The NF's in-laws are currently in the Holyland and the decision was made that we would all (the in-laws, Mr and Mrs NF and the 4 little NFs) go to a hotel in Herziliya for Shabbat. Let me just say that a good time was had by all (the company was good, the food was excellent and getting away now and again is always kind of fun) even if little NF #2 woke everyone up on Shabbat morning at 4:15 AM and even if davening in hotels is the absolute pits....
Let us dwell on this last point for just a moment ---
Davening in hotels sucks. Why? the possibilities:
1. There is a chazzan way past his prime who thinks people have come to the hotel just to hear him belt a few out.
2. There is no chazzan or baal koreh or anyone else who can read Hebrew so when the mashgiach asks in (the middle of dinner of course) "who wants to lein tomorrow?", the old wifee says, "the NF loves to lein" --- and it turns out to be Parshat Ki Tavoh....(this happened once)
3. The minyan is made up of you and 9 guys who look like they are taxi drivers: Jeans (with wallet bulging out), overly tight fake armani t-shirt, a lot of cologne, lots of gold necklaces, sunglasses on top of their heads, and a little "pyramid" kippah floating somewhere above their shaved or highly jelled hair. (we'll have to have a post about these guys one of these days). These guys are not shomer shabbat but when it comes to Friday night davening, there is nothing holier. Of course, they are unwilling to be the chazzan so you must do it in your traditional Ashkenazi way....
Failure to read all of Shir Hashirim or sing the one melody they know for Lecha Dodi gets you dirty looks, lots of jeering and if you need to call a taxi Motza"sh you just know you are in trouble...
4. Everyone there but you is tone deaf. Trying to sing anything results in a cacophany of sound that makes Mother's milk turn sour and causes diahrrea.
So The NF and his father in law go to shul Friday everning and find all three of the four conditions are met.
An 88 -year old chazzan honored us with his rendition of Kabbalt Shabbat. (there was a baal koreh!), the minyan was largely made up of Taxi drivers and no could sing to save their lives.
On the positive side, davening in a hotel gives those that want to practice their chazzunus abilities an opprtunity to completly stink without risking a gonging....you want to sing Kedusha to SuperFragilisticallyExpeadlodocious? --- here is your opportunity. Think that amazing grace fits nicely for Kel Ha-adon?....go head -- have fun.
So the NF ended up doing shacharit and yes, I tested out a few melodies --- specifically --- Kol Mikadesh Shvii for Kedusha --- it worked well although you must start very very low and you must repeat words....
the old chazzan running the show (who I later heard tell someone that he had foregotten to put in his hearing aids before shabbat) came over to the NF right before Chazarat Hashat"z when the NF went to wash his hands (I'm of priestly stock) and a) told me that he liked my nusach/davening and b) asked if I was from Czechslovakia?
Uh. thanks and no.
Getting back home last night, Yoni R. told me I had missed some fine gonging...
The NF contacted the gonging Gabbai and the big Gong to find out that Shloime Baruch sang avinu avinu (but of course he did -- Is the pope catholic? Does the litvak follow the chumrah? Does cholent cause golbal warming?) and he sang Keter to the melody "Memories" from Cats. That is so wrong.