Sunday, March 05, 2006

My second ever Kiddush Levanah!

The one and only time that I’d ever participated in Kiddush Levanah, the sanctification of Hashem’s name as creator of the moon, must have been easily twenty years ago, at a National Havurah Institute (a week of Jewish study, usually housed on a college campus, that’s organized every year by the National Havurah Committee. The ritual had been led by the wife of one of the Orthodox rabbis in attendance.

Recently, I decided that it was time to try this myself. Unfortunately, I got the timing mixed up, and missed the last permissible day last month. So I thought I would try again for Adar. The rabbi, despite the fact that he was yakking with a congregant and making no effort to spare his voice, begged off, using the dumb excuse that he had a sore throat. (Yeah, right.) So I rounded up a few other willing souls. After Mincha-Maariv this past Saturday night, the chazzan (cantor), one other congregant, and my hubby stopped off as I zipped up to our apartment to pick up an Artscroll Siddur (prayerbook). (For some unknown reason, Kiddush Levanah does not appear in the old Conservative Silverman Siddur used by our shul/synagogue). Then we headed down the block to the local playground. I didn’t even give anyone a chance to volunteer. It was pure self-preservation that led me to start reading the prayers myself: Since either the cantor or the Israeli-American congregant would have been the most likely leaders of the service, I knew I’d never be able to keep pace if anyone but me did the reading! With a bit of help from the Israeli-American, I managed to read almost the entire service myself without cracking my teeth too much on the Hebrew. We exchanged “Shalom Aleichem—Aleichem Shalom” greetings, read through “siman tov u-mazal tov,” then went our separate ways home. It was delightful. With luck, next month, same time, same place.

Lest I fail to give credit where it's due, I must say that even one of a singer/songwriter's sillier songs can inspire observance. I can hear the Shlock Rockers now, adding Yiddish-accented "schtick" to the end of the song, after the "official" lyrics:

"Sholom aleichem."

"Aleichem sholom."

"Sholom aleichem."

"Aleichem sholom."

"Sholom aleichem."

"Aleichem sholom."

"Move your car. I'm gonna miss 'Star Trek.'"

"Ach, you've seen them all already."



Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Congratulations. Actually, this week I learned a new trick. You're not supposed to face the moon when you do Kiddush Levona, lest it appear that you are praying to the moon. So you face east, and glance at the moon just before saying the bracha.

Don't you know nothin from nothin!?

Mon Mar 06, 12:12:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Don't you know nothin' from nothin'?" :) Manishevitz, musicians must have memories like that of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, "a cemented cistern that loses not a drop." (Pirkei Avot/Sayings [Ethics] of the Fathers, chapter 2, paragraph 10.) You still remember the schtick that you did on an album recorded almost 20 years ago?! *I* should only have such a memory!

Thanks for the info about not facing the moon except just before reciting the brachah (blessing). The logic is, well, logical.

Mon Mar 06, 11:19:00 PM 2006  
Blogger BZ said...

Cool! I didn't know that you had been to the Institute in the past. I'm co-chairing this summer's Institute. Want to come back?

It's going to be great; i just posted about it at Jewschool.

Mon Apr 03, 12:59:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I wish, but we're investing our money in our son's tuition--he's studying in Japan this summer!

Mon Apr 03, 11:55:00 PM 2006  

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