I looked around and it appeared that I was a minority, I had a full head of hair and it wasn’t gray or white. I sat glumly on the smooth wooden bench and propped my head up onto my arm that was draped over the edge of the bench. An old mans butt poked into my face as he fuddled with his cane and tried to get over me, saying that I should stay seated and not get up. I tried to pear into the ladies section, but knew it was hopeless, not that I couldn’t see too well, but that I was the only one with my real teeth still in tact.
The shul hocker/talker sat right in back of me. He started chatting with the man who had informed me that I was wasting my time in that shul, for there would be no Kiddush that week. The started talking loudly, about the man who was laining.
“Who’s laining, is that Dr. Kay?”
Yeh I think so, whatever happened to Avi? Is he in Israel. Real Smart kid I tell ya. Jacks getting into medicine I hear.
“Dr Kay huh, nice man, wife is nice too.”
Then across the aisle I see an older man getting up and the shul talker in back of me talking about how nice Dr Kays wife is shouts across the see of old carpet and birnbaum prayer books.
“Hey (Saul, or Harvey or Mirv or Murray)- it seems that all modern orthodox Jewish men with gray hair have the same names. So the shul talker yells, hey Mirv, need some oil to get up or something.”
Mirv waves his cane in a joking fashion and adjusts his talis and pants that are way to high on the stomach.
Then the talking guy turns taps me on the shoulder and asks who I am, why am I not in the “young marrieds” minyan as they call it. I usually hate those minyanim, usually the young newlywed minyans are filled with too-cool nursing home administrators who wear pink striped shirts and talk the whole davening about the newest Lexus at Wheels to Lease. I tell him that him and his cronies are providing me with so much entertainment that I couldn’t possibly leave now- for I am getting a biography on everyone in shul.
In fact like all shul regulars, they are fussing over who is not present that shabbos and where they might be. I have already learned that Harvey is tired from visiting with the grandkids, Saul was feeling indigestion and Harriet didn’t like the humidity.
Then the Rabbi stopped the laining and several folks yelled “shhhhhhhhhh” from across the aisle. Dear shul talker guy yells back at some unseen person and says “hey Marvin, your I thought your hearing aids don’t work?” It was very funny, to see these grumpy old men yelling at each other and laughing at the same time. There were several under 50 year olds including my self, but I doubt they were having as much fun as I was.
Of course then we had to play the requisite round of Jewish Geography, he knows my boss, he knows a bunch of people I know and so on. I was even going to give him my card for my blog- but I couldn’t grow the balls to do it, I printed up a bunch of free business cards, but am too chicken to give them out.
Then this Rabbi gets up to speak, and I was looking forward because he was going to talk about the Pope. But then he started talking about pesach halacha, and I mosied on down to the young marrieds minyan as they called it.
As expected it was a room of small groups of young men with talesim talking about diapers, used cars and real estate deals. Besides the fact there were no chairs, it was very hot in the room and very cold at the same time, it wasn’t nearly as friendly and fun as upstairs, I went back and did a breakaway musaf and busted out of there into the 70 degree morning.