Monday, October 02, 2006

No ransom needed!

Well, I spent the Day of Atonement at Chabad, and I'm pleased to say that this encounter with Chabad did not lead to a kidnapping. It may be because I didn't get into a car with the rabbi, but either way, I was pleased to move about on my own free will. (If this makes no sense to you, go back to early June entries.)

A few thoughts on the service. First, it was nice. They say every single word there is to be said in the machzor (prayerbook), but they only say it once, so it goes pretty quickly, except for Avinu Malkeinu, which they sing like everyone else does. And there were a few places, like the kaddish (all varieties) that I noticed extra words, usually about the coming of the Messiah (speedily and in our days, Amen). There was no choir, and there was no general flourishment in the singing. The mechitza (separation) was a sort of sheer curtain and a bunch of silk plants - not too horrible as far as these things go. The rabbi was pretty good and spoke well and I wouldn't be able to say that he gave a sermon per se, but it wasn't a d'var torah either.

Since I've been at Bet Mishpachah (the LGBT synagogue) for the last few years of holidays, there were definitely some big differences. First, the Torah reading in the afternoon was not something that was read at Bet Mish. It's the part of Leviticus that talks about "man shall not lie with another man..." And then, while we were singing Avinu Malkeinu, I realized that I've become accustomed to the next line being "Imeinu Shechinateinu", which I kind of like, but which was clearly absent here. Lastly, there's a whole litany of things (the "ashamnu" paragraph) of ways that we've sinned over the past year. At Bet Mish, in addition to this, they also sing a paragraph of good stuff (the "ahavnu" paragraph) to a tune that one of their members wrote. I'm not sure what the right mix of Chabad and Bet Mish could be....

Last night on the way home we were coming down the main street (not ours) only to be blocked by 4 firetrucks and the remnants of a burned out house. The house was still standing, but anything inside looked charred. We think the family left candles burning when they went to Kol Nidre, and came back to the fire, or the aftermath. There weren't any ambulances, so we think that (hopefully) no one was hurt. Of course, when we came home we could see through the front window that our candles were still burning. This morning, you could still smell the fire near their house.

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Franco said...
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