Sunday, January 24, 2010

Surprise, surprise, surprise

The first surprise
I generally prefer to davven through Shacharit (the Morning Service) at home, so that I can pray at my own pace. But a few weeks ago, when I was barely past my latest bout of bronchitis, I simply couldn't get up early enough. So I decided to davven through the P'sukei D'Zimrah (Verses of Song/"Introductory Prayer") section at home, then go to synagogue. Imagine my shock when I walked into the sanctuary just as the cantor was taking over from the rabbi at the Yishtabach prayer, and saw that there were exactly three people in the room--the rabbi, the cantor, and the hubster! It was so cold that day that most of our mostly-elderly congregants simply stayed home--even at kiddush time, there were fewer than 20 people in shul. So I decided that, despite my dislike for being rushed through Shacharit, I should go to synagogue right after P'sukei D'Zimrah whenever I'm davvening in the neighborhood, in the hope that, though it's rare for us to get a minyan in time for Bar'chu (sometimes called "the call to prayer"), my presence might, at least, help the congregation get a minyan for the Amidah prayer.

The second surprise
It appears that I may have the honor of leading P'sukei D'Zimrah on the Yamim Noraim (High Holidays), not because anyone really wants to give a woman such an honor, but because there may not be anyone else available who's not already leading another section of the services. As with being counted for a minyan, I appreciate being included, but I'd appreciate it a lot more if women were included out of principle, rather than for lack of an alternative.

The third surprise
Less than a week before the board is scheduled to vote on renewing his contract, the rabbi announced that his wife is pregnant. Does he expect us to believe that the timing of his announcement was a mere coincidence? How stupid does he think we are?

Not a surprise
An elderly couple recently celebrated a major wedding anniversary. The rabbi spent most of his sermon praising the husband, and said next to nothing about the wife. I'll let his actions speak louder than my words.


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