Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My "Kaddish minyan": Good news, bad news

Good news:
In our local Conservative synagogue, my husband is the only remaining congregant who attends morning (lack of) minyan on a regular basis who wears tefillin. The guys who used to wear them are now members of the Minyan l'Maala (the Minyan On High). Sadly, a good portion of our congregation has gone on to that big shul in the sky.

Bad news:
  • When I mentioned to one of the baalei t'fillah (prayer leaders) that I couldn't keep up with him, he actually told me straight out that he skips (doesn't pray every word). I was a bit surprised that he would not only skip, but wouldn't think anything of actually telling someone that he did so.
  • I mentioned to another minyannaire that a former rabbi (Conservative, ordained at JTS, for the record) had told me that one is not permitted to skip any of the Matbeiah shel T'fillah (the hard-core required parts of the service, from Bar'chu [or the brachah/blessing Yotzer Or, if you don't have a minyan] to the end of the Amidah), so I don't skip any of it. He actually laughed.
Bottom line:

The folks at my "Kaddish minyan" take "proper dress for synagogue" seriously--I'll ignore the shorts--and, given that they always(?) have a minyan, I can see that they take their communal responsibility seriously, but not all of them take the actual praying seriously.


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Top 10 most popular skipped parts of davening

Tue Jul 28, 10:57:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

I wonder if this is related to the fact that those MO who drive do so to within a couple of blocks of a synagogue and walk the rest of the way, while in C it is considered more 'honest' to just drive to the synagogue parking lot. Are C people just more forthright about what they are and aren't doing?

Tue Jul 28, 11:40:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Re driving to shul, that may be the case for Shabbat/Sabbath and Yom Tov/holidays, but it doesn't explain the speedy-gonzalez routine on weekdays, which I think has more to do with the fact that people have to get to work on time.

For the record, not only did my parents' Conservative synagogue had no parking lot, but *no one* parked on the same block as the synagogue. It was understood that everyone had to give at least the appearance of having walked to synagogue, even though I don't think anyone actually lived within walking distance of the synagogue, which had rather stupidly been built in a town that was almost completely Jew-free.

Checking out that link. Will respond in a bit.

Tue Jul 28, 11:54:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Top 10 most popular skipped parts of davening

10- Atoh Yotzarta on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh

At work, so can't look it up at the moment, but is that part of the Musaf Amidah? If so, I always say it.

9- Ve’yehi Noam on Motzaei Shabbos

I say it at 90 miles an hour!

8- Be’rich Shemei before krias haTorah

Also at 90 mph, & I'm always late in joining in for Bei Ana Rachetz.

7- Bameh Madlikin on Friday Night

Forget it. I only say the part about it being permitted to extinguish the lamp for fear of robbers or the sleeping ill, etc.

6- The 2nd Yekum Purkan on Shabbos morning

Another 90-mph special.

5- Pitum Haketores on Shabbos morning

I skip all korbanot/sacrifice readings, though at least this one doesn't involve killing an animal as an act of vicarious atonement.

4- Ana B’koach during Kabbalas Shabbos

I learned that one from a Lenny Solomon (of Shlock Rock fame) song, so I say it even though the text is not really my thing.

3- Korbanos before Pesukei D’zimra

This is a korbanot-free zone, as previously stated.

2- Vehu Rachum on Mondays and Thursdays

Only the first few paragraphs, through the part where it talks about the area around Jerusalem having been cleaned out because of our sins.

1- The Shir Shel Yom on Wednesday. Talk about a midweek crisis. Why can’t every day be Tuesday?

Good question! Took me *months* to learn that one!

Tue Jul 28, 12:13:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Too Old to Jewschool Steve said...

Our shul is about to have a parking lot for the first time in its history (at least at its present location, which it has occupied for close to 60 years) and only because a fire that destroyed the sanctuary prompted the congregation to embark on a substantial rehabilitation and improvement of its facilities. It won't be huge, but would likely accommodate all those who drive on shabbat. I don't know if a decision has been made on closing it for shabbat/yomtov.

I think Larry is being extraordinarily kind to describe those who drive to an MO shul on shabbat as "MO". I'm not sure the shul rabbi would feel the same way. I think C is more honest in this regard.

Tue Jul 28, 02:48:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

OOtJ Steve:

I just mean those who attend MO (and Chabad) shuls who drive. I'm not necessarily claiming someone who drives to an MO shul is MO any more than I would claim that someone who drives to a Chabad shul is a Chabadnik.

Nevertheless, this does point back to my comment on another post here that people join synagogues for other reasons than that they agree with the ideology or practice of that shul.

Is someone who pays dues to an MO shul necessarily MO? I think this is a question best avoided - we are divided into enough small cliques already, thank you.

Tue Jul 28, 03:06:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Woodrow/Conservadox said...

Back to Tefillin- in both the C shuls I belonged to, the majority of people wore tefillin. (One of them actually had spare tefillin lying around, which I liked).

Although I do like that you can go to one and not feel like an complete idiot for not doing so (not that I personally have done such a thing recently, but when I was just starting to "get religion" I did).

Tue Jul 28, 10:22:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Woodrow/Conservadox said...

By the way I blogged about the labels thing.

Tue Jul 28, 10:28:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Although I do like that you can go to one and not feel like an complete idiot for not doing so . . ."

I'm not sure you're not *supposed to* feel like an idiot for not doing so. Why do most of the men of my local synagogue think that it's perfectly acceptable not to wear tefillin?

Woodrow, since your blog won't let me comment, for some unknown reason--it won't let me past the word verification screen--I'll reply here to your "labels" post:

"It seems to me that denominational labels can be used in one of three ways:

1. Where do you pray/pay dues?

2. How ritually observant are you?

3. What do you believe philosophically about the written and oral Torah?

It seems to me that many American Jews (by which I mean, more than a dozen and less than a few million) are Orthodox by one of these three definitions and non-Orthodox by others (or Conservative by one and Reform by others)."

That's an interesting observation.

1. I'm Conservative in terms of where I pray and/or pay dues. (I'm a member of only one of the three synagogues where I now pray regularly.)

2. I'm some combination of just about every denomination in terms of observance--not traditional enough to be Ortho, way too traditional to be Reform.

3. I guess I'm a bit left of Conservative in my approach to Torah, believing that it was written/passed down by inspired men (yes, probably males, considering how sexist parts of it are.)

This is a rather challenging combination to deal with (or, in the case of my poor long-suffering husband, to live with).

Fri Jul 31, 11:01:00 AM 2009  

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