Monday, October 6, 2008

Fitting In

There are two major complaints toward immigrants to Canada. One is their ability to pick up the local language. The second is the balance between accepting their new culture and leaving the ways of the old country behind. Here is not all that different.

It has been more than 14 years since I started keeping Shabbos. Around that time I had picked up the desire to wear a black hat. In order to fill the responsibility of dressing in such a way with the proper intent. I waited until my wedding before feeling comfortable that I was ready.

When I wore my hat it was for the intention of bringing Kavod to the occasions. I would wear it for Shabbs and Yom Tov. It was always on for kiddush and motzei as well when going out and in shul at times when a tallis is not worn. I would also wear it for simchas as long as I did not feel it would attract negative feelings from the Baal Simcha.

Before landing it was strongly recommended that the hat had to go. I decided to go with the more Israeli, white shirt and nice pants look. The advantages of the decision were quite clear in the 35+ degree sun. I found that the shuls that were black hat tended to be places I did not want to daven. The davening tends to be self contained where most davening is mumbling to yourself and often you cannot here the shaliach tzibur to figure where you are during davening. The shuls which davening I liked tend to be a more Israeli feel. An added benefit is not needing to worry about paying to dry clean a suit every week.

For Yom Tov we have been davening at a shul with some black hats, including the Rabbi. The davening is as nice as some other shuls but I really like the Rabbi. It is also the place where our friends are choosing as their shul. We will not make a more permanent decision until later on in the.

This Shabbos Channah kept asking why I wasn't wearing my hat. I am happy with the decsion. There are times I miss the feeling of having a special piece of clothing to mark the importance of Shabbos. In a few weeks we are planning on being in Kiryat Sefer. Everyone thinks that I will be happy to have an occasion to wear my hat. I didn't wear a hat on Yom Hadin and I am not planning on wearing it on Yom Kippor. Why in the world would I want to wear it for a community that wouldn't want me, if I had enough money to turn every shteibel into a full sized shul? On one level this is a change that just feels right. On another level, I still ask myself was I doing to right thing before.

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