It’s been an interesting weekend. In Hyde Park (the area of Chicago in which we live) there are 2 synagogues (one reformed and one conservative), a Hillel, and a Chabbad.
Hillel is not going to have high holiday services because classes here dont start till sept 27th (they are on the quarter system). and even if Chabbad did offer something, we cant go there because the men and women have to sit separately and my dear husband would hate that. so…
We attended services at the conservative synagogue a few weeks ago. Sadly, I wasnt a hug fan. I really didn’t like the Rabbi or the tunes she chose to use or comments on the Torah. So this past friday we checked out the reformed temple. Now let me start by saying this is the oldest temple in chicago, and that it is the most beautifu sanctuary I have every seen in my life. Stunning. really. but the service? well it was alright. too much english for me really, which I guess I could have expected. I did like the Rabbi as a person, but was frustrated by her “commentary,” if you could even call it that. She went over pros and cons about building the mosque in new york. but provided absolutely no though on a jewish perspective or the torah or any other kind of jewish text. rather she basically said she could see both sides so here let me share my feelings. which first of all is absurd to me, because i just dont understand the animosity. If they want to build a mosque, let them. ugh.
so anyways, after services friday we stayed for the oneg and visited with the director and his wife (and I have fallen in love with his wife, Ana). and they hinted that there is not much of a community in our age group (they themselves are in our age group, ~30ish) and suggested we try a synagogue up north, in lake view (another area of chigago – 25 minutes away).
So saturday morning we did just that. Now the first 2 hours of service there were perfect. Same tunes, even same book, as that I had found in albuquerque. There was a bat mitzvah leading torah service, and a lady lead the morning service. but then, the cantor took the pulpit after the torah service (for the maftir service). and this guy, looks like an italian opera singer, and he knows he has a good voice (apparently he is world renowned- as we were told at the luncheon following). and he likes to hear himself sing. He was ExTREMELY slow with everything and seriously it sounded like an opera house. I found it obnoxious. and NOT spiritual, just annoying and painfully slow. and THEN the rabbi would call up the bat mitzvah girl, or her family to lead prayers in the maftir service, and the cantor would start singing the prayer for them, before they even got all the way up on the pulpit. completely taking over for them. which was rude, imho. but there were a lot of people our age. we visited with many after services. and if nothing else, i believe we will go to the young adult (YAD) group that meets the first friday of every month for dinner and services.
but here is the dilemma. what are we going to do for rosh hoshanah and yom kippur?! gasp. they are just around the corner. and they require (expensive) ticket purchases. and my parents are coming to town. so we need to decide soon… im leaning towards the conservative one near by, just because it is close, and parking will be less of an issue, but I didn’t really like it. or the reformed, just cause it is sooooooooo pretty. i dont think i could sit through high holidays services at the one in lakeview because i imagine the cantor will lead them and it will be like an opera house and extremely painfully slow. hmmm… i want to go back to my RI synagogue 😦