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It was decided that face masks have to be worn during Kiddish. Not very much was eaten at Kiddish. Kichel lasts a long time, so that’s a positive.
For those who don’t know, Kiddish is the post services snack social. Most of our shul shows up eight minutes before Kiddish. They know that if they show up after announcements, the Kiddish will be gone.
Nobody waits for the rabbi to make the Kiddish (blessing) on the wine before taking the Kiddish. Though, Mrs. Forestein is on top of them, and makes them all feel guilty. I’m impressed at how people can load up herring with Mrs. Forestein staring right at their plate and saying ‘you’re going to Gehenim if you take before the rabbi makes Kiddish.’ Matjes herring is worth hell to people over 80. The kids load up their plates with cookies. I don’t think an adult has had a cookie since the Gedayberg family came to town. I also don’t think that there’s been a speech without a child running on the Bima (stage) since the Gedaybergs joined our shul. I think security should be standing by the choolante until after Kiddish.
It’s proper etiquette to wait for the rabbi. I’ve been to dinner with some of our members, and they eat before the hosts sit down. At the Simchavitz house, the potato kugel was gone before the wife made it to the table. One of the guests took it from the kitchen, said they were helping. I think they even ate some of it on the way to the table. We have to work on shul ettiquete.
A few weeks later, they had the Kiddish as a take home, individually wrapped. That was as social as the Kiddish got over the pandemic.
Had meeting about security this week. Decision was made to keep the guard. We tried figuring out other methods of security, but the camera and the guard were it. There’s not much more than a camera and a guard. Someone thought for people to not show up. That was the only other novel security measure that has come up in shul security meetings over the past 20 years. A drone camera was brought up, but somebody shot that out of the sky last time, as an act of anti-Semitism.
The rabbi took to H’s message of telling Moshe to send the spies only meaning that He gave permission, even though it was not what they should’ve done. Anything that went wrong in the shul that the rabbi OKed, like the new secretary, the rabbi said he did not give his consent for. It was very confusing for all. It was a very bizarre week. The rabbi told the runner to round third and go home, in the softball game. When he got out, the rabbi said that he did not suggest to do it. Though his arm was swinging huge circular motions and everybody saw it, and he was yelling to go home, he said that he was just saying it was fine, but he did not want him to do it. He said that he knew the runner wanted to do it.
Had another Bar Mitzvah reader this week, and a Bat Mitzvah.
Rabbi Mendelchem’s Sermon
Shabbat Shalom My Congregants,
You don’t even say ‘Shabbat Shalom’ back. Be friendly… If the spies smiled, the Jews would’ve gone to Israel.
People are affected by what they are told. Even more so, how they are told… When people aren’t welcomed to the shul, they are affected by how they are told nothing… You people are selfish. You are social climbers. If I told you that they owned a football team… Now you’re all mad at me… No. They don’t own a team. They are nice people. You’re the reason why people convert to Christianity… They say ‘Hi.’ Protestants say ‘Hi.’ That’s all people want is a Hello… At Kiddish. Nobody said ‘Hello.’ Or ‘Shalom’… We’ve lost twelve members because of masks this year…
What do you want to be part of?...
(Bamidbar 13:1-2) H’ tells Moshe to send people to go to the land to check it out. That was a mistake. Ever sent Erwin to pick up some soda for Seudah Shelishit? He comes back with three leader bottles and some brand with a star on it… One star, for bad.
Rashi tells us that it was permission, but not suggested. H’ is saying ‘For your knowledge. I am not commanding this. If you want, send.’ If H’ would’ve commanded it, we would be sending spies every year to check out the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club. But our shul sends nobody to Israel… The last Israel trip was twelve years ago. It was the rabbi, his wife and a Yeshiva student who was learning there for the year… He was from Houston. We met him on Ben Yehuda... We needed somebody to call it a communal trip. There was no tour guide… Visit the Holy Land. You don’t even visit. You guys spy out everything… How is it that you all know when Tzachi got his American visa?...
I can’t tell you everything to do. If you want to redo the walkway… Yes. It was nice. I didn’t command you to redo it… Yes. It’s worse now. You sinned… It wasn’t suggested. It’s on you…
(Bamidbar 13:17) Moshe tells them to ‘go up in the south, and ascend to the Mountain.’
Rashi tells us that this is the way of merchants, to see the Psolet, the bad part, of the land first. The problem is that we always see the bad part first. We see a tiny piece of schnitzel at a fundraiser that we paid $250 a plate for. It’s hard to focus on the asparagus spear... You never get the chance to see the Mountain. You don't go there... I left before dessert. And I heard it was chocolate and peanut butter squares. Every Kiddish I go to, they run out of those...
We always see the worst parts first… You go on a tour. Cab drivers are beeping you… Yes. Anywhere in Europe, Bernie. The tour guide takes you to the shops that have the scarves with the country on it… It’s July… We’re in the northern hemisphere… You tour and the shopkeepers are the first people you see. ‘Welcome to Italy. We charge you too much.’… Why the spies didn’t check for mechanics is a good question. But they did go up in the south, so there must’ve been some mechanics and shuk people there.
They were checking for people who were in shape and ready to defend their homes. (13:19) ‘Are they strong or weak…Is the land good or bad… are the cities open or fortified… is the land fat or lean… trees or not…’ Land can be attractive. Yes. Fat is attractive. Back then, it was attractive… They didn’t have preservatives…
You stay for Shabbat, you see the decent people… That’s what we’re trying to do hear… But you don’t say ‘Shalom.’ That’s why they leave.
Ever traveled to Disney World? You end up seeing the characters first. Where are the rides?
Ever come to this shul… You first meet the talkers in the back… That’s the only time you say ‘Hi.’ Middle of Tefillah… It’s the middle of prayers and you’re… Welcoming is good. But you don’t sit down the guy for a conversation about his family lineage and what happened in the playoffs yesterday… I think they understand that it’s the middle of the Chazan’s repetition of the Amidah… It doesn’t make a difference if they know what the Amidah is… The front row isn’t talking… A silent handshake… OK. A ‘Shabbat Shalom.’ That’s what I’m talking about. But you don’t yell it… You say ‘Shabbat Shalom.’ Which only two of you do. The rest of you stare at the people like they are fat and unfortified… That’s why they don’t come back. That’s why people don’t go to shul. That’s why the spies didn’t go to Israel.
The spies sold the people wrong. They were selfish leaders who gave false information… They told us it was bad. They misrepresented what they showed the people… You smile, say ‘Shalom’ and take them to the front row, so they can see the good people….
Big grapes can throw people off. When you don’t know if it’s a plum, it’s quite unsettling.
The question is, ‘Is it a good land?’... No. They wouldn’t want to end up in Topeka. You send some people to survey… What kind of houses? Chimneys? Do they mow?
When you see a community, you want to see the homes. You want to see the architectural layout of the city… They should’ve built the mall in the middle of the town. I am meeting with the town council this week about that decision. I said ‘OK,’ but only because I knew they would do it anyways… Now everybody has to travel to the East Wedge. Whatever that is… It’s the Psolet.
Do people want to move here? The Shreigen family was thinking of moving here, but they only saw the Psolet of the shul. They didn’t see the beauty and kindness. They saw a Kiddish with huge strawberries and they were thinking, ‘we will never be able to eat these things without staining our clothes. It definitely squirts onto the shirt…’
It was the ripe grapes that scared them… It’s about interpretation. It’s about how you say ‘Shalom’ to people. That’s what gets them to want to be part of our community… We want to welcome the Mindlowitz family to our community. There’s a lot of good here. And we shipped in small, tart, strawberries from Israel this week…
It's the leaders that throw people off. The leaders create positive in the shul. The Gabai is a downer… Then smile…
(Bamidbar 13:4) ‘All of them, leaders of the children of Israel’… They were leaders. That’s who they sent. Nobody cares what Michael does… If Michael would’ve come back and said they had tiny grapefruits, nobody would’ve listened. They wouldn’t have believed him, and we would’ve went to Israel… I am asking the leaders to stop messing up…
There were representatives from each tribe. Even in bad stuff, we need representatives. The fundraiser dinner needed representatives… Now, we know who to blame for the schnitzel… They were tiny pieces… $250 a plate. How much is a piece of schnitzel?...
As Moshe prayed for Hoshea and changed his name to Yehoshua (13:16), meaning ‘May Gd save you,’ I am praying for the leaders of this congregation… They are already sinners and influenced by evil forces, like the spies. Even so, I pray for their souls. So they don’t ruin the congregation anymore and cause us to lose members for another 40 years… I pray that our congregation are saved from your foolish decisions. We lost every member with a wheelchair… Yes. I OKed it. But I didn't mean it. Wheelchair accessible doesn’t mean to make a walkway and ramp out of cobblestone…
I pray that the Bar and Bat Mitzvah are saved from you.
Nobody wants to be part of a bunch of people complaining about grapes… And they didn’t say ‘Hi’… I gave permission to say ‘Hi.’ I mean it. Be kind and friendly and stop messing up the Kiddish…
This is why we have Tisha BAv. Our dear Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah. Don’t be like that side of the shul.
Rivka’s Notes on Rabbi Mendelchem’s Drasha
This was the most powerful message the Rabbi every gave to a Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
It was a joint celebration, where nobody could eat at Kiddish. The families wanted to know why they didn’t save the money and tell people to eat at home. Even so, nobody would’ve come if there wasn’t food; even if they weren’t allowed to remove their masks. It was only later that month where the rule of not being able to spread COVID when eating came out.
The strawberries were very nice. I snuck a couple home.
The rabbi blamed the congregation for being a bunch of spies. We do have to be more positive about coming ton shul.
It’s about how you represent it. Huge grapes are a great thing at Kroger’s.
We lost a lot of members because of lack of ‘Hellos.’ Lack of friendliness and negativity bring a congregation down. The rabbi is right. We would’ve had better Bat Mitzvah parties. With a more positive mental attitude, we would’ve made the softball playoffs. Inter-shul play wasn’t affected by Hindy’s leaving the faith, as she didn’t join another shul. I saw her in the supermarket the other day and she said ‘Hi.’ I think she’s trying to convert me.
Whatever the rabbi said in his sermon that met with conflict, he said he did not mean. He said he was just saying that it was OK, but it was wrong (without saying it was wrong). He made it clear that we have to know what he's thinking when he gives us the OK. As he said, 'Do what I'm thinking.' Many were trying to figure out if the rabbi has a secret wink. But nobody saw it.
Everything that ever went wrong, he blamed on us. He told us that we shouldn’t have done it. When we asked why he told us to do it, he said, ‘Because you wanted to. So, I told you it was a great idea.’ This is why we have a social hall that holds eighteen people, for Chai. We haven’t been able to host a Simcha in years. The only time we hosted a party was over COVID, where three were allowed at six feet apart.
Nobody knew if we should take what he was saying about our community, homes and shul to heart. Many repainted their facades. Nobody renovated the insides of their homes, or cleaned. They figured that as long as they didn’t have guests, they didn’t have to worry about people spying on their homes. The Gurvy family stopped allowing their little ones to have playdates, as the little ones get too much information on the home when they come to play with Shayna. The Gedayberg kids also make a mess.
The Mindlowitz family was not impressed with the way our shul was built. They didn’t like the layout and the architecture. We know this, because they didn’t come back. They weren’t impressed with the Psolet in the back of the shul either.
The cobblestone walkway looked really ancient. If the spies had to walk on something like that, their feet would’ve hurt. Telling the people that you can’t push a carriage, or walk without injuring your ankles, would’ve kept our members from going to Israel. All the people in the Feinwitz section love wearing high heels.
Due to mask mandates, nobody said ‘Hello’ or ‘Shalom’ after shul. Truthfully, at Kiddish, everybody just stared at the new people. They didn’t know what to do with the masks. They were scared that it would offend the new people if they welcomed them during COVID.
The Bar and Bat Mitzvah didn't give a speech, as the rabbi was scared that their speaking abilities weren't up to par. And the rabbi didn't want the community to see the Psolet of the Sunday School education.
And the congregation got the real message. From then on, every Kiddish had backup chocolate peanut butter squares.
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Wearing Israeli flags. Showing their support for Israel at the rally in DC. It would’ve been smarter if they brought coats. Based on experience, flags don’t work as good windbreakers.