Thursday, February 02, 2023

Second-hand Rose, or Judaism by proxy—my problem with a rabbinic interpretation of Sh’ma

I’ve been taking a class on Sh’ma with Rabbi Reuven Kimelman and Eliana Light, and it’s been fascinating—I’m learning different ways of interpreting the text that would never have occurred to me.  But the more Rabbi Kimelman talked about the tefillin functioning as reminders to give credit to HaShem, not the ancient rain god Ba’al, for rain, the more I kept thinking that something was missing.  Or, rather some*one.*

I realize that I’ve getting ahead of the curriculum, since we’ll be discussing the third paragraph of Sh’ma *next* Wednesday, but the issue is basically the same.

Here’s a quote from a comment posting on my blog some years ago [links added by me]:  “What is the purpose of a woman putting on tefillin/tzitzit? Is it to be like a man? is it to be closer to God? There is a story(I think is true) of a woman who asked R. Soloveichik if she could put on a Tallit. He told her to try wearing a pasul one(one fringe cut off). After a few weeks, he asked her how she felt wearing the Tallit, and she responded that she felt closer to God. He told her she could not wear it anymore and could not wear a tallit, because a pasul tallit should not have any effect on how she felt.(she was not fulfilling any commandment with a known pasul tallit, and any benefit she felt would have come from just the act of wearing the cloth and being like a guy.) So motivation is a prime issue.” 

Rabbi Soloveitchik *may* have been correct from a halachic (Jewish religious law) point of view, but I’ve always thought that he was totally incorrect in assuming that “any benefit she felt would have come from just the act of wearing the cloth and being like a guy.”  I’ve always felt that, assuming this story is true, the woman may have felt closer to God because it was probably the first time in her life that she’d ever worn a garment that was specifically intended for prayer.

To the best of my knowledge, the rabbis of old interpreted the tallit and tefillin as being either “beged ish” (men’s garments) forbidden to women, and/or as garments restricted to those obligated to observe time-bound commandments. They seem not to have given any thought to the needs of women to have our own religious lives apart from those of our fathers, brothers, husbands, and/or sons. As far as I know, there was never any Jewish religious garment intended for wear by women. (Head scarves and the like are also worn by nuns and Muslim women—modest dress is not exclusive to Jewish women.) So what’s a *woman* supposed to do when Sh’ma says that you should bind HaShem’s words on your hand and between your eyes as a reminder to give credit to G!d, not Ba'al, for rain--shouldn't this reminder also apply to women? And when Sh’ma says that you will see the fringe and remember all HaShem’s mitzot, what’s a *woman* supposed to look at?

I have now been wearing a tallit for 51 years, and I don’t feel as if it’s a real Morning Service until I recite the b’rachah and put it on.  For me, reciting the b’rachah and laying tefillin is just what I do when I pray the Weekday Shacharit.  I have zero interest in letting my husband be my “surrogate Jew.”  I insist on owning my own Judaism.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

74 and going for more

Happy birthday to me.  :)

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The taming of “the” Sh’ma

Sh’ma, Yisrael . . .

Hear O Israel . . .

Many of us have heard and/or read that translation literally hundreds of times.  But tell me, where does the “O” come from?  For that matter, why do we talk about “the” Sh’ma—where does the “the” come from?  Check the original, in Parashat Va’etchanan, Deuteronomy 6:4—neither word is there.

Sh’ma, in its original context, is a command from Moshe (Moses) to remember that HaShem is our only god.  The best translation I’ve ever literally seen is an American Sign Language interpretation that uses the sign for “Pay Attention!” as the translation of “Sh’ma!”.

I think that, by turning Sh’ma into “the” Sh’ma and adding the word O, we’ve reduced Moshe’s thunderous command to ritual baby food, simple enough for a child to say.  But the original text was aimed at parents—"Teach them [these words] to your children"!  In my opinion, we should take away the O and restore just plain Sh’ma to its original status as one of Moshe’s marching orders:  As Eliana Light translates it, “Listen up!”


Here's a version of Sh'ma in ASL.

Monday, January 23, 2023

A little shul music

Let me just say it—size matters.  😊  But in this case, I think smaller is better—while I enjoy hearing guitar or piano accompaniment to Kabbalat Shabbat, I, personally, feel that the service begins to sound more like a performance when more instruments are added.  On a similar note, I’m not fond of instrumental solos during a service—it’s not supposed to be a concert.

You may have noticed that I was discussing Kabbalat Shabbat above, and there’s a reason for that.  Kabbalat Shabbat consists largely of poems, parts or all of which have been set to Western-style music.  Maariv/Arvit/Evening Service, on the other hand, consists largely of nusach.  I know almost nothing about non-Ashkenazi synagogue music, and I’m not a trained musician, so I can only discuss Ashkenazi nusach, and not-necessarily in proper terminology—my impression is that Ashkenazi nusach is not entirely “Western.”  I say that mostly because Ashkenazi nusach does not always have a clearly-defined and predictable rhythm.  Consider the “Avot section,” the first paragraph of the Amidah prayer, as it appears in Shacharit/Morning Service.  It doesn’t seem to me that the nusach of either the weekday, the Shabbat (Sabbath), the Shalosh Regalim (Pilgrimage Festivals) or the Yamim Noraim (High Holydays) Avot Section has a sufficiently regular beat to be notated in standard European musical notation (at least, not easily!).  So why are we trying to force nusach into a Western musical mode by accompanying it with musical instruments?  Sure, you *can* accompany Chatzi Kaddish with a guitar, but is that necessarily a good idea?  I’m always delighted to see a baal/baalat tefillah (prayer leader) put down their guitar at the end of the last psalm of Kabbalat Shabbat and lead Maariv a cappella.

Several years ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic, singer/songwriter Elana Arian posted on Facebook that she was co-teaching a class with Cantor Jack Mendelson on integrating modern Jewish religious music with nusach.  I remember thinking that I would love to attend a class or two of that course.  I still would!  I’ve spent my entire life as a member of a cappella synagogues, and, to this day, there are some synagogues with wonderful rabbis, cantors, and music that I can’t attend because the instrumental accompaniment distracts me from praying.  Am I the only one?  How do we integrate traditional and modern Jewish religious music in the same service?  And what part should instrumental accompaniment play in that integration?  Your thoughts would be appreciated. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

We *paid* for Social Security & Medicare!

If anyone votes to take away or reduce our Social Security and/or Medicare, they'd better vote to give us refunds, or we'll vote their duffs out of office!!! This is how my husband, a retired CPA, describes these programs: Social Security is an annuity prepaid for by payroll deductions. Medicare is health insurance, the premiums for which are paid for by payroll deductions for Part A and deductions from one's Social Security income for Parts B and D.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

COVID, round 2

Yep, my husband finished his Paxlovid on Sunday and tested positive again today.  😢  I'm still negative, but this "generic" virus of mine isn't going anywhere fast.  It's gonna be a long week.  🙁

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Update from sick-bay

I got sick first, but my husband's the one with COVID.  I tested negative on both Tuesday's and Friday's PCR tests.  I also tested negative for the flu.  Go figure.  So while I started in the bedroom and my husband started in the living room, now *I'm* sleeping in the living room, while my husband is sleeping in our bedroom, where he can close the door.  We're walking around the apartment in N95 masks to keep from trading germs back and forth.  We're doing both our shul-hopping and our grocery shopping online for another week (or longer, if my husband gets a "Paxlovid rebound.")  But neither of us has had a fever for several days.  It could be worse.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

“Praying When the World is At Stake: A Theology of Climate Change”

Thank goodness for multi-access programming! I had been planning to attend this lecture in person, but I'm a bit under the weather, as stated below. Thank you, Rabbi Avi Killip, for this thoughtful presentation.


0:20 / 59:32

Hadar was live.

"As we watch storms surge and fires burn, the changing climate has moved from an abstract fear to an ever-present reality. The enormity of this crisis demands a complex type of faith, a different kind of prayer, and a theological reckoning. How can we bring our fears and hopes to God? What might it look like to pray about climate change? At this year's Dr. Eddie Scharfman Memorial Lecture, join Rabbi Avi Killip to explore the wisdom that Jewish tradition has to offer for this time of global crisis.
Hadar is honored to hold this lecture in memory of Dr. Eddie Scharfman z"l, who was committed to learning and Torah. Thank you to the Scharfman Family for their support in making this lecture possible."

Monday, January 09, 2023

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer??? (Jan. 10 update: Rudolph probably has COVID--her husband does 🙁)

If my nose ran any faster, it might get an Olympic medal.  I need a tissue every time I bend down.  I have a scratchy throat, a dry cough, and a slight fever of 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2222 Celsius).  The only good news is that the COVID test I took this afternoon was negative.  My best guess is that I have a mild flu.  (My husband, our son, and I have all received two COVID vaccinations, three COVID boosters, and flu shots.)  I'll be taking another COVID test tomorrow.  If I'm still negative, maybe my poor husband can stop sleeping in the living-room.  Speaking of which, I should probably try to sleep, even though I slept most of the afternoon.  G'night.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

The queen of crowns is getting yet another one :(

Ouch--my gum hurts.  And so does my wallet.  :(

These photos of The Pond, which is at the southeast end of Central Park (and literally across the street from my dentist), are the only consolation for the giant hole that my dentist has drilled in our budget. 

One of the dentist's assistants said that, almost every year, some fool walks out onto the ice and falls in.

The Light Lab's Episode 36: The Poetry of Prayer (with Rabbi Reuven Kimelman)

Calling all tefillah (Jewish prayer) fans! Rabbi Reuven Kimelman talks about the Jewish prayer-book's historical development, kabbalists' contribution to prayer, and liturgical poetry and music. Bonus: He and Eliana Light are going to be teaching a course called The Deep Dive: Shema.

Here's a link to the podcast on Spotify.  If you're not fond of Spotify, you can also find it on Eliana's own website here, and probably on other podcast sites.

Here's the info and registration link for the course.

Here's an oldie but goodie from my blog, for Parashat Vayigash.

I'm generally a p'shat (literal interpretation) kind of person, and tend to take midrashim with a grain, if not a box, of salt--sometimes looking at the text directly makes more sense, and/or reading midrashim takes one so far from the original text that it's barely recognizable.  So my Thursday, December 20, 2007 post, Shim'on, here. Remember me? is about as close to writing a midrash as I've ever gotten.  😀 


For an example of how ignoring the midrashim actually clarifies the text, see here.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Oy, vey, am I late! Well, I guess I'll just give Chanukah a royal send-off with Rav Warshawsky's "Hanerot Hallalu. "

See and hear Rabbi Josh Warshawshy's HaNerot Hallalu here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky's Vayeishev 5783 – Arise (d'var Torah & song)

See and hear here.

[For search purposes, see Vayeshev.]

P.S.  For those wishing to play catch-up, here's the link to Rav Josh's 5783 Musical Torah Journey.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

My new pink look :)


Tuesday, December 06, 2022

My thoughts (very belated) re Parashat Vayetze

Here's the link.  Thank you, Sefaria!

I'm making a few comments about Parashat Vayetze that I don't think I've mentioned before.

For openers, the early books of the Torah don't seem to show much respect for consent.  Bilhah and Zilpah are nonchalantly handed to Yaakov (Jacob) as concubines without ever uttering a word, in the same way that Hagar was handed to Avraham.  The only one the Torah shows giving consent is Rivkah (Rebecca).

Also, here's something I never realized--read carefully:


See also my Friday, November 24, 2017 post, Vayetze: How could Jacob have mistaken Leah for Rachel? does it again:  This is the most logical explanation I've ever read.

Rabbi Josh Warshavsky's Vayishlach 5783 – Na’ar Hayiti (d'var Torah & song)

Here's the open-access link to Rav Josh's d'var Torah and song for Parashat Vayishlach.

Monday, December 05, 2022

My Mary's Gone Crackers recommendation

Mary's Gone Crackers are kosher, parve, egg-free, gluten-free, and yeast-free.  They'd make a perfect cracker for me (and other gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free folks, except for those who can't eat soy or sesame), were it not for one minor problem--they don't taste like crackers.  I've been eating them for years, but I've never quite figured out what to make of them.  It finally dawned on me recently that maybe I've been taking their name too literally--since they're crunchy, like potato chips (crisps?), corn chips, and tortilla chips, and don't dissolve in soup, it makes more sense to think of them as rice-and-seed chips.  So now, instead of trying to figure out what I can spread on these so-called crackers, I just munch 'em like any other chips.  That works for me.

Yes, sometimes this is what I do at 3 AM when I can't sleep--I put the posts that I've been writing in my head down on "paper."  :)

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Autumn's last hurrah

Just click on the shot to get a closer look at the bush without so much brick behind it.   :)

Thursday, December 01, 2022

"The Pandemic Isn’t Forcing Moms Out of the Workforce — Dads Are"

This article dates back to July 2020, but I just saw it today on Facebook, courtesy of Aliza M. Hausman.

Personally, I think that both that article and the one to which it refers, about which I posted here, miss part of the problem.  As I commented:

"BTW, it doesn't have to be women who take care of the children. Rather, men could be stay-at-home dads while women work."

That decision may depend on which spouse has the higher income. [End of my comment.]

But the linked article certainly makes an important point about sharing childcare and housework responsibilities:

"For reporters: Instead of another article on how moms are struggling to juggle their work and childcare, what about a piece — or several — on how fathers are doing too little? Let’s be direct: Men’s refusal to do an equal share of domestic work during the pandemic — a decision that could roll women’s rights back by decades — is a national scandal. Why aren’t we covering it as such?

We can’t be above a little old-fashioned shaming. Not when the stakes are this high (and the behavior this shameful). The pandemic isn’t forcing mothers out of the workforce — it’s just shining a light on long-standing inequalities. The coronavirus doesn’t care who does the dishes or who helps with homework. So when we talk about these issues, let’s be precise: Covid-19 may be making it harder for parents to balance their home and work lives; but it’s dads who are making it harder for moms."

See also my Tuesday, March 12, 2019, post, "Book review: "Fed Up--Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward," by Gemma Hartley.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky 's Vayeitze 5783 d'var Torah & song is here

I'm delighted to report that Rabbi Josh Warshawsky is now posting his 5783 Musical Torah Journey on his own website, where it's available to all.  See here.

[For search purposes, see Vayetze.]

Monday, November 28, 2022

Online (and/or televised) religious services: Pros and Cons

This isn’t a discussion about halachah (Jewish religious law), it’s a discussion about practicality.


Online (and/or televised) religious services make these services available to almost all elderly, ill, and/or disabled people.  The unfortunate exception is people with significant hearing loss—it’s almost impossible to caption a Jewish service (or other event) that’s constantly switching from Hebrew to English and back, and American Sign Language interpreters who can interpret from both English and Hebrew are relatively rare.  (EJ Cohen, where we find your colleagues?)

Online (and/or televised) religious services also provide access for folks who don’t live near a Jewish community.  People don’t always have the option of living near a synagogue, or, perhaps, the neighborhood in which they live no longer has the same demographics that it had when they moved there.  Some years ago, Lenny Solomon wrote a song about the passing of a synagogue for which he was the last High Holiday chazzan (cantor).


It’s so much easier to watch services from one’s living-room than to throw on some presentable clothing and get to synagogue in person that many people simply haven’t returned to in-person services.  My husband and I have participated in many Shabbat (Sabbath) and holiday services via Zoom or livestream, as well as in person again (since Pesach/Passover 2022), and honestly, I don’t know which is sadder:  a synagogue so small that congregants have to hold their breaths at every service, wondering whether they’ll get a minyan, or a congregation of over 500 members that can’t get an in-person minyan on a Friday night. 

Bottom line:

I don’t think it’s possible, or desirable, to put this genie back into the bottle.  Online (and/or televised) religious services are here to stay, whether or not everyone approves.  Clergy and congregants alike, let’s make this multi-access world the best it can be!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

❤️ Here's one of the few good things to come out of the pandemic.

Duets: Daniel Cainer & Chava Mirel

Locked down in London, England and sheltering in Seattle, US, two award-winning artists, collaborate across cyber-space to perform four beautiful songs.

Here's the link to the Vimeo videos.

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky's Parashat Toldot entry to his playlist 5783 Musical Journey

The text is only on Facebook, so I'm copying it (with Vimeo video link to follow):

"What is Tefillah supposed to “do”? For me, prayer is all about figuring out how to be the best version of myself every single day. What do I need? How can I be prepared? Can I set an intention for myself every day to strive to be the best Josh Warshawsky I can be today? What is daily prayer if not an exercise in self-discipline and self-reflection? If it is doing its job, prayer awakens us to walk a life of honor, honesty, goodness, and truth.

This idea is expressed most clearly through the prayer that Mar son of Ravina would use to conclude his Amidah prayer according to the Talmud. The prayer itself was so meaningful that it was placed in almost all siddurim after the Amidah for every pray-er to say three times a day:
אֱלֹהַי, נְצוֹר לְשׁוֹנִי מֵרָע וּשְׂפָתַי מִדַּבֵּר מִרְמָה, וְלִמְקַלְּלַי נַפְשִׁי תִדּוֹם, וְנַפְשִׁי כֶּעָפָר לַכֹּל תִּהְיֶה. פְּתַח לִבִּי בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ, וּבְמִצְוֹתֶיךָ תִּרְדּוֹף נַפְשִׁי.
My God, guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceit. To those who curse me let my soul be silent, and may my soul be like dust to all. Open my heart to Your Torah, and may my soul pursue your mitzvot. (BT Brachot 17a)
In reading through this week’s parsha, Toldot, it almost seems as if Jacob is aware of this particular prayer as well. He struggles with his mother’s instruction to lie to his father. Jacob, the simple Torah scholar, knows this is wrong. In response to his father’s question, “Who are you, my son?” The Torah says,
וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל־אָבִיו אָנֹכִי עֵשָׂו בְּכֹרֶךָ
Said Jacob to his father, “I am Esau, your first-born” (Bereishit 27:19)
But Rashi and other commentators throughout history notice the seemingly unnecessary words, “to his father” and read the verse differently. Instead, they say that the verse should be punctuated like this:
וַיֹּאמֶר: "יַעֲקֹב", אֶל־אָבִיו: "אָנֹכִי. עֵשָׂו בְּכֹרֶךָ".
And he said (in a whisper so his father could not hear) “Jacob” and to his father, “I am. And Esau is your eldest”.
In this reading, Jacob’s words remain truthful though they still yield a deceitful outcome. Does this change how we should view Jacob? The rabbis do their best to make us think so, but I’m not so sure. Though Jacob’s tongue has not spoken “evil”, his lips are still creating deceit.
A lie of omission is still a lie. What must we learn from Jacob? Each day provides a new opportunity for us to walk through the world as a decent human being. In the end, the choices we make are ours alone to make. Though we may be pressured by outside forces (be they family, coworkers, or celebrities), though we may stumble and fall, the choices we make are ours alone to make.
Let us keep the words of this prayer close to heart and strive each day to be a better version of ourselves than the day before."
Here's the link to the video on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Questions (very belated) re Parashat Chayei Sarai

Here's the text in question (or the text that's raising questions):  Genesis, chapter 25.

The text says that Avraham (Abraham) took a wife, bore six sons with her, gave all that he owned to Yitzchak (Isaac), then gave gifts to the sons of the concubines and sent them away to the east.

First of all, why would any man in his right mind father six children when he's over the age of 100 (or however old that is in contemporary terms)?  How and/or who does he expect to take care of them?

Second, how many concubines did Avraham have?!  Hagar was a concubine, but Keturah is clearly called a wife.  

Third, does this mean that Avraham *finally* got around to giving a decent gift to Yishmael (Ishmael), whom he had sent out to the wilderness as a teenager with nothing but a container of water and some bread (a death sentence)?  "Gee, thanks, Dad.  Now that I've spent decades paying off my medical-school loans and putting my kids through college, *now* you decide that I could use some financial support?"

Who wrote this chapter?  What the heck was/were they thinking, or weren't they thinking at all?  It makes no sense.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Trying to keep up with Rabbi Josh Warshawski's 5783 Musical Journey

 Hear here!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

I'm a kid again :)

Yesterday, I was sitting in my optometrist's optical department trying to pick a frame for my new glasses and having no luck.  Some frames were too big from top edge to bottom.  Others were so wide that they looked like they were going to take off and fly away. 😀  And everything that fit came in the wrong color.  😢

Finally, the person assisting me in the hunt made a suggestion that no one has ever made before:  "You have a thin face.  [Thanks, Mom!]  Would you like to try on some Children's frames?"

Bingo!  In five minutes, I had chosen my frame.  Welcome me back to pre-school!  😀

Political satire at its best

Thanks to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for last night's tip about this Trump article published in the New York Post--I had to go to Newsweek to find it:
"On Wednesday, page 26 of the New York Post read "Been there, Don that."
"With just 720 days to go before the next election, a Florida retiree made the surprise announcement Tuesday night that he was running for president," the article read. "In a move no political pundit saw coming, avid golfer Donald J. Trump kicked things off at Mar-a-Lago, his resort and classified-documents library."
"He has stated that his qualifications for office include being a 'stable genius,'" it said. "Trump also served as the 45th president."
See Newsweek article here.

Highlights of the Hadar Shabbaton 2022

We had a wonderful time last weekend at the Hadar National Shabbaton.  I'm just posting about it now because I wasn't awake enough until now--who sleeps at a Shabbaton?  😀  Shabbos nap?  What Shabbos nap?  😀

These were the highlights for me:


Our tiny synagogue gets only about 9-16 people on the average Shabbat (Sabbath) morning.  It was a pleasure to pray and sing with literally hundreds of people.  


Our congregation consists almost exclusively of people over 50, so we rarely see any children in synagogue.  According to Rabbi Ethan Tucker, there were 600 people (from 26 states, plus Canada and Israel) at the Shabbaton, and 150 of them were children.  The kids ranged in age from tall teenagers to tiny tots.  "How old is your baby?"  "Three months."  "What a cutie!"  What a joy, to be surrounded by the next generation!


There was singing at Friday night services, at the Tisch, at Shabbat morning services, after Seudah Shlishit, and on Saturday night after Shabbat.  I had the most fun at the Tisch.  Officially, it was led by niggun (wordless song) enthusiast Rabbi Aviva Richman.  But the real stars were the young people.  Ranging in age from roughly 10 to twenty-something, they supplied the enthusiasm, the volume, and plenty of table-pounding.  😀  When we arrived, there were about 20 people in the room.  By the time we dragged ourselves away to try to get some sleep, the population had roughly tripled, with more and more chairs dragged in from the hall and the folding door to the adjoining room opened up to accommodate the growing crowd.  That was the most fun I had all weekend!

I'm looking forward to the next Hadar National Shabbaton.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Check out Rabbi Josh Warshawsky's 5783 Musical Journey

 Hear here.

Death of a sales pitch (synagogue-style)

Jan. 3, 2023 update:  I hadn't thought of this as a four-part series going all the way back to June 2022, but here it is:

~ Tuesday, June 07, 2022's A weird Shavuot
~ Sunday, November 06, 2022's A gentle warning re synagogue viability 
~ Monday, November 07, 2022's Scenes from a synagogue 
~ Part four is below.

Once upon a time, my husband served as acting rabbi of our synagogue, delivering “sermons” almost every Shabbat (Sabbath) and Pilgrimage Festival.  For 12 years, he read every d’var Torah he could find online, referred to a few books (special thanks to Richard Elliott Friedman), and developed some well-prepared divrei Torah (“sermons”), then encouraged congregational discussion. 

In more recent years, as my husband and I began to discover new Jewish “spiritual” music (see my Wednesday, November 27, 2019 post, Our goal: To help our synagogue become a singing community), he and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce some new Jewish music into the service, so we did.

But age and stress, from not only giving divrei Torah but also leading P’sukei D’Zimrah, serving as a gabbai, and chanting roughly 60% of all haftarot, finally caught up with my husband, so he retired at the end of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  We took a one-month shul-hopping “vacation” after his retirement.  This past Shabbat was the first time since Yom Kippur that we attended services at our local synagogue. 

It was . . . interesting.

My husband’s carefully-prepared d’vrei Torah and the congregation’s discussion have disappeared, replaced by a five-minute (or less) sermon.  The connection between a World-Series baseball player and Avraham Avinu (Abraham our Patriarch), anyone?

As for new music, only one of the half-dozen-or-so songs that the two of us introduced to the congregation is still included in the service.  Much to my surprise, it isn’t Debbie Friedman’s Mishebeirach, which I had thought was the congregants’ favorite.

I guess we were not very good at “selling the program.”  :(


Added later, to enable readers to follow the whole story:  See my previous post.


Here's a later note, added Jan. 3, 2023, as a reminder to me and as an explanation for my readers: This was the last straw that cause my husband to start thinking about retiring as acting rabbi.

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