Valerie Pavilonis

Dear God,

It’s me, Moira. This day is very difficult for both of us. You’re sitting up there (reclining? bouncing on a yoga ball?), clucking Your tongue and wondering what kind of balagan we’ll make this year to piss You off. I’m walking around, knowing full well that my standing in Your Book of Life/Not-Naughty Book is not looking good, no siree, and trying to pretend I’ll be a dollop different next year (I’m sorry for using mangled Yiddish to sound more Jewish).

Okay, so let’s get the obvious sin out of the way. I’m sorry for breaking the fast at 11 a.m. with pork salami. In my defense, Chosen People Gastrointestinal Syndrome was causing some problems, as it does when I don’t eat my full hot breakfast. I’m not saying You caused me not to fast, but I’ll just say that the churchgoing side of my family is not the side keeping Zantac in business.

I’m sorry for telling other Jews “Gamar Chatima Tovah.” Full disclosure, I never knew what this meant, even after three years of Hebrew, until I looked it up for this column. But it’s friggin’ obnoxious. From what I understand from Quora, we’re wishing each other a good spot in Your Not-Naughty Book. That’s like walking into a test with your friend, raising your eyebrows and telling her, “I hope you don’t F this one up.”

I’m also sorry for making fun of the Kol Nidre service in my head. It’s just, why do we always have to bring up the mystics? I didn’t sign up for that. And cantors make funny faces, they just do. And also, there will never be a day when kippot don’t remind me of my brother and me flipping on the lights at bedtime and running around with underpants on our heads (the holes conveniently fit around the ears, try it).

I’m sorry for asking my friend in a debate on Yom Kippur if she was going to “go all religious on me.”

I’m sorry for telling my mom that I’d already ordered a fire escape ladder for my window, when we can both see there isn’t one in our Amazon basket.

I’m sorry for picking at grass when I sit down in it. Sometimes I think I’m pulling Your hair out, and if that’s the case, I truly understand if You don’t save me.

I’m sorry for saying things like, “This Jew makes us all look bad.” I recognize that I’m stuck with the snotty ones, too, and they are all Your children. But some of them could’ve used some more timeouts.

I’m sorry for responding, “I’m not that Jewish!” when someone asks whether I follow basic Jewish laws. To be fair, You lost that battle when my mom married a goy.

I’m sorry for forgetting to water my plants, even though they are so loyal.

I’m sorry for that time this summer when my sister and I were in a public bathroom and thought we were alone, so we (naturally) laughed at the fart noises coming from another stall, each thinking it was the other. It was actually a poor stranger who said, in a voice we didn’t recognize: “It happens.” I’m sorry that we fled the bathroom. (Relatedly, I’m sorry for laughing in yoga class when someone farts.)

I’m sorry for sometimes using the last piece of toilet paper at home and not replacing the roll and then making fun of my sister when she yells from the bathroom that she needs toilet paper.

I’m sorry for hoping that You have the temperament of my goy grandfather with the hearing impairment of my Jewish grandfather. I should only say things that You can hear without causing reflux.

I’m sorry for very occasionally putting my phone on mute so I can browse my favorite cooking blog while a family member is talking. To be fair, I could tell my dad put me on mute when I was recounting my day to him yesterday. I wasn’t even up to what I ate for lunch, but there was a pause when I (on the rare occasion) asked him a question.

I’m sorry for being late for almost every YDN deadline.

This year, I will try to inscribe myself in Your book, not just on a sticky note or followed by a question mark, but right there in the front with the Jews who break the fast at 10 p.m. and know the prayer for taking out the trash.

Ok, but realistically, God? Don’t hold Your breath.

Daisy Massey dorothy.massey@yale.edu