I’ve previously written about Kol Zimrah here.
As has become my custom during this, my junior year, I spent a good deal of the beginning of Shabbat on trains getting to and from Kol Zimrah on the Upper West Side. KZ meets on Friday night once a month and it’s a nice breather from school. There’s singing, good davening, good people (including many blog-y or internet-y friends and many Limmud NY friends) and a generally pretty good pot luck after.
Miscellaneous observations from this month’s KZ:
Finally got to meet Ben Sales, editor of New Voices Magazine. I’ve been running New Voices’ twitter account for a couple of months now and I’ll be at NVM’s National Jewish Student Journalism Conference next month attending sessions and speaking in one about balancing coverage of local and national/international news in student media. If you’re a Jewish student journalist, whether you’re journalisting about Jewish news/content or not, you should think about registering. Just about every time I go to KZ, I end up meeting someone in the meatspace who I know here, on the internet or on a blog.
Speaking of people like that, internet friend-turned real life friend Aharon Varady, creator of the Open Siddur Project was there. We chatted about Judaism (or potential lack thereof) in fantasy, Harry Potter in particular. More on Aharon in a minute, when I get to mentioning the ambitious things I’ve agreed to do.
Aharon was there because he’s attending Mechon Hadar’s third annual Indie Minyan conference, which I would’ve gone to, but I’ve got things to do here in Jersey this weekend. Bunch of Jewschoolers are there though, so we should be getting some good coverage of it at Jewschool once it’s over. The conference apparently suggested a number of nearby indie minyans to attend on Friday night, KZ among them. As a result, the service was overflowing with people, including a lot of folks from out of town or other NYC minyans, which was great. They all cleared out for dinner though, which was also great.
Also as a by-product of this conference, old-school KZer and current Jewschooler Ben Dreyfus a.k.a. BZ was around to lead services, which he’s great at. We don’t see him too often anymore because he’s back in school in DC these days. So that was a treat.
There was some guy behind me who said “mach’shvoysaychuh” instead of “mach’shevotecha,” which made me want to punch someone in the face. Other than that, no more of my usual post-prayer service complaints. For more on my issues with Hebrew pronunciation, see this.
After all my going on about not going to HUC lately, I found myself seated for services between two current HUC students. Which was interesting, if only conceptually. One told me he was recently googling around to figure out what the sources of eilu d’varim are and this blog came up as one of the first hits.
I also sat at dinner near a current employee of JTS’ grad school and had an interesting conversation about the demise of cantorial education in the US and about anecdotes of general congregational dissatisfaction with cantors.
Things I shouldn’t try to do, but probably will anyway:
It’s been a while since I did something ambitious with liturgy, so it’s about time. I began work today on a spreadsheet (trying out the new features in google docs led me to this) in which I’m trying to catalog the manifold differences between my many siddurim. I started with the Koren Sacks today, using it as a baseline. It’s a pretty arbitrary choice and it may turn out to have been a bad choice, but there it is. This is a bad time because I’m coming up on the end of my semester and I’ve got school-y things to do. Hopefully, I’ll see reason, take some of my drugs and put it off until my copious free time this summer rolls around.
And back to Aharon, founder of the OSP, who I ran into at KZ. As we chatted, it came up that Aharon was troubled by the fact that everyone he has working on transcriptions for the project so far is either Orthodox or from and Orthodox background. I was suddenly more interested in helping with transcriptions than I ever had been before. But before I could say anything, he mentioned that he’s particularly interested in getting some of the older Reform prayer books (Olat Tamid, Minhag America, etc.) transcribed because they are now out of copyright. Being out of copy right is a big issue for the OSP. Then I mentioned that I have some photocopies of some of these older Reform siddurim and before I knew it, I’d committed to working on transcribing them this summer.
So yeah. All that happened. Shavua tov.