Blog: For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Jews... Or, Much A-Blog About Nothing...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Freak Out Time

Ok folks...Or, RaggedyMom * Umm...So I'm in a bit of a pickle. Well, not really a pickle, so much, but I'm nervous. You see, I regularly attend Shabbat services at our University's Hillel but this week is different. That is because I have been asked to lead the Reform Services tonight. I've helped out in some way or another before when they've needed someone (High Holiday services, etc) but this is the first time I'll be completely on my own.

I have no qualms about it, in fact I'm honored that they would ask me, and also it's a boost to my already inflated ego because I get to sing but not only do I get to sing, I get to be in charge! Bwuahahahahah!!! Mmmm k, so I am a little evil. I'm ok with that ;-)

You see, while I consider myself to be very religious, and I try to live the most frum life I can, I don't always attend the Orthodox services at shul. Don't get me wrong, my rabbi "rocks my world" though I am not married to him! I have a great relationship with him and his wife, I have been a guest in their home, I babysit their children, etc. So it isn't because of that that I don't go to Orthodox services. No, it's because they are so freaking long and slow and boring. I went to a conference this past fall and attended Orthodox services at the Hillel at the college I was visiting, and it was AWESOME! Upbeat, enthusiastic, so full of joy and life. I was almost a bit scared that I'd accidentally walked into some Baptist revival or Evangelical service--just kidding! But the point is that I actually felt like I was a part of the service. Trust me, I understand that halacha about the mechitza, kol isha, etc. That doesn't bother me so much as the annoyingly monotonous and somber tone of the services at my Hillel. I think we need PT to come help us out and show us how it's done! Maybe it's because all of the men in the Orthodox services are completely tone deaf and they all seem to be obsessed with competing with each other to see who can be the loudest (and most off-key). I mean, "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" should apply regardless, right?

Anyway, so most of the time I attend Conservative or Reform services, depending on my mood. Thus, I am at least not completely in the dark about how the whole deal breaks down. I know which prayers are always done, which ones sometimes get thrown in, etc. (Pause) 1:15 p.m.

UPDATE 3:00p.m,: I just went to Hillel and got a Reform Siddur and the JCSC Intern was kind enough to go through it with me and make notes about which things we repeat, skip, or do in some odd fashion, so I feel much better about that.

Not that it would be a huge deal if I flubbed up a little bit, but I definitely want to make sure that I at least have a pretty good grasp on everything. It will probably be a small crowd anyway since it is Mom's Weekend here, but if need be I can always ask someone what tune they want to sing for a prayer or if they want to add something in--that's the beauty of Reform services, it's much more relaxed and therefore there isn't as much pressure on me (or anyone) to be perfect.

Alrighty, I guess I'm done babbling now. Time to read this week's parsha and try and come up with a meaningful d'var.

*You're the best! Thanks for the support!


RaggedyMom said...

I hear what you're saying about long and boring! Davening has long been my achilles heel of observance, and in an undynamic shul setting, it's even more of a challenge.

The last time I was in Israel in the summer of 2000 right before I graduated college, I felt a very strong connection to tefilah at the Kotel, which was new and rare for me. Since then, I've been able to recapture bits of that feeling from time to time, but secretly, I'm not mourning the fact that as a mommy to little ones, I daven at home rather than at shul most of the time these days.

What is it about the tone deaf men being so loud? RaggedyDad and I couldn't get over how similar the bleating of the older sheep at the petting zoo we once visited was to some shul cacophonies!

It's a shame that your school's Hillel is less than exciting in its davening. Sometimes, though, I've found that those times when it's least likely to happen from outside influences wind up being the times when the feeling that I am actually praying to an actual G-d come most from within.

Anonymous said...

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