realized we were wearing our cross necklaces, and had a conversation about whether we should wear them or put them under our shirts or what. I wasn't ashamed of Jesus, so no comments like that, but I also didn't want to affront Judaism on their most Holy Day. So we decided to put them under our shirts.

The next day, my friend said, "Did you even realize what shirt I was wearing last night?!?" I thought about it... then realized it was the Quail Springs VBS shirt from this year. On the front it says "Family of GOD at Quail springs" hugely with a big cross in the middle of God, then the back features a nice big picture of Jesus and Aslom the Lion (Narnia) on the back. I died laughing! We were worried about our little crosses and she was running around with a big picture of Jesus on her back! Hahaha... oh well.

Like I said, my life can be called many things, but never boring.


Kari said...

You are such a sweet servant!

Love the shirt story!

Pamela said...

Very cool experience Ann! She's a super cute lady and I hope you will become friends. Maybe she can teach you to speak Hebrew. :) I miss you!