Saturday, January 20, 2018
A Year in Mourning - Minyan Buddies
A month plus into my year of mourning and it turns out that I am in demand. Beth Emeth has become my regular morning minyan. It has a convenient 8:15 minyan, which coincides with drop-off at CHAT. When I leave on Thursday with a “Shabbat shalom,” the response is “Aren’t we seeing you tomorrow?” A few evenings I’m there as well. Outside of Pride, it’s the closest shul. Last week one of the regulars, whose father died about 10 days after mine, officially introduced himself. “After all, we’re going to be minyan buddies.” I knew who he was, and he knew who I was, but we hadn’t been formally introduced. There I’m just one of the guys, just another davenner. But I’m also a rabbi. I find myself fielding individual halakhic questions. While the BEBY rabbis are busy, I get questioned by people looking to learn the hows and whys of mourning or t’fillah customs and mitzvot. It’s just comfortable, with no pressure. People sponsoring breakfast ask me specifically to stay. “I’m sponsoring on Monday. Please join us for breakfast.”
Meanwhile, the few times I davenned at Beth David there was a clear expectation I’d join them for the year. “But you count here.” Yes I do. But it’s also further away. It means getting kids (and me) out the door 30 minutes earlier, something that’s never going to happen. No, I can’t get an aliyah at BEBY, but in the morning the extra sleep combined with the welcome I get is definitely worth it.
Then there’re evenings. I really prefer Mincha/Maariv. A psalm with Kaddish in lieu of the Mincha Kaddish doesn’t quite work for me, but heading to a Mincha/Maariv minyan doesn’t quite work for my family. So off to Pride I go at 6:30. We’re adjusted for this in our daily schedule since Sean goes regularly. Two parents attending two separate evening minyanim would mean we’re never together.
But no matter where I go, I’ve come to expect and be expected by the regulars, my minyan buddies for the next 10 months. Together we journey.