Erev Rosh Hashanah Update

I’m sitting at my desk looking through the blog; we’re on the “late” services track, so we don’t have to be to Temple until 11:45 AM.

Last night’s services were interesting. This was our first High Holydays in a new congregation in almost 8 years. We knew almost no one there, and we came from a place where we knew everyone. I know this will change over time, but it was wierd knowing no one, and not having a lot of folks greet you.

I was worried about how they were going to do parking, with their small lot. They did stack parking, and it worked just fine. They did have a guard checking bags at the door, obstensibly to ensure cell phones were turned off, but we knew what they were checking for. It does provide reassurance.

They used their own prayerbook. Again, something unfamiliar. We’ll get used to it, I’m sure, as we attend more services. The sermon was quite interesting. The Rabbi started by talking about Iraq, and why we should be concerned, whilst being careful not to side with any candidate (got to protect that tax status, as he noted). He then turned to Israel, and noted the abhorrent level of support from US Jews, and Jews in the congregation in particular. He’ll be working this year to correct it. He also commented about progressive Judaism in Israel. I need to send him the statistics from my latest digest; the following is from a post by Ilun Hartuv:

Thirteen percent of all Israelis planning to attend services during the high holidays will do so at either a Reform or Conservative synagogue, MA’ARIV reported. According to a Dahaf poll, approximately 70 percent of the country’s Jewish population will attend services on Yom Kippur, and 40 percent will attend on both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Over a third (36 percent) will not attend at all. An unprecedented 13 percent said they would be praying in either a Reform or Conservative synagogue, despite the fact that there are only about 60 non-Orthodox congregations throughout the country. However 40 percent of those who will be going to services said that if they had the option of attending a non-Orthodox congregation within walking distance of their homes, they would prefer it to the Orthodox synagogue. Forty percent of those who do not intend going to any holiday services said that if they had the option of attending a non-Orthodox synagogue near their homes they would do so.

I’ve very proud of Small & Feisty: She sat through the entire service, only going out once to take a Motrin. She even listened to the entire sermon. I know I fidgeted much more when I was her age, but Rabbi Soloff had this tendancy to drone on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. There is a special children’s program this morning for her; she has afternoon services.

It was also wierd to sit through services and not have any responsibilities. For six years I ran the children’s program. Last year, I was religious practices chair, running everything. This year… nothing. No responsibilities. No honors. Just a face in the congregation.

We also received the mailing from Religious School. Sundays and Thursdays, although we know right now she’ll miss about 5 classes  (OERM × 2; ACSAC × 3). Lots more programs than her last religious school, and I think she’ll make a lot of friends. Religious school starts Sunday morning.

Going through the school calendar, I discovered that the normal dates for the Spring Rail Festival at OERM would the 1st and 2nd seders (yes, 1st seder is Saturday night, April 23rd). I checked with the museum (because the museum president is a past-president of his congregation), and they will be moving the Spring Railfest, likely to mid-May. That’s better. We also dodged the bullet this year on the 5th grade conclave: Had she been in 6th grade, it would have been the weekend we’re committed to OERM (instead, it is the weekend after President’s Day). Next year, we’ll check before scheduling the Fall/Thomas Rail Festival.

Time to start getting ready for this morning. L’Shana Tovah to all friends and family.