Late Friday afternoon.
Joey’s back is towards us. He’s decked out in prayer regalia?—?including tefillin, which are on incorrectly. He’s checking the books and pulls one down, stops, pulls another, stops. He takes a hefty book and turns to face the audience, looking very much like the perfect rabbi.
An old-style intercom buzzes and we hear the voice of Sheryl.
Sheryl: Rabbi. You’ve got a visitor. I said to wait in the hall but . . . Rabbi?
Joey settles behind the desk. Relaxed. At home. He opens the book, flips the pages. Michael enters, sweaty from her run. And . . .
Michael: Excuse me.
Michael stares at Joey, puzzled.
What can I do for you? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m waiting for someone.
Michael: I see.
Joey: I have an appointment.
Michael: Sorry to disturb you.
Joey: Not a problem, I’m sure the receptionist can help you out.
Michael: Or security.
Michael reaches for the intercom.
Michael: Shall I call security?
Joey: I’m sorry, do you work here? I don’t know everyone who works here.
Michael: I can see that.
Joey extends a hand.
Joey: So your parents wanted a boy?
Michael: It means “gift from G-d” or “who is like G-d. ”
Joey: It means your parents wanted a boy.
Michael: I’m guessing yours did too.
Joey: So what do you do here?
Michael: This and that . . . I’m the rabbi. So more this than that.
Michael: And you’re in my chair.
Joey: You’re Rabbi Levitz-Sharon? (pronounced Share-in. )
Michael: Rabbi Michael Levitz-Sharon. (pronounced Sha-rown) Like the prime minister. No relation.
Joey: But you’re?—
Michael: Not circumcised?
Joey: Young. I was thinking young.
Michael: Of course you were.
Joey indicates her ball cap.
Joey: And that’s your kippah? So you cover your head all the time?
Michael: You must be Mr. Brant.
Joey: So you heard I was coming?
Michael: I heard you wanted to see me today and Sheryl told you I wasn’t available because I’m never available Friday afternoons. I’ve got a service to prepare.
Joey: Did she tell you it was an emergency? I told her to tell you it was an emergency.
Michael: Did somebody die?
Joey: No one I know.
Michael: Is someone dying?
Joey: We’re all dying. It’s the human condition.
Michael: So it’s not an emergency. And it’s almost Shabbat. And I really have to shower and change.
Joey: This won’t take long.
Michael: I can see you next week. Not on Friday. Once the sun goes down I can’t turn on the hot water.
Joey: That’s just silly.
Michael: It is, actually, but that’s religion for you.
Joey: An ancient tradition dating back to the great showers of Egypt.
Michael: Also, the congregation will be wondering where I am.
Joey: I’m here now. I’m dressed. I only need a minute.
Michael: You look lovely. You should stay for services.
Joey: Are you kidding? It’s Friday night.
Michael: Yes, that would be when we traditionally have Friday night services. And you know what happens at sundown?
Joey: Hell yah. I remember this from Hebrew school. The chariot turns into a pumpkin and the horses turn back into mice.
Michael: You have to go. I have to change. Now if you want to talk next week?—
Joey: This’ll only take a second. Please, just one second, I promise.