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Oct02

High days and holidays

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 Author // Brian Finch - Founder Categories // Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Brian Finch

Brian Finch finds celebrating holidays the Jewish way is a lot of work.

High days and holidays

If I could say “Thank Christ the Jewish high holy days are half way done!”  I would. It’s a time of year that is so great, with lots of time to be with family or friends. But it’s a lot of work. A lot of people say, “I wish I were Jewish so I could have all these holidays.” They don’t know that it is actually a lot of work. There isn't a lot of lounging around watching TV. 

I find that many people do not know a lot about Judaism. In fact a lot of this stuff I didn’t know until I got into it. Take the Rosh Hashana for example. Well, let’s even back up from there. The Hebrew calendar is lunar, and the days are based on the moon as well. This means that the day begins at sundown and ends at sundown the next day. This is why Shabbat is always Friday night until Saturday night.

In the days of antiquity not everyone knew exactly when was the right time for many of these holidays in the diaspora. To solve this problem they added a second day, which is why there are two days of Rosh Hashana where in Israel, there is only one.  The same holds true for Passover.

Yom Kippur begins in the evening with Kol Nidre, a two to three-hour service. The following morning there is another three-hour service, and in the evening there is one more that is a few hours long. There is fasting over this course of time, however for health reasons one is not obliged. BTW, I've decided my new drag name is Nikole Nidré. It would be an insider joke, but I love it.

Let’s not forget the many meals, lunches and the breakfast meal over the course of this time. Once we get to the end of Yom Kippur, you might think great we are done. However we are not. There is still the festival of the booths, Sukkot, which lasts eight days (I could be off a day) and Simcha Torah. All and all it is about a three-week process and it is very tiring.

Each year I get a cold. I tried my best  not to this year, however I still got one. Perhaps it’s the time of the year. Last night I had dinner at a friend’s place to break the fast and one of the guests was sick. I swear I want to live in a bubble from mid-September until about April.

Another friend often says to me, “Oh you’ve had a rough year..” To which I always say, “It’s like this every year.”

It appears that it is simply impossible for me to do all the holidays in this three-week period. I’ve not done a lot of (tsandup) performing as a result. It’s frustrating. For the first time, and maybe it’s because I’m working with younger and much healthier people, I’m starting to feel like I truly am disabled.

I can’t seem to make it through a three-week stretch of holidays, or two-weeks of constant stand up. At this point, I’m really not sure how to manage it all. I have all these desires to do different or of more of what I’m doing, an yet my body just won’t let me.   

The goal of the next few months is to figure out a way to find some balance in all the activities I’m doing, and keep some sense of health going.  I just cannot go up and do stand up when I feel like shit. However there are a couple of good stories out of going places when not feeling well. Perhaps the next post I’ll share how I deal with homophobes on stage when I feel shitty.

About the Author

Brian Finch - Founder

Brian Finch - Founder

Brian Finch, founder of PositiveLite.com. I've had a blog since 2005 when I decided one day that I just wanted to write. Since then I've grown to writing for a local Toronto magazine, Fab, and contribute to MyGayToronto.com.

I first went public in the 1980s, and with the exception of a few years of taking a break, have not really stopped. More recently (relative to twenty years ago) in 2006 I was featured in the Ontario HIV Treatment Network's documentary "Positive Voices" filmed during the 2006 International AIDS Conference.
The very same conference where I organized an action against the Conservative government for our Prime Minister not showing up, which is now known as "The Pillow Case Project" approximatel 1000 message-stenciled pillow cases were held up at the moment the government representative stood up causing an international photography sensation.
During these years I was on the board of Canada's treatment advocacy NGO, the Canadian Treatment Action Council, and have been privileged to have worked with great activists internationally such as Africa.
Life is an evolution, and today I am now the owner/publisher of PositiveLite.com, an online project to bring people (and our allies) living with HIV together in Canada and abroad. The vision is to bring the world together with a uniquely Canadian perspective.I first went public in the 1980s, and with the exception of a few years of taking a break, have not really stopped.

More recently (relative to twenty years ago) in 2006 I was featured in the Ontario HIV Treatment Network's documentary "Positive Voices" filmed during the 2006 International AIDS Conference. 

The very same conference where I organized an action against the Conservative government for our Prime Minister not showing up, which is now known as "The Pillow Case Project" approximatel 1000 message-stenciled pillow cases were held up at the moment the government representative stood up causing an international photography sensation. 

During these years I was on the board of Canada's treatment advocacy NGO, the Canadian Treatment Action Council, and have been privileged to have worked with great activists internationally such as Africa. 

Life is an evolution, apart from my contributing to PositiveLite.com, I've become a budding stand-up comic creating a new genre of comedy: candid comedy. Look out as there isn't much I don't talk about. 

 

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