Webster defines pomp and circumstance as “impressive formal activities or ceremonies.” I love pomp and circumstance, and I was therefore glued to the monitor all day Wednesday to enjoy the Inauguration Day’s event. (Note: This is my commentary on the pomp, not the politics.)
Those who know me well may actually find it counterintuitive that I would enjoy the formalities, as I usually lean toward the informal. Sure, I wear a jacket and tie most days, but that is more of an occupational hazard. I much prefer to wear a polo. I don’t like spending an hour on something that can be done in 15 minutes. I don’t like to be called Mr. Kovach -- please call me Rob (or Robbie if you’ve known me for 32 or more years).
As an aside, I don’t think that there has ever been a Mr. Kovach in my direct ancestral line. My father is Stu. My grandfather, obm, was Joe. We actually know very little about my great-grandfather and he might have been Mr. Kovach, but my great-great grandfather would have been Mr. Cohen before the family changed the Jewish-sounding name to the very common Hungarian name: Kovach.
Perhaps I’m drawn to pomp and circumstance for the same reasons that I’m drawn to traditional Judaism. I enjoy the formality. The services and ceremonies follow a formal, time-tested “script”. I recognize that the traditional is not for everyone. Times change, and people change, but for me, there is comfort in knowing that I walk in many of the same footsteps as my Cohen ancestors.
President Reagan described the inaugural ceremonies as “commonplace and miraculous.” Paraphrasing: “commonplace” because they happen every four years and “miraculous” because they have happened every four years. To me, this is comforting.
While on the subject of politics, one of our Federation’s very successful programs in the past has been our periodic Mission to Washington. We would wake up very early, fly to Washington, and bus around for the day. We’d meet with elected officials, visit foreign embassies, and take in a couple of sights. It was an amazing, exhausting, and expensive day. COVID has provided us with a modified opportunity: a free, virtual mission to Washington organized by our national office. Many of our country’s elected officials will be joining us. Please click here to read more about the exciting program and register.
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