Saturday, December 10, 2005

An (Extra)-Ordinary Shabbat Morning Service

This is for the benefit of my husband who is away for his mother’s birthday in Detroit and who asked what happened at Shabbat services today. I observed and absorbed things that I have never noticed before today:

– In the choir I (an alto) sat in between two sopranos (one of whom sometimes sings a little too loudly). But I noticed how much more self-reliant I was when I couldn’t lean on someone else singing my part. I liked matching my harmony against the soprano line.
– Temple Micah has something called the “Quiet Room”. It’s a place where people with young disruptive children can go. They can hear and see what’s going on without their child’s noises bothering everyone else. It was a busy place this morning, but it was good to observe these parent-child pairs, relaxed as they did arts and crafts or nursed or did whatever while still soaking up the sounds of the service.
– Part of the Torah service involves the bar/bat mitzvah child walking through the congregation holding the Torah prior to reading from the Torah. Today Lauren was followed by (our rabbi) Danny and (our 2nd rabbi) Toby and her parents. As the congregation sang and clapped, Danny was doing his typical clapping off the beat – sort of a syncopation. Toby, on the other hand, was dancing – I kid you not. When she reached the bimah again, she sort of did a little shuffle back to her position. How very cool?
– Before we sang the Sh’ma, Lauren and her family stood on the bimah for the Torah-passing ceremony – in this case from her mother to her. Her non-Jewish father, however, was included on the bimah in this and other parts of the service. We are inclusive of everyone.
– Lauren’s portion comes from Genesis 31:17-35. It was the story of how Rachel stole her father Laban’s family gods when she and Jacob slipped away in the middle of the night. When her father overtook them a week later, she hid them in her camel bag upon which she sat in her unclean menstrual state. No one dared to ask her to get up! Lauren stated that Rachel should be recognized, not because of her theft, but for the fact that it signified the first willful recognition of one God.
– The bar/mitzvah child poses a question to Danny, which forms the basis of his sermon. Lauren’s question was: What does Judaism say about intelligent design? (This is from a 13-year-old!) Danny proceeded to answer the question with the following remarks:
If some people want to believe the earth was formed in 6 days, that’s their business.
If some people want to believe that the earth is 5766 years old, that’s their business.
If some people want to believe that dinosaurs roamed the earth, that’s their business.
If some people want to believe that at one point animals could talk, that’s their business.
However, if any of these people impose their beliefs on me, that’s MY business.
When people start messing with children’s education about any of this, then that’s all of our business.
There is a difference between taking the Bible seriously and taking the Bible literally.
Judaism is never in conflict with science.
Science and Judaism are not contradictory, but rather complementary.
(Albert Einstein) Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.
Why are some people more concerned about the creation of the world than about the poverty that exists in the world today?
– The choir did a special song “The Dream and the Stone” to recognize another part of today’s Torah portion dealing with Jacob’s dream of a ladder going up to heaven. The song was written by one of our congregant’s Doug Mishkin. Our director Teddy had written an entirely new harmony for one section. It was sort of DOO-OP and a lot of fun to sing and we did a great job.
– Several years ago Danny read the book “Bowling Alone” by Robert Putnam about the collapse and revival of the American community. In the spirit of this book, the entire Temple Micah congregation is going bowling TOGETHER in February. We are renting an entire bowling alley for this event. Only at this very unique place...
– Finally as the religious school director was presenting Lauren with the typical Kiddush cup and other gifts, she remarked that several years ago, Lauren had asked everyone in the religious school to start calling her Marvin instead of Lauren. When her teacher at that time approached the director to see if this would be allowed, Deborah said, “Absolutely, all children can choose their identity here.”

Temple Micah: A pretty special place. I’m glad to be a part of such an enlightened congregation.


Anonymous dsquared said...

wow! great notes - i'm really impressed. it was almost like being there! any yismchu solos today? hopefully lauren is back to being lauren rather than marvin? btw, what exactly is meant by intelligent design? did he define it?

4:33 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

COOL! Toby dancing, Danny responding to Lauren's questions so perfectly. "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." WOW! No wonder I'm so proud to call Temple Micah my spiritual home.

Wow. Thanks, Barbara.

10:20 AM  

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