“You’ll never guess what just happened to me!”

My little sister was calling to wish me a good yontif. She’s an undergrad at UC Berkeley, and for all our bickering over the years, we still miss each other on the holidays, especially the high holy days. I had been looking forward to this phone call—I wanted to hear how she spent Rosh Hashanah.

“It was great! So, I couldn’t go to shul today because I had too many classes—”

“Oh, Lilly…”

“Don’t give me that guilt! I’m taking a grad seminar and it’s a lot of work!”

“Okay fine. So what’d you do?”

“Well, so I went to classes all day, and I ran into my friend Rebecca on campus just now, and she didn’t go to shul either. We were standing there talking about how guilty we felt, when along came this Orthodox guy, the full beard and everything.”

“Oh no!”

“I know, right? Two college girls in jeans and an Orthodox guy. I thought he was going to scold us for sure. He asked us if we were Jewish, and we said yes, and he asked if we had been to temple today.”

“What’d you do?”

“We said no.”

“Did he make you feel bad? Did he tell you to go to Chabad and find husbands?”

No! Instead of guilting us, he pulled out a shofar and asked if we want to hear it!”


“He said it was a mitzvah to hear the shofar, so he just wanted to help.”

“Was he trying to convert you to Orthodoxy?”


“Was he trying to get in your pants?”

“No! It was so great—just plain guilt-free Rosh Hashanah! I couldn’t believe it; it was so wonderful. I think that’s what being observant should be all about, you know? We’re not all super Jewish, and it doesn’t make sense to go around making people feel bad, but if some people have more knowledge and resources, they might as well help a girl out and share the mitzvahs!”

Indeed. Thank you, Mr. anonymous Orthodox guy, for helping my little sister start her year on the right foot. I might not be the best with a shofar, but I, too, hope to wander around making the world a better place in my own way.


L’shanah tovah u’metukah everyone—oh, and facebook me if you want to come to come learn some mitzvot at Keshet’s beit midrash next week!