Jewish Journal


September 20, 2010

Too late to say sorry? A Jewish girl’s guide to apologizing on Yom Kippur



Illustration by William Deutsch

by Tamara Shayne Kagel

To my mother, I’m sorry I entered you into the Real Housewives of Calabasas auditions,

To my father, I’m sorry I still have your credit card,

To my sister, I’m sorry I always forget you’re not exactly like me,

To my manicurist, I’m sorry I said China - I meant Vietnam,

To the gentleman callers I didn’t call back, I’m sorry I gave you my real number,

To my editor, I’m sorry I use the term “deadline” loosely,

To my professors, I’m sorry I just voice my opinion out loud whenever I feel like,

To my housekeeper, I’m sorry I laughed at the Telenovela (I thought cat fights are always comedies),

To the servers whose restaurants I’ve patronized, I’m sorry I can never seem to order off the menu,

To my grandmother, I’m sorry you always think they’re not good enough,

To the non-Jews, I’m sorry we call ourselves the chosen people (I think it’s weird too),

To the yogis I take class with, I’m sorry I communicate that you should move over with a gentle whack,

To my roommate, I’m sorry I insist on playing NPR 24 hours a day,

To that CHP officer, I’m sorry I thought it was funny to give you a Monopoly Get Out of Jail Free card,

To my sorority sisters, I’m sorry I once showed a boyfriend the secret handshake (but I’m pretty sure he forgot),

To the telemarketers who call my house, I’m sorry I think it’s funny to repeat exactly what you say back to you like a parrot,

To the drivers who are near me on PCH, I’m sorry I have to come to a complete stop for squirrels,

To my landlord, I’m sorry I always start our conversations with “the bundle of rights” theory in property law,

To the girls I teased behind your backs, I’m sorry I didn’t say it to your face,

To all cars in Santa Monica, I’m sorry I believe jaywalking isn’t a crime,

To the TSA scanner people, I’m sorry I never take my toiletries out of my bag but you only catch me half the time so it still seems worth it,

To my writing partner, I’m sorry I put my name first and then said it was only to be in alphabetical order,

To my rabbi, I’m sorry I still make origami in synagogue but very rarely,

And to God, I’m sorry that after I read the New Yorker every week I get convinced I’m an atheist.

Very Truly Yours,


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