006: Tisha B’av, Pico-Robertson, and Guru Ram Das Ashram

This past Sunday I visited a friend deep on the westside, met his two huge cats, and he took me to the Ashram on the corner that he attends.

I had to do some reading on Sikhism after I got home to really understand what I was looking at. I had to cover my head and remove my shoes on entering this small space. The art was amazing, an interior dome with murals of famous gurus.

Only after did I realize I was in Pico-Robertson, the westside’s Jewish neighborhood. Hungry, I strolled up Robertson and finally found a kabob joint. The food was good! Dry, but good. It was also kosher, and I left wondering if it was a Jewish place I’d just been to? Or are most places in the area just kosher because of the residents? There’s so much I don’t know yet.

We had just learned in class that week about the big Jewish Persian population in LA. I’m fascinated.

Only cracking open the calendar I got at school did I see it was also Tisha B’av, the day that both the first and second temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. It’s considered the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. Had I known, I would have gone to a synagogue, not an Ashram.

Something serendipitous happened though. While walking I saw an older woman struggling to get out her car. She was very frail, alone, had a cane, and the curb was very high. I offered her my arm and she gladly took it. As I led her to the door of the building and she thanked me, I peaked in a large hall and realized it was a synagogue. Orthodox, I discovered.

I was glad to be able to help her that day.