When people ask me what prompted me to become a rabbi, I often tell them about my love of Jewish learning, or Israel, or a desire to help, or some such noble pursuit. The truth is what prompted me to become a rabbi was-Chuck Taylors.
I remember as a kid going to synagogue on Yom Kippur and seeing my rabbi and cantor wearing snow white Chuck Taylors on the bimah. I grew up in a more traditional congregation, and many people observed the prohibition on wearing leather shoes on Yom Kippur. The rabbi and cantor wore Chucks. Now, if you can you name another religion where on the holiest day of the year the leader of the congregation rocks Chuck Taylors? Did not think so. The Pope, who is a very humble and caring man, still wears Pradas. Don’t get me started on what our Newark Archbishop wears-but trust me, they ain’t 40 dollar Chucks.
Most Reform rabbis wear leather shoes, because Reform is a classy movement and we still think that sneakers on Yom Kippur smack of “the old country”. So for over a decade I have worn nice leather shoes. But this year I went out to Footlocker and bought me some snow white Converse All-Stars to rock on the bimah this Yom Kippur. Stylin’ don’t you think?
An easy fast!