Click here for Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII,VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV and XV.
Back in my hotel room, I seriously contemplated skipping the Friday night experience at Chabad. Frankly, the process of showering early enough so that my hair would dry on time, but then not being able to nap because my hair would dry all flat from the pillow, seemed overwhelming when I was so tired and just wanted to sleep. I'd heard that Russian women dress really nicely and always wear makeup (which was true, from what I‘d seen so far) and it felt like too much effort to make myself look good, shlep to the Chabad house, and then pray and eat and talk to people. The opportunity to just sleep all evening was tempting.
In the end I decided that I'd have to go with wet hair, and took a nap first. Part of the reason I wanted to go to Chabad was to see how this particular slice of Jewish Moscow looks, and to meet people who actually live in Moscow. I wanted the cultural experience, one I'd never have a chance to experience again. But what truly compelled me to pull myself together, frankly, was the knowledge that there would probably be roast chicken at the meal. That felt like a simple but wholesome, warm food that I could eat.
I have a friend who jokes, whenever she forces herself to go to a social situation that she doesn't want to attend, that "at least there will be cookies." I didn't feel like dragging myself outside, but at least there would be roasted chicken! I love roast chicken.
So I napped, and as the sun was going down I showered, feeling bad that I might miss the start of the prayer services; again, I'd probably never be back to Moscow, so this was my only chance to soak in the Shabbat experience here.
Then something positive happened: I checked my email one last time, and my friends had sent me my credit card codes! They’d gone to get Wylie’s litter box, and had found my codes just where I’d said they’d be. I didn’t celebrate yet -- I’d have to wait until after Shabbat to confirm the codes actually WORKED in this foreign country, and that nothing else was going wrong -- but this was a step in the right direction. I was 95% ready to breathe a sigh of relief.
Shabbat started around 6:40 pm, which is when I left the hotel, in search of the Marina Roscha Jewish Center.