This weekend is Yom Kippur, the holiest and highest of high, holy holidays for a good Jew.
I’m a bad Jew, so I pretty much ignore it. Though many times I’ve used it as a diet kickstart, because you’re supposed to fast all day. We were never good at that as a family. My parents would try, but my dad cheated with breath mints and my mom would pop some Vermont cheddar in her mouth at the point where she decided she was “shaky.”
This year, the approaching of Yom Kippur, combined with a rare appearance he just made in my Facebook newsfeed, makes me think of my first boyfriend. (OK, my first American boyfriend — I had major game the summer I spent in Spain after 10th grade. 2 boys, Antonio and Luis. Caramba!) If he hadn’t dumped me and we’d stayed together forever like I thought we were going to for about a week there, I’d now have a job I’m not suited for: rabbi’s wife.
Let’s call him “Ira,” because he is a rabbi now, after all. A rabbi doesn’t want people to google him and find out he was a big-time dry-humper.
Yup. Rub a dub dub.
I’ll get to the dry humping. But we haven’t even gotten to him asking me out, so let’s not rush things, OK, horn dog?
I met Ira at a weekend retreat thing for temple youth groups.
These were held on the grounds of a summer camp every other month or so, and they were a great opportunity for kids from different temples and different high schools to come together, discuss current events, practice leadership, explore our faith, sing Hebrew folk songs, and form new bonds. That’s all fancy talk for, it was a place for nerdy Jews to hook up.
I noticed Ira because he was loud, outgoing, and flirted with everyone.
You could tell who he had a crush on, because he’d wander over to her table at Shabbat dinner and tear off a piece of her challah bread.
He ate, like, everyone’s challah.
The first weekend I went on one of these, during the singalong, the cool rabbi with a guitar strummed a few chords, and everyone started singing a song with this guy’s name in it. It went, Who did, who did, who did, who did, who did swallow Ira?
(Now remember, Ira is not the real name, or the name in the song. Hint: the song is about a biblical character who gets swallowed by a whale.)
After every “who did,” this one girl, Emily, would yell out “I DID!” Like so: Who did, I DID! Who did, I DID! Who did, swallow I-I-I-ra.
Which was great for Ira’s reputation, because it established him as a guy who got BJs.
Lisa, the first of my good friends to go out with Ira, revealed the BJ thing not to be true. Or, to be entirely optional. Because all Ira wanted to do was dry hump, which we referred to as DH-ing. She told me she and Ira had DH’d in Central Park, which I found scandalous and intriguing. She said it was really boring, and she thought about her algebra homework the whole time.
When Ira was going out with and DH-ing another friend of mine, I developed a crush on him.
I even told that friend, “I want your boyfriend.” I didn’t realize that violated Girl Code.
Soon enough, on a Very Jew-y Weekend, Ira came over to my table during Shabbat and ate my challah. Him liking me back was an enormous victory, because that never ever happened, except in Spain.
He was the ultimate surprise at the surprise 16th birthday party my two best friends threw for me. He came late, sporting a suit — which, even though he wasn’t wearing a yarmulke, looked especially Bar-Mitzvah-like and earned him the nickname (behind his back) of Bar Mitzvah Boy. He said that night that he wanted to kiss me, but first had to break up with my friend.
Righteous Bar Mitzvah Boy.
Ira and I went out for like, 6 weeks. That was an Ira record at the time. I was so into him. On a family ski trip, I bought him a stuffed penguin doll in the ski lodge gift shop because he loved penguins.
Soon after I gave him the penguin, he started giving me the brush-off. On one of our last “dates,” or dry-humping get-togethers at his house, he stopped rubbing his fully clothed body up and down on my fully clothed body and said “This isn’t working. I need to be able to trust the person I’m with, and I don’t feel that trust with you.”
Which, let’s face it, is something you make up when you’re over someone and want to eat another person’s challah.
Next, he dated Alexandra, a girl from my high school class who kind of looked like me — at least enough for our 70-year-old gym teacher to mix us up. “Alexandra! Alexandra,” she’d yell to me down the stairwell in her spooky old voice. “Don’t forget badminton practice on Thursday!”
I took some comfort in the fact that Ira was into “my type.”
But for several months, I cried any time I saw a picture of a penguin or heard the awful Starship song “Sara” (Sara, Sara…no time is a good time for goodbye…), because a friend of his named Sara had been the first to inform me that Ira liked me. “He finds you very, very attractive.”
Ira became a rabbi and married another one of my friends from that Jewish youth group thing. Tomorrow, she and their 3 or 4 kids — a product of much DH-ing — will be in temple, stomachs growling, while the Rabbi Formerly Known As Bar Mitzvah Boy leads the service.
Wasn’t meant to be.
Who was your first boyfriend or girlfriend? Who was the first to dump you?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.