Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Faster than a speeding bullet . . . " :(

This morning, I took my future "kaddish minyan" for a test drive, so to speak. It went about as badly as I expected.

The whole service took half an hour. I had to stop in mid-Birkot HaShachar to respond "Amen" to Kaddish d'Rabbanan. I skipped truckloads of P'sukei d'Zimrah to get to Bar'chu with the congregation. I had barely reached the first paragraph of Sh'ma when the congregation began reciting the Amidah aloud for a heichah-K'dushah, which means that I missed K'dushah. I skipped Tachunun and went straight to Ashrei, skipped La-m'natseiach and K'dushah d'Sidra/U-va l'Tzion Goel, and still had to stop in mid-Aleinu to respond "Amen" to Kaddish Yatom/Mourner's Kaddish. I was the last person to finish davvening, of course, and, of the two people who left the Bet Midrash/chapel (whatever) after me, one of them was the guy waiting to lock up. Apparently, this is a "commuter minyan"--unlike the morning minyan at our local synagogue, no one sits around schmoozing over coffee afterward. I could go there for the whole eleven months of kaddish and still not get to know any of the other minyannaires.

So this is what I have to look forward to, every weekday morning for eleven months. As if being in aveilut/mourning for my mother isn't going to be depressing enough.


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Speed will come with practice. [I tried to find a usenet post from about 2002 where I complained how I was always falling behind, but no luck. Maybe later]

Are you going to this minyan on Sundays? During my aveilut year the commuter minyan socialized more on Sundays than during the week. We also had a couple of retired people who went out to breakfast afterwards. I was one of the communters, so I never did this.

Also, the C minyan I attended that year had 6 volunteers each responsible for ensuring there was a minyan for one day a week. One day was effectively "women's day" - the co-ordinator was a woman, there were several women who only showed up that day and to my disappointment there were a couple of men who never showed up that day. Do you see anything like this in your shul?

Thu Jun 11, 09:50:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Speed will come with practice." I suppose so. I davven more quickly now than I did a few years ago. But it's going to take a good while for me to get *that* fast.

I'll probably davven at my local synagogue on Sundays, as we often get a minyan on Sundays, and I'd like to hang out with the old gang at last one non-Shabbat day per week while I still have the opportunity . My best guess is that it'll be less than a year before we can no longer afford to keep our doors open. :(

There's no point making phone calls anymore, because most of the people who were willing to attend daily minyan in the past are now either too old and/or too ill, or no longer alive, and no one new is joining the shul. Attendance at just about all of our services now depends more on the weather than on anything else. If it's too cold, too hot, raining or snowing, people don't come.

Thu Jun 11, 10:32:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

The formal 'laws of skipping' can be found in the artscroll siddur, among other places. To summarize, during weekdays a really short pesuki dzimra (which you can do in order to daven the amidah with the congregation) might be Baruch Sheamar, Ashrei, and Yishtabach. In theory one should make up the missed prayers at the end of the service, but since you don't need a tzibbur you can do that outside the beit midrash.

I'm sorry your congregation is dying - the shul I grew up in is greying rapidly but the membership is large enough that for now the situation isn't terrible. How can you compete with a reform shul that advertises 'only one day a week for Hebrew school' as a positive selling point to your left, and with a chabad that advertises 'no need to pay to pray' to your right? C is going to have to come up with answers to those questions. While I suspect each case will have different answers in detail, the shuls should be learning a lot from one another. Hopefully the new USCJ president will be able to make a difference.

Thu Jun 11, 12:00:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

If found that old post on having trouble keeping up with the davening that I mentioned. I won't bore you with the whole thread, but it was interesting to me to go back and read what I was saying then.

Thu Jun 11, 12:16:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Years ago, a former blogger gave me that same list of minimal requirements for P'sukei D'Zimrah. I always say at least Baruch Sheh-amar and Ashrei, and, on my own initiative,added Psalm 100 (Hallelu Kel b'kosho) to my minimum on the grounds that the Yishtabach closing brachah/blessing praises HaShem as the One who chooses *shirei* zimrah (roughly, musical poems), plural, so it makes sense to say at least two psalms during P'sukei D'Zimrah.

"In theory one should make up the missed prayers at the end of the service, . . . " I didn't know that going back to davven what was missed or bypassed was permissible. Thanks for the information. So I can say another psalm or two, and/or "Az yashir," in the subway on the way to work after minyan, if I'm so inclined?

"How can you compete with a reform shul that advertises 'only one day a week for Hebrew school' as a positive selling point to your left, and with a chabad that advertises 'no need to pay to pray' to your right? C is going to have to come up with answers to those questions." Not to mention the infamous, "you won't (a) give my (non-Jewish) spouse an aliyah/let him/her have an aliyah with me (b) count my children (of a non-Jewish mother) as Jews or (c) let my (non-Jewish) spouse become a member of the synagogue." The Reform Movement and/or unaffiliated but left-wing synagogues can be tough competition, and our local Conservative synagogue is dying at least partially because it's facing stiff competition for members from such quarters, at the moment.

Thu Jun 11, 03:47:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Larry, I agree with that quote from your old post, "When I get to the point that I'm saying Nishmat the same time they are, I expect my enjoyment of the service to go up significantly. If some weeks, I get taken by a particular prayers and fall behind, that
won't be a problem. But I'd like to be able to keep up when I'm davening at my 'normal' rate." Amen, and may I get there soon!

Thu Jun 11, 03:57:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Woty said...

Do you even daven in English? I found doing some things in English really helpful for a while.

You might try the Metsudah siddur--it's really good for easily switching between English and Hebrew as needed.

Thu Jun 11, 08:12:00 PM 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>