For some reason it never works when they sing Carlebach tunes for kabalos shabbos in your run of the mill modern orthodox shulls. At the real Carlebach shull it seems to rock the house but suddenly someone decides to bust it out at a normal shull unless there are multiple all white wearing dudes with tie dye talis’s and dread locked peyote it never seems to flow correctly. There are the “ADD types who’s stomachs have been growling all day for some matzo ball soup and kugel who expect that kabalos shabbos will be a quickie and when you open your eyes after falling asleep at lichu niranina its adon olam all the sudden. But last night was different, there was an NCSY convention and they had to bust out the half assed Carlebach wanna-be version. Oh and then the ring around the bima game – it rocks when its trippy hippes but for some reason a bunch of kids with Abercrombie sweaters and those goofy pnk silk yarmulkes bastardize the whole event. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing a bunch of Jews who are the only Jews they have ever met doing Jewish stuff. Jews rock, but they can also hurry it up for the hungry ones who waited on street corners for hours just for someone to pick them up. It is also interesting to note that NCSY conventions are the only place where kids who don’t know anything do not make themselves look like idiots by donning the talis in scarflike fashion. Usually one can spot a non-orthodox Jew from 3 miles away, they always wear a talis like a scarf even if they are 12 years old, and have the goofy yarmulkes that are featured at the front of the shull in a little hidden basket for distant family that shows up in strapless gowns for cousin yankales bar mitzvah or the ones they got at uncle Marvins wedding. No scarf talasim here, yeh a few goofy orange or green yamies but not too many.
While this whole event was going on I decided to check out the treasures that lay on the other side of the green line. Standing at the bima doing the whole “holier than thou” because I stand during all of davening offers the shulls most premium views of the ladies section. A short mechitza featuring a rare shading ability, the mechitza has shades, the kind that you find in office buildings worldwide that no matter how long you have slaved for the man working in your cubicle you cannot seem to figure out. That’s right folks, they are the shades that one side drops and the other stays up or visa versa, in this shull they are lifted during Rabbi sermons, the Torah parade and other times when the women are allowed to see what actually goes on during service. Well this need not matter since during mincha I stood here at the bima checking out what this NCSY convention had to offer the casual mechitza stalker. You know folks like me who stare and then pretend we weren’t staring and look at the stained glass windows or something of the sort. Or we concentrate intently on the dancing chasid pictures adorning the walls of the women’s section while using our expert frummy girl radar to scope out potential hotties and ultimately shidduchs.
One can almost immediately figure out who is an adviser based on the hooker factor. The hooker factor is this, based on amount of skin showing at a convention you can figure out the age. The younger the girl the more insecure she is, which means the more skin she shows, so that hottie over yonder with the shoulder length blond hair, cleavage shirt and mini skirt is probably ten years younger then I, but that tznius looking broad must be an adviser. The whole kabalos shabbos checkout session is not available in many shulls, in Monsey for instance girls don’t go to shull Friday night and the mechitza’s are usually bullet proof literally. This brings me to my memories of high school in Rochester. We yeshiva guys used to go out to peoples houses on Friday night all week just for the “licha dodi look back” that’s right folks we had our own terminology. We yeshiva bochrim knew how to grab some stares, because no one can turn around at boi-bishalom exactly on time, too quick you get a peak but when the turn back goes you can also get a peak- it’s a science. Why would be so desperate to look at the rather mediocre “ora girls” or cows as they became fondly known – well the was the girl who’s name I cannot repeat but every yeshiva boy who went to Rochester in the late 90’s fondly recalls. For while she was the girl in the white dress. Also the nerdier the girl or guy is for that matter the more likely they are to be an advisor and the more likely they are to be a member of the elite club of people that go to Stern or YU. I noticed this last night with few exceptions, that YU and Stern folks who advise at NCSY conventions are professional nerds, yes this is biased, stereotypical and bastardly, but its true at least according to me and my henchmen.
So they have finished kabalos shabbos and I am grateful, but then all of the sudden those sneaky folks at the OU have decided to bust in a mini-skit of hilchos shabbos instead of saying the lengthy bimei-madlikin which may I say I have never said in full in my entire 24 years of existence, nor have I seen anyone say it. My father busts it out pretty quickly but I have noticed the casual reading of whatever shabbos emails are lying around the shull when bimei madlikin comes up – its kind of like vayetain licha- I skip it too, because usually I am still doing my yihe-noam. How can one bust out the whole bimei madlikin before maariv- it takes an expert if you ask me. Or maybe they are just pretending to be cool.