Sunday, November 08, 2009

No Purse Snatchers Here!

I go to synagogue on a regular basis. It is an Orthodox congregation, Modern Orthodox, with some less observant people thrown in for good measure. I've gotten used to that and am pleased that some people at least make an effort to come to shul, even if they are not Shomrei Shabbos.

Among the women, there are some who come infrequently, toting shoulder bags...reasonably small purses that they string on their shoulders.

Our shul is small, held in the chapel of a Jewish day school. There have been no reports of thefts or purse snatchings in the area. That being the case, please tell me why these purse-toting women cannot put their purses under their seats, or beside them on the bench. When the time comes to stand and pray, they secure their purse straps on their shoulders!

I thought it's sort of a bubby thing to do, something I'd seen in the past...when older women attend bar and bat mitzvahs or weddings and even then often sit with their purses on their laps. Okay, so maybe they think the waitstaff might snatch the purse or its contents while it's resting on the table and they're up on the dance floor doing a Hora or the foxtrot. So that's a bit more understandable.

But it truly is ridiculous for these women in shul -- and there's a 50 year old amidst the noted few -- to sling their purses on their shoulders and join the congregation in praying, especially when they have to bend forward for certain prayers. No doubt those straps slip off the shoulder.

It's not as if all their worldly goods are inside that little pouch; perhaps a house key, (or a car key for some), a breath mint, or a tissue lay in wait. Please, ladies, if you are to bring a purse to an Orthodox shul, don't display it proudly on your shoulder as you daven. You look ridiculous and fearful..

If someone is out to get you, it won't be in shul, it'll be during the kiddush following services!