Monday, September 25

Tequila in Tishrei

I bet you we had the most fun at our shul this Rosh Hashana.
Because, according to my four year old, we had
‘Tequila Gedola’.
(Then again, she makes me sing her, ‘HaMohel Hagoel’ every night.)

It’s amazing how I’ve adapted to this tiny British shtiebel.
The shul I grew up in was nusach Ashkenaz and the women’s section had a clear birds eye view of the men’s section. In my adopted shul, the nusach is Sefard and the men’s section is completely cosseted from view.
The first time I davened there as a newlywed, I recall almost having a coronary when they blew shofar in the middle of Shmonei Esrei.

Now, after eighteen years I’m well prepared and I even know all the chassideshe nigunim they sing. It’s bizarre that after all these years there is always the same little boy’s voice that repeats everything the Kehillah says, always four seconds after everyone has finished. He has never aged and his voice never broke. But then again, how would I know? I’ve never actually seen the mens section in action.

And while we’re on that subject, I used to know when to stand up and sit down from watching the men. But in the shtiebel, that doesn’t work, so for years I would watch the Rebbetzin. She sat, I sat. She stood, I stood. She adjusted her skirt, I adjusted my skirt. It was like ‘simon says’ or ‘monkey see, monkey do’.

Nowadays, since I’ve been a shtiebel regular for years; I set the standard for the newcomers to the shul.
It’s always fun to add in some extra moves, just to keep them on their toes.

Every year on the High Holy Days someone faints.
Boruch Hashem, they are always fine but it always serves to fuel ‘The Great Air-Con Debate’.
Since the shul air conditioning was purchased, the old guard fight against the younger generation about whether or not to turn on the air-con or not. Each and every year.

Most visitors to the shul prepare themselves by wearing removable layers in case the more mature members insist on fresh air and open all the windows and have the air-con turned off. In these instances the ladies section has been known to simulate a sauna.

It is then that all the younger women end up with free facials, every pore pried open by the pseudo-Sahara heat. Last year, the oldies won and the air conditioning was turned off plus all the windows were shut. So when the annual fainting spell occurred, the stuffy conditions and lack of cool air were blamed.

As a result, this year we revelled in the comfortable conditions of modern air conditioning until once again, someone fainted. So the air-con was again made redundant as the seasonably warm air was welcomed into the shul by the window flinging older ladies.
It’s always a lose/lose situation.

Initially, in the first few years I davened Rosh Hashana in this shul, I used to hem and haw as the shofar was blown. Instead of the great bellow I was used to from the shofar in my old shul, in this one I was greeted by a veritable squeak. When I asked my husband who blew the shofar, he told me it was the Rav of the shtiebel. I couldn’t believe it, and pined for the good old days.

It was only over the years, as I came to appreciate the the Rav as the Tzaddik he is, did I come to understand that as old and frail as he is, he puts all his Koach into blowing that shofar.

And it’s only as I got older that I came to realise that a squeak from his shofar is worth a hundred bellows from a stronger man.

So, whether you had Tekiya or tequila, here’s hoping that all our Tefillos were answered!
G'mar Chasima Tova!


At 11:39 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

Was it harder to become english or sfard?

At 12:06 AM, Blogger Shoshana said...

Great post. Every shul I have ever been in for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur has been a freezer! I always make sure to bring a sweater along.

At 1:23 AM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I love tequila that is cool. In my shul it is always freezing the women know to bring their minks. Love the post.

At 2:04 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

i got stressed out reading the air con situation in your shul cuz it reminds me so much of ours! its a total sauna until someone faints, then its the middle of the holiday and we cant turn the air on. whats annoying is that the older ladies sit on the edge of the balcony where they get fresh air, while we sit squished in the back trying to grab as much of their recycled oxygen to survive...

At 2:22 AM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

good post

At 7:02 AM, Blogger kollel mama said...

Funny post! The reason they don't like the ac is becuase it's basically only useful 9 days out of a year, and they're not quite used to it yet.

SWFM- they bring their minks to show off.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

lol... thats sounds exactly like a shul we used to go to. we used to get seats next to the window because the air-con never worked but the old ladies were always cold. i prefer to be able to breathe and put on a cardigan if it's cold. such dramas!

glad you had a nice rosh hashanah!

gmar chatimah tova.

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Scraps said...

Oysh. Sounds like a party at your place. My shul is pretty normal as far as the temperatures go, b"H.

Oh, and what your daughter (Cucumber?) says about tequila/tekiah is really cute! Kids say the funniest things!

At 3:27 PM, Blogger kishmech said...

You have just described every shteebl i know! From the constant anonymous pre teen voice to the ac fights.

kassie - what moves do you add in for fun? TRy the hokey cokey. lol.

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Karl said...

This sounds the exact opposite of my Rosh Hashona; from the freezing cold AC with no one complaining to the total lack of tune, right down to the teqila gedola which no one here has!

At 4:03 PM, Blogger THECOLDMAN said...


At 4:04 PM, Blogger THECOLDMAN said...


At 4:13 PM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

lol....very cute post....
My wife also had a hard time adjusting to something entirely different than what she was used to..and I've always wondered what u women were doing up I know..tsk tsk....simon

At 5:38 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Good question!
But now I love being both!

LOL! well, cold keeps people awake!

Mink can be an integral part of the teshuva process! Thanks!

Sorry that you can relate!
I really have to bite my cheeks and not offer them duvets and hot water bottles!

Hey, thanks!

Kollel Mama:
You are too right!!!

I guess its a universal thing! G'mar Chasima Tova to you too!!!

At 5:44 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

She is cute-thanks!

You are too funny, girl!

So it's different for you too!!! Don't worry, you'll get used to it!!!

Yes, at the break!
the question should be do we really care???

Thank you!
Kish says I should try the Hokey Cokey!!!!

At 10:05 PM, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said...

I like when they blow the shofar in the middle because then you know how much time you have to finish. Nobody is ever happy with the temperature no matter what it is.

At 2:32 AM, Blogger Shopaholic said...

Since when did you start calling it AIR-CON?!?! what happened to AC?!

My husbands officially become American now that he walks around asking for the AC to be turned on all the time! :)


At 3:03 AM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

Gemar Chatima Tova!

At 11:18 AM, Blogger RR said...

Tequila gedolah- now THAT would make shul-going much more fun!

Gmar chatima tova to you, Kasamba!

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

Boy was I lucky, when reaching the monkey says, monkey does part I exploded in laughter.
Suddenly all the people in the room (at work btw) started to laugh as well.
I thought they were mocking my (so they say) weird laughing sound, but it turned out someone made a face. or something.
So no one suspected I was blogging instead of working:)
Great great post as always!

Ps.I believe that Halachah requires a powerful Shofar blast, A tzaddik is preferable of course, but the blasts need to be strong.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Bonnie B said...

I think I could faint that was so funny. It reminded me of home where you either freeze or burn up. Maybe this is a lesson in tolerance and loving your neighbor.

At 7:09 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

LOL! Too true!!!
BTW, I tried to leave comment on your blog- butblogger wouldn't let me!

Hi married lady!!!! I've been here so long- I'm almost a native!!! It seems Karl has become one too!!!

G'mar Chasima Tova to you too!!!

LOL-Halevai, huh??
G'mar Chasima Tova to you as well!

I'm glad your secret identity wasn't revealed!- I guess to him, they are strong!

thank you!
I will think of tolerance next time sweat runs like niagra falls down my neck!!!

At 2:47 AM, Blogger Nemo said...

Here's a little tid-bit for the ladies gallery... it's not about who blows, cause it's all in the Shofar. Even a young, able-bodied man will fall short and squeak through the Teruahs if he's not properly equipped. Never judge a man by his Shofar!

At 6:19 PM, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said...

What do you mean blogger wouldn't let you leave a comment? I don't have any restrictions except that you have to type that stupid letter thing.

At 10:12 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

So it's his Shofar!!!

It just didn't open the other day- but I managed today!

At 2:54 AM, Blogger Chasidishe Shaigitz said...

LOL with the A/C As I say just another High from the High Holidays HIGH-pothermia, I used to daven on YK in this shteebul when I was young and boy did I suffer, I mean not only was I starving but I was freezing my tush off as well!

I gotta say though last year I was in Guatemala and the neighborhood shul was sefardi, it was kinda fun they had some nice catchy tunes (which I kept singing all the way through Sukkot) also tell me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure safardi nosach on RH and YK is alot shorter then nosach ashkenaz, I remember prayers went by fast last year, especially as I'm always looking up at the clock on Yom Kippur.

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