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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Impressions From a Day Spent in Temple

North Miami Beach, FL 10-14-2005
A.H. Schectman

Yesterday Carol and I spent most of the day in Temple Sinai of North Dade.  The experience was a repetitive one due to the fact that there was a morning service, an early afternoon service, an evening service and a concluding service with the most important Yizkor service paramount because it centers on those who came before us and we must never forget them.  Carol and I spent years in Temple Choirs and found that this year the four professional singers actually benefited by our experience and willingness to sing aloud following the prayer book. Because the prayers are repeated constantly throughout the day this was an easy task and welcome for we both feel the service should be inclusive. It should be so because right at the beginning of the service, Kol Nidre (all vows), proclaims that we are absolved from previous vows, oaths and promises and obligations unfulfilled and all are declared null and void. This is particularly rich and awesome music.

But, aside from our constant singing at appropriate volume there was much going on that helped to pass the time of a day of fasting.  This we accomplished with a break-fast at seven last evening. Because we were part of the proceedings rather than attending a performance, the standing and sitting when called upon to do so were welcome although some lengthy upright positions became harder as the day proceeded. Both of us managed this despite physical shortcomings.

Being Jewish has always been participatory.  Boys and Girls are taught to lead the services and we had some great examples from the Youth Group who stood out in their reading of the Hebrew (chanting in trope) and making speeches commenting on the issues of a day when we confront our failings.  We felt this way also in realization that music carried the weight of meaning by the Cantor who held up for being almost constantly on the scene and keeping his voice despite requirements of facing the Ark making it difficult for him to project to the filled Temple. Of course he was amplified as was the Vocal Group who served as a Choir which seemed anemic because three were directed by the fourth, the soprano, and they were expanded at times by a piano, a cello, a guitar and a harp.  This one day a year, the congregants really got a good performance for their trouble.

But, one of the passages in the special High Holy Day prayer book caught my attention.  “Israel’s message” it said was to “proclaim to all … children the truth” and that was: “One humanity on earth even as there is One God in heaven”.  This lesson is yet to be learned by all peoples who believe in one god and additionally those who are still persuaded to believe in many gods – particularly those of LUCK, and supernaturalism.  Perhaps, one day, there will be ONE humanity in all the earth and there will be a stop to people killing each other for what they believe.



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