17 August 2010

Shorter Davenings & "Siddur Baseball"

In this past weekend's issue of the Jewish Journal, Dennis Prager wrote a column entitled "Siddur Baseball", in which he bemoaned how lengthy shabbat morning services are - they are not only long, but boring, etc. The shul I attend here in Long Beach has figured out how to handle shortening services. The shul is called Shul by the Shore and the structure is that from 10-11, the rabbi has a discussion on the weekly parshah; then from 11 and onwards, Torah reading is held, followed by musaf and then kiddush, with those who daven shaharit as well as pesukei dezimra and Shema and its blessings doing so beforehand. Now, if I were to start a davening like this, I would be called non-Orthodox or otherwise trying to ruin the tradition; however, it is led by a Chabad rabbi, primarily for a non-observant constituency. I enjoy the set-up of it and, for the rest of the time that we are here in Long Beach and can continue walking to it will continue to enjoy.

5 comments:

redsneakz said...

Interesting idea.

I don't like it.

Perhaps he's catering to his "constituency," as you say. But, as someone who has a very long way to go in his own observance level - and no, I'm not the guy who says 'That's the shul that I don't go to' - I want to be at a place where the ba'al k'riya has invested some public spiritual time in himself before the task of reading the Torah in public.

I will be bold. I will say, even as the Jewishly ignorant person that I am, that the rav there is making a mistake, the same mistake that's being made in hundreds of Conservative and Reform congregations around the county - trying to make services "relevant."

Shira Salamone said...

Re super-long services, been there, blogged that. Oy.

That said, er, linked, I was previously a member of a synagogue that put its main emphasis on a discussion of the weekly Torah reading, and, while that approach made for some very interesting discussion, it also left little time for actual prayer. (In that particular shul, most of Musaf was just plain skipped. Nope, it's not an Orthodox shul.)

At this point I think I prefer the Kehilat Hadar approach: To end on time, start on time, and limit divrei Torah ["words of Torah"/Torah teaching sessions] to 5 minutes. You can also talk Torah over kiddush, lunch, seudah shlishit, etc., but you only get one chance to say Shacharit b'z'man (at the required time).

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