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Monday, September 27, 2004

Yom Kippur at the Shteeble

The group at the Shteeble is getting to be a little too heimish. I go there mainly because the davening is more streamlined (ie shorter) and I can focus better and get into the davening more. I've known the people who daven there for 17 years now. They mostly started off at the Shul, but migrated over to the Shteeble for various reasons.

It's a small group, and with the exception of a few newcomers, we're all pretty comfortable with each other. We're very informal. Nobody stands on ceremony. For the past two years, they've given me Maftir Yonah (I can count the amount of times I've gotten any maftir at the Shul on one finger). But sometimes, we could stand to be a little more...organized. Here's an example of how this years service was less "awe-inspiring" than it could be:

We got up to "vechol maaminim", which is a pretty solemn part of the mussaf. At the Shul they spend 30 minutes on it. We usually launch into the Carlebach "Tov Lehodos" tune and get through it pretty quickly. About halfway through, I noticed (because I was standing right in front of him) that the Chazzan was just singing "nana nana...naNA" over and over. He had lost his place. The guy standing next to him, our other "Chazzan", started singing the words really loud, in an attempt to get him back on track. But the Chazzan wasn't having any of it. So the other guy tried to get louder, and I joined in too, hoping we could help him find his place.

At this point, the second guy started to lose his place as well. I think it was because the Chazzan's son had suddenly entered the room with two armfuls of towels. The Chazzan looked up at him and started shaking his head vigorously, still singing "Nana nana, NANA." The kid (who's like, 20) shrugged and said, "You told me to do this!" Then backed out of the room hastily. At this point I had lost place too. We were going like a runaway train, and no one knew how to stop it. I was fighting the extremely strong urge to start laughing like a loon, but I was stuck up there, since I had psicha.

Eventually, the Chazzan bit the bullet and picked a stanza and sang it, and we continued from there. His son came back in with a stack of paper napkins (the fancy, colored kind), to which the other Chazzan said, "They don't match!"

Well, a little humor helps the day go by. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

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