Thursday, April 30, 2015

No Bar Mitzvah

Got to see Beth Tfiloh sans Bar Mitzvah for the first time in about eight visits.  No guest speaker either, just their shabbos morning as they assemble it.  Attendance was about 2/3 of what I have encountered before, which is still a lot of worshippers.  I am probably in the younger half, or maybe about the median in age.  I got there earlier than usual.  Like AKSE, attendance is relatively sparse at shacharit, so much so that the Assistant Rabbi was able to recognize me as an unfamiliar person sitting alone and come over to greet me shortly before he headed to the Bimah to chant a double portion flawlessly.  The Hazzan led both shacharit and musaf.  He has an engaging style, some chazzanut, some more lyrical.  No Torah interruptions, one of the premier attractions.  Simple but elegant DVar Torah from another Assistant Rabbi on Yom Ha-atzmaut.  Haftarah done well by a man celebrating his 70th birthday.  Some Yom Ha-atzmaut participation from their kids.  Younger kids came up with a flag, got their treat from Rabbi Wohlberg, then headed off.  The teens came up at the end, boys proceeding on the men's side of the mechitza, the girls on their side, then meeting in the middle as they ascended the Bimah together, performing two songs.  Simple Kiddush with middle eastern food to put into pita, noodle and potato kugels and a pastry table.  Then home.

I go partly as a spectator, partly as a participant in worship.  The experience probably is what it is for them, it enhances me, enough to justify the effort of getting there and back.  A good shabbos experience goes into memory storage.

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