Monday, June 21, 2010

Speed demon

Boy, was I sorry that the rabbi, rather than my husband, led Shacharit (Morning Service) last Shabbat/Sabbath in the absence of our vacationing cantor. Having prayed through the P'sukei D'Zimrah section at home, I came early enough that I thought I'd be in time to pray the Matbeiah shel Tefillah (required part of the service) with the congregation, and was startled to discover that the rabbi was already giving his pre-Torah-reading talk. According to my husband, the rabbi had done the entire service up to the Torah reading in 35 minutes flat. Nu, it's Shabbos! Where are you going, that you're in such a rush? I felt as if I were at a Monday morning "commuter" minyan, with a train to catch. Is it really such a big deal if we finish at 12:15 instead of 11:30?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I onced belonged to small Conservative congregation in New England. They had services on Monday, Thursday, Shabbat and Sunday. Other than Rosh HaShanna and Yom Kippur they only had Yom Tov services on the last day (fro Yizkor) or if Yom Tov fell on one of the above mentioned days. If Yom Tov fell on Mon/Thurs they started at the same time they would start for a regular weekday service, 6:45am. And people _still_ complained that there was hallel and musaf (that they weren't expecting, since they had no idea it was Yom Tov) that was making them late for either work (or in the case of retired folk) the gym, golf course, etc. The Rabbi came to a compromise with these complainers by eliminating musaf on chol hamoed.

Mon Jun 21, 01:14:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Wow, that story's even worse than mine. I've been a Conservative Jew for all of my 61 years, and I've never heard of a Conservative synagogue that eliminated the Musaf Service on Yom Tov (holiday), much less one that didn't have services on a Yom Tov. I've heard of synagogues that have an early service on Yom Tov so that people can go to work afterward (despite the prohibition against working on Yom Tov), but a Conservative shul that doesn't have a Yom Tov service at all is new to me. Why on earth a rabbi would go along with this is beyond my comprehension.

I find it sad that people are in such a hurry, even on days when one is not supposed to work.

Mon Jun 21, 01:30:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...

Given your congregation is wandering off and the president goes out for coffee, I think that speeding up the service would be a good thing.

Why the obsession with such a long service?

In the Orthodox world, we have lunches, naps, etc. to get to. I presume that you guys have things going on as well. Why stretch the service out into 3 hours?

Tue Jun 22, 12:43:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Depending on your point of view, Miami Al, either (a) I prefer a service that's slow enough that we can actually davven (pray) with kavvanah (intent, focus), rather than davvening as if the shul were on fire and we had to get out as quickly as possible, or (b) I'm being selfish. Actually, both (a) and (b) are probably true. Sigh.

Tue Jun 22, 11:40:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"In the Orthodox world, we have lunches, naps, etc. to get to. I presume that you guys have things going on as well."

Not necessarily. Remember when you and Larry explained Conservative Jewish practice? Here's a snippet:

"[Al] I'll go a step further, once the requirement of thrice daily prayer was thrown off, the synagogue became a place to go on Shabbat, when people weren't rushing to get to work. Once that happened, the service stretched in length, and became a social outlet, [Larry] Different rant, but pretty much correct. In particular, in my experience the C shabbat service/kiddish is so long because once it is over so, generally, is Shabbat. So all the things that in O get spread out over the whole day (prayer, torah reading, torah study, singing, eating, and socializing) have to be compressed into the service and the kiddush."

As noted here, we Conservative Jews are not necessarily known for hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests [inviting people as a regular practice]).

Tue Jun 22, 11:55:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Why the obsession with such a long service?"

I should probably explain to my newer readers that I did't go to yeshiva and didn't learn to pray most of the various services until I was in my twenties. (I learned a good deal of the High Holidays services from my years of singing alto in the volunteer choir of our former synagogue. As to the other services, I learned the Shabbat and Yom Tov services, and Musaf of Rosh Chodesh, through repetition, and actually made it a project to teach myself the weekday Amidah.) Consequently, I'm a pretty slow pray-er. I prefer a long service because I can't keep up with a short one. :( That's why I say I'm selfish--*I* want a slower service so that I won't have to pray so quickly, but others obviously prefer to finish sooner.

Tue Jun 22, 06:03:00 PM 2010  

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