Dr D, having enjoyed an uplifting Yom Kippur (in contrast to the NF it has to be said), looked forward to his return to one of Tel Aviv's fine hotel establishments to enjoy some well deserved R+R after the Yamim Noraim. Apart from the breakfasts, the main highlight is the excrutiating davening experience that only hotels can provide - a subject which readers of NF are only too familiar.
Dr D was expecting the same chazan as previous years - a chazan who always brings his underage kids along to 'harmonise' with him. There are pigeons outside my window who chirp in harmony better than this chazan and his kids....In addition, Dr D fondly recalled the man who led Pesukei DeZimra, putting many of the paragraphs to music....The gong had been well and truly bashed to death.
It was therefore mildly disappointing to see that the chazan had been replaced by another chazan. No kids either, and therefore - or so Dr D thought - no opportunity to write for the NF. Wrong.
It all started with Maariv on first evening. One of the slowest davenings any human has ever had to sit through. It became clear to Dr D that this chazan was clearly being paid by the minute. On the plus side, Dr D did enjoy catching up with his latest book....
The next morning brought on the same pesukei dezimra man. It looked very very bad when he stared singing 'she'yibaneh beit hamikdash' over and over again at the end of the Rabbi Yishmael paragraph. I mean, no-one ever says that bit, and here is a 'sheliach tzibbur' singing it!! Gong.
Fortunately, he restricted himself to mostly that. The Baal Shacharit was disappointingly average. The Chazan stood up for mussaf at which point Dr D was pulled aside and was asked to join a breakaway minyan. Of 100 men, over 50 joined this minyan.
Shabbat followed. Dr D was delighted to see that the famous YS was staying in the hotel. YS can verify everything written.
Chazan stood up for Kabbalat Shabbat. He sang everything - bad tunes. Gong. In addition, as no-one could be bothered to join in he turned to the Kahal like a conductor waving his arms in a failed attempt to get people to join in. Bad sign - gong. Dr D pointedly did not join in. If you have to conduct to get the Kahal to join in your tune, the tune sucks. Tough. However, the creme de la creme was his tune to the Kaddish before the Amidah. Sang to Yerushalayim shel Zahav. Double gong.
Unfortunately, he had Shacharit the next day. Dr D then noticed that the Chazan was being encouraged by the Pesukei dezimra man (herein known as PK man) who sat next to the Bimmah. Annoyingly, PK man clapped along with every tune. Dr D is very wary of the man who claps in shul. In his experience, the man who claps is signifying that he is considerably richer and more imprtant than everyone else and can do what he wants. After 2 days, PK man was irritating Dr D - too much clapping like he owned the flipping hotel.
He did own the hotel....
The Chazan then decided to end one of his kaddishes with an Amen as if it was a tekia gedolah. Gong. Seriously, at least half a minute. By the time Kohelet finished, the Kahal was exhausted and once more a breakaway minyan formed for YS to do a wonderful and quick mussaf.
The gong had been pulverised -smashed to the ground, trodden on and jumped on, buried half a mile underground.
Dr D has come to a conclusion when it comes to hotel minyanim and the activists in them - that Beit Shammai had it right all along ---- Don't suffer fools gladly.
--- Thank you Dr. D.
To the gonging community --- we hope to have another guest post from the Big Gong ----critiquing the NF's Rosh hashana musaf and describing another bad nusach experience he had while attending KY/S&M this past shabbat ---- in the coming days.