Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rosh Chodesh without, & with, a minyan

This morning, when I was davvening (praying) at home, alone, I thought to myself that it was a pity I couldn't be somewhere where there was a Torah reading. But our local shul has weekday morning minyan on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday only, and where else could I go within walking distance where a woman would be welcome? Sure, I could always put on my tallit and tefillin at home, say the three paragraphs of the Sh'ma, then, having fulfilled the minimum requirement for wearing tallit and tefillin (to the best of my knowledge), take them off and go, but I suspect that I'd get the fish-eyed stare at the local Orthodox minyan just for showing up--they're probably not used to having women present at weekday services, and may not even have a mechitzah set up on weekdays. Yep, a fish-eyed stare for a fish out of water. Sigh.

On the plus side, we've finally gotten something going at work--we had a portable mechitzah set up in the Bet Midrash (house of study, usually a room used for study and prayer--some might call it a chapel) at the late minchah (Afternoon Service) on Taanit Esther (the Fast of Esther) and today for Rosh Chodesh ("New Moon," literally Head of Month--first day of a new month on the Jewish calendar). Neat! If I davven at breakneck speed, I can finish the Amidah just about in time for the repetition, so I can say K'dushah, not to mention the "2nd Modim" and two kaddishes. Now, all I have to do is to figure out whether I'm supposed to substitute "Sim Shalom" for "Shalom Rav" at minchah on Rosh Chodesh, as the baal tefillah did today, or whether that's done only in Nusach S'fard.

(Update: It's "Shalom Rav" in the ArtScroll Nusach Ashkenaz siddur, "Sim Shalom" at all weekday Mincha services in the Artscroll Nusach S'fard siddur. We women have to davven with the S'fard minyan because there's no room in the crammed-in-like-sardines Ashkenaz minyan for a mechitzah).

Speaking of minyanim . . .


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