Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Investing Time

Yesterday, our Simchat Torah services/prayers, in the Ramat Shmuel Synagogue, Shiloh, took almost all day. We started a bit earlier than on a Shabbat, but we ended up finishing in the afternoon. On Shabbat it takes us just over two hours to pray.

No, it wasn't because of an operatic Chazan with a choir. Baruch Hashem, the kids kept things going. Actually things started off pretty quiet and slow. Many of us ran out at nine to attend a Brit Milah (circumcision ceremony) in the nearby yeshiva, but when we returned things were "hopping." Not only was the floor filled with dancing worshipers holding the Sifrei Torah (Torah Scrolls) but kids were dancing on the railings.

Yes, it was wild! I was glad to have a front row seat in the Ezrat Nashim, Women's Gallery.

The enthusiasm of the youth was wonderful. So what if the prayers were taking longer than planned. We want the youth to have good positive memories of the holidays.

After our community kiddush, in the middle of the Hakafot, dancing with the Sifrei Torah, I joined the over twenty, mostly young girls, visiting the elderly, who couldn't make it to synagogue. We have a custom in our neighborhood to go from house to house to involve everyone in the Holiday. This time there were so many young participants, we asked the elderly to join us dancing and singing in the streets.

Like in many synagogues, honors are auctioned, and the men offer to pay lots of money. This year we're fundraising to expand the synagogue, since there isn't room for everyone to sit, nor seats for new members.

We had a new auction this year, and it involved the kids who bid for honors, too. They didn't bid money. They pledged to learn pages of Jewish Law. There were different categories, up to ten years of age, up to Bar Mitzvah, post-Bar Mitzvah. A big "siyyum," will be held before Passover, and the winners will give "Divrei Torah," Torah talks, to explain what they learned.

Yes, the auction for the youth also took more time. And the extra dancing and singing that the kids wanted took more time. But that's time invested well.

Have a wonderful year.


rickismom said...

sounds like time well spent!!!

YMedad said...

The husband purchased the right to lift up the Sefer Torah with the infamous and daring hand-twist maneuver so the Sefer faces frontwards instead of the usual text-to-uplifter position.

Batya said...

rickismom, I'm sure the kids had a good time, and that should make them have positive feelings towards religion.

Yes, I had left shul to add something to the platta and then go to a Brit Milah in the yeshiva, so I had no idea that my husband had bid for the honor. Yes, it was very impressive.

Anonymous said...

The Super-Special Hagbah? Wow - I'm very impressed! I certainly can't manage that right now.

The entire time in shul sounds like one of the best investments anyone could make!

Batya said...

Schlepping all that food home from the shuk takes strength.

We do have a wonderful shul. When are you coming back here?

Risa Tzohar said...

I am always proud of Jewish women (OK, men too) who take advantage of every opportunity to do chesed and add meaning to our holidays.
I really would have loved to see Winkie's super-uplift. My father used to do that kind too.
Hope everyone is well.

Batya said...

nu? maybe you'll visit?

A Living Nadneyda said...

I have to admit, one thing I was very happy to leave behind in chu"l was the custom of auctioning off roles on Simchat Torah (or whenever). I can understand the need, and people who support their shuls are doing a very important thing. Still, I found the practice, well, tacky, and I'm relieved that our shul doesn't do it.

Batya said...

In principle I don't like it, but it doesn't take long; we have a small congregation with little money. The men like it, and they do it. As long as I don't have to watch drunk dancing on Purim, and as long as I can go to a neighbor's to hear the Megilla without banging, I'm happy.