We don’t get a lot of opportunities to go to synagogue where it’s not going to matter if the Monster makes a lot of noise. Simchat Torah is one of those occasions.
I mean, let’s face it. The holiday’s all about dancing around with the scrolls, folks making noise and waving flags and singing and dancing…
And this year, I was asked to be gabbai on the bimah for the reading. I’ve never been asked to be a gabbai on a “major” holiday, so this was a nice treat for me. Couple it with the fact that the Monster could actually be in the sanctuary instead of the quiet room, so he could participate fully… this was great to me.
Up until we got to the actual execution.
In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the greatest idea. The environment was not entirely familiar to him – he’s used to being in the quiet room – and there’s a lot of sensory inputs that were going to have him on edge already. Plus, it was late, after a full day at school and his gymnastics class, and the big part of the festivities didn’t start until after 7 PM, which is close to his normal bedtime.
We did manage to get him out and dancing for a little bit, before he was insisting that he wanted to go out of the sanctuary and into the quiet room again. He was passed around from grandparent to parent and back for a while to keep him in the room, and then we got him to even come up to the bimah for about half of the children’s aliyah before he had to be taken back down and into the pews. (The teen who was reading couldn’t be heard over his yelling.)
It’s a work in progress. We’ll just have to slowly ease him into how to behave in synagogue with some of the more raucous holidays…