Tuesday, October 04, 2005

celebrating the holiday

I felt a need to go to a synagogue this year for the holiday. The ones in my neighborhood just don't cut it for me. Too dry, too long, too boring, people too uptight. I would have been happy with the tiny conservative synagogue on kibbutz but since my kids nixed that trip, that was out.

Hubby decided to go along with me to Jerusalem's funky Reform synagogue Kol Haneshama. Funky because the congregation is young at heart, funky, gay, straight, singles families, spiritual, friendly and the rabbi was wearing his ashram clothes, which I pointed out to Hubby. I really felt at home looking at this rabbi wearing a knee-length white caftan over white cotton pants. I think I would have felt a bit alienated had I faced a pulpit rabbi wearing a conservative white shirt, tie, black pants. I don't know why I felt that way but I did. I also liked when during the service before an important prayer he'd lead the congregation into "take a deep breath" and then we'd belt it out after that deep breath.

The singing was loud and I joined in loudly too, even embarrassing the ex-Criminal daughter who came with us, who hissed - "You want EVERYONE to hear you.! Fadchanit! (embarrassment)"

But I continued singing joyfully loud, as did a male acquaintance of mine sitting right behind me who once owned a steakhouse in Jerusalem, and we harmonized happily throughout the service.

This service was more pleasurable for me because over many years I had been praying at Orthodox services - which take hours. Reform services cut out at least 50 pages and we started at 9:15 and were out by 1:00 instead of the 7:00 - 1:30 services at Orthodox synagogues. Much more do-able for me.

The speeches and services and Torah readings were shared by women and men. Hubby, always the conservative, didn't take too much of a liking to the women being called up to lead the services and Torah readings, and he even asked me sarcastically if I wanted to wear a kippah. I could have used a tallit (fringed prayer shawl) because they had the airconditioning on and I was freezing.

After about 2 hours Daughter and Hubby had their ADD fits and spent the rest of the time outside. Even though it annoyed them that they had to wait, I mingled after services saying Hi to 5 people that I knew there and the circle widened as they introduced me to others, and we blessed each other for the coming year. May it be great one for us all.

No comments: