Dear Nusach Freak readers....
the NF would love to continue entertainign you with his writing. But well, as the NF has moved to the holy city of Jerusalem and started praying at a rather well-known south Jerusalem synagogue, there is just nothing to write about.
The NF's new shul has 4 gabbaim of which 3 are Yekke/Swiss and literally everything runs like clockwork. The leining is flawless 99% of the time (and I mean flawless --- shva nach, nah, mapik hei etc) and the gabbaim are rather picky about who they allow to daven (the NF and Dr D are asked quite regularly). Sure you get the occaisonal cantorial masturbation or the French baal tefilla who always starts too high and cracks or the old guy who belts out some melody from the late 19th century. But literally no new blogging material has made it itself available since Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur. Well. Until we got to Pesach that is.
1st Day - Dr. D davened a very good Shacharit with a above average hallel (only mistake - a bad melody selection for מה אשיב that left us all feeling a little bit icky)
Musaf/Tefillat Tal was not my cup of tea as I thought it failed to inspire (no one seemed to recognize any of the melodies used by the baal tefilla - from יה אלי through the מכלכל חיים after תפילת טל making for a bit of a schleppy albeit nusachly correct davening but there was no gonging going on).
Shabbat Chol Hamoed - the NF and family travelled to an Israeli coastal town to spend the weekend with relatives. Davening on Shabbat was very poor (offkey, unispired hallel, baal musaf couldn't of told you if he was davening shacharit or musaf, what chag it was or if he was davening nusach sfarad or ashkenaz) but again, the NF did not feel compelled to share his experience with you.
The NF and family returned to our home in the holy city for the 7th day of chag. Moses said "Let my people go" and indeed the S**t hit the fan as SmartAleck led shacharit. SmartAleck has one of the nicest voices I've ever heard in a shul. I've heard him daven a few times over the last few years and the man has a clear talent in introducing complex melodies into the davening. But this 7th day of Pesach was not SmartAleck's best effort.
Shacharit started tradionally enough. Although he was a tad slow, shacharit itself was alright...until tzur yisrael before the amida. Smartaleck decided to sing the section to the Sefardi Tzur Mishelo/Los Biblicos Cantan Romanza. It's actually a nice melody which the NF uses for ושמרו in chazarat hashat"z of Shabbat Shacharit when there is enough time and the kahal has patience ---- if there is hallel or a double parsha, I would never try to elongate the davening.
and then we hit hallel --- 35 minutes later we finished. and it was horrible. He sang things that were in the siddur. He sang things that weren't in the siddur. Any word in hallel that reminded him of a niggun he had once heard meant he had to the sing the niggun with lots of lay lay lays etc. SmartAleck was misreading the crowd - no one was singing along and people were getting antsy. We eventually made it to הודו לה' כי טוב and SmartAleck started singing some melody I'd never heard before but sounded like something one would hear on GalGalatz....and then he did it....he anwered himself. Yes, he sang Hodu LaShem and then repeated. He then sang yomar na yisrael and then answered himself with a hodu Lashem etc. never seen that done before. gong.
Having started davening at 8:30, we fininshed hallel at the unheard of time of 9:45 (we usually finish the entire davening by 10:30)....but we weren't done. SmartAleck started הוצאת ספר תורה....upon hitting ואני תפילתי he didn't sing the traditonal meldy nor did he introduce a new innovative melody (the NF uses ולירושלים עירך on weekdays and ברול אל עליון on shabbat/YK)......no. Smartaleck started a non descript, slow, unidentifiable chant. But we weren't done. SmartAleck took the torah and said Shema using the yamim noraim melody!!!!
An old women cursed her very existence and wished she had never been born. An old man had a stroke and babies, children and adults had diahrea right there in the shul sanctuary --- except for those who were constipated (it was Pesach after all), they threw up.
gong. Let's just say that SmartAleck is no longer being considered for a tefilla or 2 on the yamim noraim.
In other news, the NF has finished the writing stage of the sefer torah --- I brought the torah to another sofer this past week for tiyug (adding the little crowns) and then we'll start the checking process.