Monday, September 21, 2009


The NF hopes that where ever you were over R"h, very few gongs were given out.

In the minyan where the NF davened, with only one exception the davening was excellent. A special shkoyach (BTW, the NF is thinking that we need to develop an award for fine davening that will be the opposite of the gong) to "J" whose musaf on the second day was beyond superb.

The only real downer was kabbalat shabbat/Aarvit the first night. The NF is not quite sure why the gabbaim asked the said "baal habus" to daven but it was horrible. The NF's shul is nusach achid which means that the chazzan gets to decide if the davening will be sfard, ashkenaz, karraite, tzeduki etc....this particular guy followed nusach sfard which meant that we sang the first and last two stanzas of lecha dodi...In Yamim Noraim davening there are a number of wondeful "marches" that can be used for piyutim such a melech elyon, imru leylokim. These marches all fit to lecha dodi. Alternativly, the Carlebach vyetayu (Lshana haba) fits very nicely to lecha dodi. So this guy decides to use the melody from Shanah Halcha, Shanah baah , a secular pre-school song. Adding insult to injury was the fact that it didn't fit. Gong

There was then a short dvar torah until tzeit hakochavim....Then the baal habus starts the ayy yay yays leading in to Borchu while sauntering up to the amud. Anyone who has ever davened maariv on R"h or Y"k knows you need to be very careful when selectign the pitch because of the wide range of notes in the melody. This guy paid no attention and started very high....when he realized he couldn't hit the high notes in the melody he simply changed the nusach....Gong.

People literally walked out of shul shaing their heads. the NF is not very chassidish but there is a chassidish concept that the first night of RH is "coronation night". One would think that you would try to have something regal to set the tone for the evening and start the chagim off right...what we experienced was more like a court jester trying to do stand up bs for the emperor.

The second night, "SE", slowly recovering from very serious health problems davened maariv. The chevra in our shul were so happy to see "SE" in shul AND leading davening that "SE" could have led maariv to the melody of "when I think of you I touch myself" and we would have given him a heart shkoyach. In fact "SE" davened beautifully using the correct nusach. Sh'tizkeh lshanim rabot tovot u'briot!

The NF leined first day....originally the NF was supposed to daven shacharit second day but about 4 weeks ago, Shloime Baruch asked to be added to the rota --- to make room, the NF offered not to daven. Shloime davened really nicely....hashgacha pratit becasue the NF developed a throat cold on 1st day afternoon and now has a very mild case of laryngitis....The NF is supposed to lead kol nidrei next week....we'll have to see how the rest of the week goes.

Of final note, Cantor Sherwood Goffin of the Belz school of music and of Wink and Stare synagogue published two interesting articles on R"h/Y"k nusach and the use of niggunim in davening....the articles can be found here and here.

Gmar Chatima Tovah -

the NF

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