“Happy New Year”

The uniformed officer had made his first round of the building. The back door was locked. The front entrance doors were closed, but he could still faintly hear the sacred music of the festivities within.

Seemed funny to be having a New Year celebration at night—in church, no less. He was getting paid well for his service, but it was odd to him, nevertheless. Not only was he missing an important baseball game on TV but the mosquitos had become bothersome after the sun set. It had rained most of the week. At least tonight was dry.

With a look to both corners of the block and down the tree-lined street passing out front, he started another patrol. He had left the Marine Corps fifteen years ago, but he had walked perimeter guard so many times that old habits were still automatic. He didn’t expect any trouble, but he hadn’t been hired just to stand around.

As he neared the northeast corner, a car pulled up across the street. A middle aged man got out of the driver’s seat, closed the door, and walked up the steps of the neighboring church. No service was occurring there. In fact, the lights were off, but just a few seconds after the man walked in, a single light came on and lit up the stained glass window on the right hand side of the door.

“Hmm,” the officer thought. “Not locked. No one there. Guess the Presbyterians aren’t too worried about things.”

“This building is full of people; all the lights are on, and they say they’re celebrating something like Year 5,775. The rabbi said this temple has been here for 90 years, 140 for the people’s presence in town. Hard to imagine trouble for a church of any kind here in the Midwest.”

With that thought in mind, his eyes scanning the growing darkness and his ears attuned to anything out of the ordinary in the small city’s traffic noises, he rounded the next corner and came again to the front of the building. The odd, eerie blaring of the shofar startled him, and he looked up the steps toward the sound and gasped.

Splashed awkwardly across the ornately carved front doors in still wet paint was a symbol right out of his history books—a swastika.

The long note from the ram’s horn faded and gave way to the off-key whistling of the blissfully unaware parishioner returning to his car across the street.

“Shanah Tovah”

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