Sunday, August 02, 2009

Amateur hour

We could have sworn that the rabbi, at a Ritual Committee meeting, said he'd gladly save us the cost of a High Holiday cantor by leading Shacharit (Morning Service) himself, freeing the regular cantor to leading Musaf.

We could also have sworn that the president, at a subsequent board meeting, told us that one of the reasons why we should renew the rabbi's contract was that he would lead Shacharit for the High Holidays, since we could no longer afford to hire a High Holiday cantor.

I'd been bugging my husband, who's the chair of the Ritual Committee, to check with the rabbi to ensure that he's been looking over the material, but somehow, he hadn't gotten around to it. So Ms. Big Mouth asked him herself.

To make a long story short, the rabbi was surprised by the question, indicating that he had no plans to do anything other that the usual sermon for the upcoming Yamim Noraim, since no one had offered him any extra pay for extra work.

There are several possibilities:

1. We misheard or misunderstood.

2. The rabbi changed his mind.

3. The president reneged on an agreement to pay the rabbi extra money.

4. Who knows?

What I do know is that no one bothered to tell my husband.

Bottom line:

Guess whose husband now has less than two months to learn the Shacharit for the Yamin Noraim? Guess who's advised said husband to have the congregation read most of the High Holiday piyutim (liturgical poems) silently to themselves in English?


Anonymous rejewvenator said...

I think relying on 'professional' prayer leaders is a mistake, and to be honest, I'm more than a little put off by a rabbi who won't lead High holiday services for his own synagogue unless he gets more pay.

Sun Aug 02, 10:23:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Though my rabbi and I are not always on the best of terms, I must admit that, given the pittance that we pay him--too little even for a part-timer--I can't honestly blame him for trying to make an extra buck. It's not even clear whether it's the rabbi's fault that my husband learned so late that he's going to be the baal t'fillah (prayer leader) for Shacharit, or whether the president withheld that information. It's just a shame that he has so little time to prepare.

Sun Aug 02, 10:54:00 PM 2009  

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