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February 6, 2012 / conservadox

religious downside of life in NYC

On the positive side I get to go to cool classes with interesting rabbis.

But in my home neighborhood I’m not much happier than in Small City.  I have been sucked into a shul that is so small that they constantly need me for a minyan on Friday night (when I normally like to cocoon at home) and Saturday night as well (which I don’t mind so much) and sometimes even Saturday morning (which I mind more, since I am still shopping for a shul I really like, or at least like more than other shuls in the area).   And I’m even on the board because I couldn’t think of an excuse to say no (and frankly being on boards might help me get tenure!) Hopefully as the weather gets better they won’t need me on Saturday mornings at least.

Its not a terrible place- just nothing I really like about it and the rabbi (a part-timer) is too yeshivish for me; I’d had enough of that in Small City.  This guy is better at avoiding really controversial nonsense (for example, politics) than my old SC Orthodox rabbi. 

But he speaks too much yeshivish for me (e.g. a Hebrew or Yiddish word every sentence or two), talks too much to the frummest part of the room, and generally is not on my ideological wavelength.  On shabbos he analogized to giving kids a “potch.”  Although I understood what he was talking about, I think the man should speak English!  If he wants to say he’s for hitting kids he should say so in a language that would not confuse a newcomer.  Second, I don’t think as a matter of principle he should assume that everyone thinks corporal punishment is OK. (I am not sure that I personally am against it- but I would hope it is not as routine as it seems to be for this guy!)

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