Jewaiian Time

I grew up with Jewish Standard Time. That’s the way most Jewish social events don’t ever start on time. If you tell people to come at 7 pm, they show up around 7:20 and you don’t get started until after 7:30.

People have busy lives with jobs and kids and responsibilities. They try to fit in as much as they can. If  Synagogue life cannot be at the center of their lives, at least it is a part. They will get there when they get there and do what they can.

Then I moved to Hawaii. Here they call it Hawaiian Time. Same concept. Most things start late, but for slightly different reasons. Hawaii is “Laid Back.” Not in a lazy sort of way, but with grace and ease. What’s the hurry? We have plenty of time. Just as the tide rolls in, so do the people. And then they stay.

And then there’s being Jewish in Hawaii.

I recently heard the combination of  Jewish Standard Time and Hawaiian Time referred to as “Jewaiian Time”–a powerful combination–certainly in terms of scheduling.

With these two cultural idiosyncrasies working together, it is almost completely impossible for anything to start as scheduled.

Luckily, they create a compelling synergy. The laid back nature of the island culture has definitely had an effect on the local Jewish Community, softening an underlying edge that I might have felt in other places.

Some might come a bit late, programs and meetings may not begin exactly on time, but nobody minds and they certainly stay, transforming our Shul on Oahu into at true Beit Knesset, place of assembly, gathering place.

It’s this sort of “Go with the flow” kind of lifestyle that makes being Jewish in Hawaii such a unique experience, certainly one worth writing about.

18 Comments (+add yours?)

    Jul 18, 2010 @ 19:32:01

    I like your new blog


  2. Hal W
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 20:01:39


    Congatulations on the new blog. The topic is intriguing and with your abilities I am sure you will make it interesting and delighful.
    On the East Coast most of the Jews come early to a function so as not to “miss anything”, especially the food.
    I miss your blog about “The Second City”. You seem to hint that you are reviving it. Is this the case?



  3. Toby Bachenheimer
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 20:13:05

    Congrats on the new blog. I will make sure that I read it religiously


  4. Julia Dewees
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 21:01:55

    I love reading your writing and am excited to follow your new blog.


  5. Donna Paul
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 21:12:24

    Lorrie – Awesome Blog. I had to laugh because everything you say is right on. My hula group just had our Ho’ike a few weeks ago – apparently I am one of the few in our group who has no issues with things running on Hawaiian Time. Our Ho’ike is very laid back and informal – Luau style – people arrive late, take their time eating, then visit with friends & family at their own pace. Then they leisurely shop the vendor booths we have set up -dancing? What Dancing? It will start when they are good & ready for it to start. Needless to say, every year us “old timers” have to explain this phenomena to the new girls who, along with being nervous, are now getting impatient (not a good combination). While I kept telling the girls to relax – one of them turned to me and said “you have it easy – you’re Jewish – you’re used to it. I’m Protestant … and from NY – you don’t just get there on time – you get there 30 minutes early! And don’t even get me started on how long it will probably take these people to leave … at this rate we’ll still be here tomorrow!”

    Miss ya,


  6. Martha Gershun
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 02:13:24

    So glad you’re blogging again – we’ve missed you!
    In Kansas City, Jewish events actually do start on time… it’s very disorienting…


  7. A.J. N
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 06:56:57

    Hi Lorraine,

    Congrats on the new blog! Hope all is well on your end!



    Jul 19, 2010 @ 13:37:28



  9. JAG
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 16:37:59

    Hi Lorraine! Welcome back to blogging. This is a great topic. I look forward to reading about the important aspects of Jewish life in Hawaii, such as food. I’m a quarter Jewish, but I cannot stand being late. It’s the reporter in me. My wife is always late, but that is because it takes her an hour to get ready for anything. She has taught me patience.


    • Lorraine Gershun
      Jul 19, 2010 @ 16:44:24

      Thanks. It’s good to be back. And thank you for introducing me to the world of blogging! The teacher in me makes me not only on time, but I plan my life in ten minute increments! It has annoyed more than one partner!


  10. Chuck Balcher
    Jul 20, 2010 @ 00:51:26

    Nice blog. Always great to experience the joys of others expressions about being Jewish in Hawaii.


  11. Betty T
    Jul 20, 2010 @ 22:55:44

    Sounds like being jewaiian is a little like being iratholic, where we get to church 10 minutes late every week no matter what Mass we go to. Are there many Irish in Hawaii?


    • Lorraine Gershun
      Jul 21, 2010 @ 16:52:36

      Good question. Never heard the term before. Totally cool. I know a few who happen to be good friends of mine. One definitely runs a bit late on a regular basis and loves Spam Musubi!


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