Judaism Beyond Words
As far as we know, Samuel Pepys ventured into a London synagogue only once. Once was enough. Pepys is the celebrated 17th-century diarist, and the day he visited the Creechurch Lane Synagogue happened to be Simhat Torah, the holiday marking the completion of the yearly cycle of Torah reading. The congregation was living it up, dancing and singing and drinking uproariously as one does on Simhat Torah. But Pepys took it to be an ordinary Jewish worship service, and drew the obvious conclusions about this bizarre and drunken race called the Jews.
About the Author
David Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale.