Have shofar, will travel - There it was, old time religion making claim to its place on NYC’s street. And why not, everything’s out in the open these days - from restaurants to nail salons (yes, outdoor spaces have been co-opted so that no mani or pedi goes undone). So why not some sound social distanced religious ritual. First it was a little surprising, then well, why not when the rabbi called and wanted to know if I wanted to hear the shofar for the start of the Jewish New Year period? I said “Sure, where do I go?” “No, no I’ll come to you.” And in maybe less than 15 minutes Rabbi Yisroel Stone from Chabad of the Lower East Side on Essex Street arrived in what I’ll say was an SUV with three of his kids in the car. He got out of the car, called young Menachem to join him, as I stood there as he blew the shofar several steps from Target on Third and 70th St. Passersby stopped, smiled and listened. So why the shofar - the ancient musical horn used for Jewish religious purposes - a month before the start of the Jewish New Year when shofar is blown on Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur, when the shofar is blown on the last night? The blowing of the shofar is a literal sound reminder that it’s time to get motivated to prepare to repent. Of course, observances and rituals vary greatly from the very Orthodox to the less Orthodox and to other observant forms of Judaism. And if you want to hear the shofar in this time of social distancing, the rabbi’s on call - 770-376-5717.
Light on bulbs, high on chutzpah - Seems the new demand item at supermarkets in the age of COVID is the light bulb. The list seems to ever grow - first it was hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels - and now light bulbs. CVS and Duane Reade were out. Prices at some supermarkets and bodegas jumped. Seems the merchants are ready to glom on to anything to raise prices but when they hit a snag in the road, they readily ask for consumer cooperation. Case in point - several stores had signs letting the consumer know that there was a coin shortage and suggested that, when they were paying in cash, they round off the purchase price so that there would be less change required. How about rounding down the purchase price and giving the customer the benefit of paying less? The beat goes on.
I’ve got texts - It’s bad enough when friends and family are on a texting roll. But when every manner of candidate’s team keeps texting, well that’s cut-it-out-enough-already time. And like many others, I’m sure, the texts do not discriminate on the basis of party registration. So I’m inundated with fundraising and muckraking requests from the Dems and the GOP. While it’s annoying, I get that messaging and money are the pathway to a war chest and to winning. But I sure don’t appreciate Eric Trump’s text that “Chuck Schumer is on his way to a Senate takeover!” and that without my help “NOW” his “dad’s allies may not reach their goal. CHIP IN.” Earth to Eric: if your dad’s allies can’t reach “THEIR” goal, without my help, he needs new allies. Find another textee.
Optimists only - Another business that’s taking to the streets is fortune telling. It’s been a long long time since the ladies who prey have been seen in these parts. There was a time when fortune tellers were the subject of many an expose - this paper, this reporter on the task. Anyway, there she sat on the corner of 74th and Lex with the tools of her trade - a snack table, tarot cards and a sign offering palm readings. Takes braves souls to look into the future these days. The fortune teller may want to add hand sanitizer and rubber gloves for the palm readings.