I can see the fear in people’s eyes, when I mention that I counted 10 black hats this past Friday night in shul. As if these people didn’t realize that they belonged to a community known for it’s fervent baalei teshuva population and strong emphasis on welcoming guests. Still, I note the fear, in fact I encourage it with my conspiracy theories. I wonder aloud when they will stop opening the curtain to the women’s section when the rabbi speaks. I wonder when ladies will be asked to stop coming to shaloshudos, and I wonder when I myself will be forced to wear a white shirt and a jacket to shul. Of course, I egg them on, they start to get that look of “what are we going to do” it’s not like they can just go to another shul across the street. If it gets too frum, they either have to get with the program or get out of dodge.
I myself feel threatened, until now, the entire white ashkenzaic, frum from birth population in the shul that never went off the derech, and came back was abysmally low. I could look around and it was safe to say that no one in the shul had any idea what on earth the Rabbi was talking about when he said “Frekta Rav Chaim”. Unfortunately for my FFB master race self, the tides are a changing. We’ve had an influx of 5 (the 6th will be coming this month) families in the last month and amongst those families there are two real live yeshivish families amongst them. One of the families is garden variety east coast New Jersey/Upper West Side MO the first specimen to set foot in San Jose and the two other families are fully indoctrinated BT’s with black velvet yarmulkes and sheitles. Basically, it’s downright scary at how many frummies have just entered out community and nothing good can come out of it.
Well, maybe some good, it gives me more people to make fun of, and it gives me more people to have my wife practice her fledgling yeshivish speak on. It also made for one quick swooping demographic change. Not only have the FFB’s gained a foothold in the community, but all of the families besides the MO one are in the young 30’s. Until now, whenever someone asked if there were “young couples” in my shul, I would tell them that all of our friends were in their 50’s. It seems that the old guard is losing its stronghold and soon they may all have to become candy-men and join each other in the coat room for celebratory shots as the young hot shots take over.
Even the quasi-frum old timers who rarely come to shul are scared, actually, the folks who never really come to shul – seem to be the most scared of them all. The underground club of ladies who proudly don’t own a sheitle are probably scheming about reentering the shul scene just to tilt the scale back into their favor, lest they lose the curtain battle. In fact, I’ve noticed that some of the more liberal old timers have begun to open the curtain more violently than before, as if to say they’re not going to let a bunch of black hats invade their community and try to take over control of their minhagim.
In general Black Hatted dudes make the shul “seem” more crowded, the hats are bigger and when doing my weekly count of how many people are at shul, I notice myself sometimes counting them twice by accident. The black hat families also bring something of utmost importance to the community, heimishe food. Until now, most people have served lox instead of gefilte fish and roasted broccoli instead of frozen broccoli kugel, I’m hoping that this will change a little bit. I’m also hoping that the new frummies will teach some of the community how to end shabbos lunch meals before 3pm, because in regular frum communities there is a minhag yisroel of the shabbos shluff. I should report that I had the pleasure of eating at one of the aliens houses and they served homemade (read non-trader Joes) ice cream.
The only thing I have noticed with the change is that the regular musaf guy has been knocked off his throne and the new musaf guy is so yeshivish that it’s only possible to sing ein kelokeinu if someone in the audience forces it on.
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