Thursday, August 7, 2014

YK Torah Reader

Have not been a Holy Days participant in some time.  Over the years I've chanted both days of Rosh Hashana's Torah portions and the Yom Kippur portion and have done Haftarah once but gave it up when the billed me $400 for the maftir aliyah that went with it.  In more recent years I've attended a transdenominational offering for Rosh Hashana, a very pleasant experience each time where I've been there, serving as a makeshift gabbai once, returning to my own shul for Yom Kippur.  But I've been more of a spectator.  Sometimes the time there irritates me, sometimes the Cantor and other participants impress me with their skills and dedication.  Generally these have not been the Rabbi's finest hours but unlike the Conservative Shul, the experience of the Holy Days never portends the degree of member satisfaction the rest of the year.  Board discussions on the congregational feedback take place, and some real modifications take place but mostly cosmetic or choreographic adjustments more than revision of content or structure.  Shabbos still rules at AKSE.  We have the good fortune to be an all-year-round congregation where the Holy Days are just one more event in the calendar.  We're not a place where the machers emerge from the woodwork to give each other an annual hug or where people hit the beach outlets the month before to get something with a Gucci label to display at their yearly shul appearance.

We do have our shrinkage, some demographic, some for cause, some driven by the diminishing value of dues as a consumer purchase.  With attrition goes a measure of talent, not desirable turnover of talent but more of a one way drive off the exit ramp with nobody else entering the entrance lane.  Our Men's Choir once had teenagers, now off to college and beyond.  The Cantor had to take over shacharit for lack of an understudy.  But people held the fort for Torah reading, until this year.  Not a very strong bench but not yet an empty bench.  So when it came time for a reshuffling of assignments the opening arrived, making me the most logical insertion.  I'm back.  Photocopy the portion next week and relearn it.

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