To me, Havdalah is like water. It takes the form of whatever it’s poured into while its composition remains the same. In the kitchen with your parents it is one last time for the family to be together before the rest of the week begins. In a forest under the stars it is being at one with creation. At the conclusion of Yom Kippur it is the final encore of High Holidays and another five minutes before the fast is broken. It is the bridge between a Holiday and the rest of life. In my adolescence, when I did Havdalah mostly at synagogue youth events and summer camp, it was a time for me to get close to the girl I’d been eyeing since Friday night and possibly give her a Shavua tov kiss after singing Eliyahu Hanavi. To give you a little background: From the moment I started salvaging my Mother’s copies of Victoria’s Secret out of the recycle, my parents made it very clear it to me that if I was going to date a girl under their roof, she was going to be Jewish. Of course, living in Orange County this simply meant that I wasn’t going to date. There were hardly any Jewish girls in my school and the ones that I liked were far out of my league. Not to mention it appeared nobody else had been given the same guidelines. It seemed that the only opportunity to court, let alone meet members of the opposite sex was the small weekend Kinnusim that my congregation organized. During these three day excursions Jewish Teens from all over would congregate at one predetermined synagogue to pray, learn, and socialize. So three times a year I was given 72 hours to meet, impress, and hopefully smooch a girl. The key to doing so lay in the timing. Friday Night and Saturday morning were devoted to prayer and Sunday was all about the Tikkun Olam charity project, so the Saturday post Shabbat activity (usually a dance or carnival of some sort) was the small window in which the objective could be met. Havadalah, with the wine, the candle light, soft music, and delicious scents was the perfect way to set the tone for the evening. Placing oneself in close proximity to the object of affection assured success. Today I live in Los Angeles where I’m surrounded by Jews. Havdalah has taken it’s place as one last welcome breath before the end of the Sabbath. These days when I want to impress a lady, all I need is a Vanilla scented Glade plug in and a little Josh Groben.