Words & Banter

Food For Thought (& Laughter) On … Yom Kippur?!

Underlying photo by Alleko on iStock

Your stomach starts to growl, and you look at your watch, calculating how many more hours you have to endure before you can eat because, simply put, you’re hungry. Or, you can set aside the minor discomfort, appreciating that it’s a small sacrifice to make while you reflect on the past year as Yom Kippur, literally meaning the day of atonement, is a day for reflection, repentance, and forgiveness. And a promise to do better.

When we first ran the post below, it was looking back at a speaking engagement we did in 2014, but this year it’s about doing a repeat performance for Rabbi Scott. The High Holy Days, culminating with Yom Kippur, are about making fundamental changes – or at least adjustments – to how you live your life. And although it’s a spiritual journey, there’s no reason this year’s promise to be a better person can’t start by learning with laughter (and the rumbling of an empty stomach).



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I know that Yom Kippur isn't exactly known as one of the "fun" Jewish holidays, but every year I can't help but laugh at what's easily my number one Yom Kippur memory.


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That is what makes memories … memorable. And, finding something to laugh at on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is probably the most important and solemn Jewish holiday, would be memorable.


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I can't believe you're not even curious what it is!?


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You know I love to "connect the dots", and all you had to say was Yom Kippur, fun, and memory. Obviously, it was when Rabbi Scott asked us to speak before his congregation on Yom Kippur.


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Well, I still find it surreal that we were asked to speak about money on one of the High Holy Days. And that we titled our presentation, "Oy Vey, You Want To Talk About Money?"


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The day is about reflection, making fundamental changes – or at least adjustments – and trying to become a better person. And, just because it is a spiritual journey, there is no reason you cannot make learning fun.


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True. I remember the time Rabbi Scott put a piece of aluminum foil in the children's Yom Kippur service program to help them understand that Yom Kippur's a day for reflection. But even you must admit that making a congregation laugh about money on a religious holiday is a bit much.


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But, memorable. A few years later, I met someone that attended that service, and he said he's never forgotten it.


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For the content or all the food analogies?! I can remember we started by saying how we just wanted to give everyone some food-for-thought and then saying, "Oops, since Yom Kippur's a day of fasting, maybe bringing up the subject of food wasn't such a good idea."


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Of course, it did not stop us from doing it, again and again.


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How else could we explain our unexpected journey into personal finance without mentioning it started at our first speaking engagement … which was at a Jewish Federation breakfast?


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Or, how our detour into criminal justice started with me meeting with the chaplain at a men's prison? But I knew it was meant to be when she told me they had the only kosher kitchen in the Texas prison system.


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And each time we looked at each other and then the audience, and we all laughed! With each mention of food, it just got funnier and funnier. But there was no way to avoid it.


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I know. How could you tell the story about realizing all the money you were mindlessly spending at Jamba Juice without mentioning your almost-daily smoothies? Or, how you went grocery shopping at Whole Foods because it was convenient but not cost-effective. Anyway, until that day, I never realized how so many of our stories have to do with food.


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I think the highlight was toward the end when I was explaining how I felt overwhelmed trying to tackle personal finance. That at times, things seemed insurmountable, and then you told me … it's like eating an elephant, you can do it, just one bite at a time. And everyone started laughing again.


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On any other day, I doubt that analogy would make you think of food. But, on Yom Kippur, and especially since we were presenting after at least 15 hours of fasting, everything makes you hungry


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I guess it's like being so tired that you get slap happy. But I never thought a day of atonement and reflection could end up becoming a day of laughter.


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On Yom Kippur, we wish people an "easy fast" or a "meaningful fast" … and if a bit of laughter, even if not intended, helps, what is wrong with that?


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Good point. For that matter, you don't need to be Jewish to take a day, or even just an hour, to stop, to think, and to improve.


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No fasting required.
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What do you get when you cross Flag Day (June 14) with June being Effective Communication Month? Well, if you include Black in the mix, you get one of Red’s favorite memories … and a unique way to think about the importance of communicating – whether in your personal or professional life. And especially if you’re in a racecar!


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This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4 th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.


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Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.


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I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.


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If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory . Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.


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I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.
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There’s much debate about the role America should play in world politics and standing by our allies, and we can’t help but wonder … how many people look at history before forming their opinions? Which is why we feel so strongly about remembering D-Day (and are rerunning the post below), which is about so much more than just a day …


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I still can’t believe you didn’t know what D-Day was.


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All I knew was it had to do with World War II and beaches. And, required lots of strategic planning. Remember, I am not a history buff like you.


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Or a movie buff. There has been an assortment of D-Day movies, and I wouldn’t expect you to have watched the older movies, like “ The Longest Day” with John Wayne, but I figured you’d have seen “ Saving Private Ryan .”


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The Tom Hanks movie? It was a great war movie, but from what I remember, it was about the search for a particular soldier during WWII. Although I remember the opening scene showed the horrors of war. Regardless, I do not get my “history” from movies that might take literary license for the sake of storytelling, even if Steven Spielberg’s movies are mostly accurate.


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That opening scene WAS D-Day.
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Some memories fade with time, but others remain as vivid as the day they happened. Like the day my big sister and I played golf together (an extremely rare event), although the memory isn’t about golf, but about how a sister’s flippant comment can stay with you for over 40 years …

There was no way to know it would become a highly effective way of remembering the importance of sunscreen. Especially as it happened before May was declared Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and May 27 became National Sunscreen Day.

I'll never forget the day. It was an "almost" ordinary day out on the golf course with my mom and dad during the heat of a Long Island summer. Now, if "Long Island" conjures up images of stately manors on the North Shore (think "Great Gatsby") or beachfront mansions in the Hamptons (think Robin Leach and his popular show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"), you can put those out of your head. I'm not talking about some fancy country club golf course, just a regular public course.

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