Wednesday, May 24, 2006

And I Proudly Stand Up...

All too often do we hear about horrific things happening to Jews/Jewish places in Europe. Whether the defacing of headstones at a Jewish cemetery, or stabbings of Jews in Russia, one cannot help but think of pre-war Europe. The violence hits home a bit more knowing that it is affecting fellow Jews, but lets be honest - these events fade in our memory to a degree with time. Living here in America, where we do not face the blatant religious persecution, we become complacent with our situation.

Whether we realize it or not, we have it pretty good here in America. We are thriving. Jews are at the top of their fields, whether it be in medicine, academia, entertainment, or politics. Sure, certain newspapers and publications are more or less pro-Israel than others, but on a personal level we do not feel outright, constant, blatant persecution that is present at times in other parts of the world.

There is a blessing that is said in some shuls, basically blessing the president, vice-president and the entire government. Some shuls say it, some shuls don't. Yes, the government does things that I don't agree with. With the president's approval rating at an all-time low, people are clearly unhappy with decisions being made. Some hate the president so much that they would even coin him, "evil". Regardless of our views on the president, his staff, or the entire government, we are privileged to live here.

This prayer is often grouped together with the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel and the prayer for the IDF. Some shuls say these, some shuls don't. Regardless of a shul's stance on Israel and whether they say the Israel prayers, I believe every shul should say the prayer for the American government- and among those that say it, this prayer shouldn't just be the time to catch up with your buddies. The Aruch haShulchan in his introduction to Chosen Mishpat essentially says that regardless of the political views of the president and his government, the economical decisions that can hit the wallet hard (my addition)- we have to give thanks to the fact that we live in a place without religious persecution. We bless them that they should be healthy and prosperous, for if not, who knows what type of regime will come into power and what the situation will be for the Jews.

It's ridiculous to think that you are more frum for davening at shul that doesn't say this bracha. On the other hand, you aren't less frum or less zionistic for davening at a shul that does. The Aruch haShulchan was a pretty frum dude, and apparently he felt it was a good idea.


Blogger Jewboy said...

A suggestion-If it's clear that a shul's minhag is to stand for the prayers for the American government, the State of Israel, and the IDF, people should stand regardless of their personal feelings on the matter. It bothers me when people remain seated during these prayers despite the fact that it is clearly the shul's custom to stand.

9:39 PM, May 24, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Agreed. Over Pesach, the place was about 50% out-of-towners and none of them stood. What was worse was that the 50% who were regulars didn't step up and establish the shul minhag - rather, they followed the out-of-towners lead and nobody stood...a bit ridiculous.

9:51 PM, May 24, 2006

Anonymous Greg said...

What is even more ridiculous: the OU coined a tefilah for the US soliders in Afghanistan and Iraq. Shomrei began saying this in addition to the usual 3 tefilohs. When GWB went on that aircraft carrier, and said things were over, some chenyuks told everyone in the shul to stop saying the prayer for US soliders (the OU did not issue a retraction, I called them to ask).

So even though more US soliders have died or been injured in the past 3 years than Israelis, including some US Jewish (even orthodox, not that it matters) soliders, we still dont say that tefillah because so many people think it's pas nisht. Absolutely retarded.

And please don't get me started on the smug self-righteousness displayed weekly at the 8:15 minyan. I could tell you stories that would make your jaw drop. It's even worse than what you see on a weekly basis. Did you know that someone defaced the Gabbai book? Someone defaced, vandalized shul property. It's really unbelievable.

I need a drink.

11:47 AM, May 25, 2006

Blogger Jewboy said...

Greg-I need details on this. What did they deface, the prayer for Israel? Did they scratch out "Reshis Tzmichus Geulaseinu" or soemthing?

12:34 PM, May 25, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Greg - I'd be willing to listen to any stories you'd be willing to tell. Perhaps I'll get you drunk and you'll spill the beans.

That's retarded. Please never tell me who did that (if you even know), because I would be forced to deface his face and windsheild.

I'm home from work early today - let's drink.

1:07 PM, May 25, 2006

Blogger Jewboy said...

Topics I would love to hear Rabbi Gottleib address:
1. Talking and cell phones in shul.
2. Not standing for the prayer for Israel.
3. Starting off at the 9:00 minyan, then leaving after krias HaTorah to skip the rabbi's speech and daven mussaf at the 8:15. It's even worse if you just hock around with eveyone upon arrival at the 8:15 building. I don't care if you're a prominent, wealthy community activist, it sets a wtong example. If people just want a quick davening, go to hashkama.

1:14 PM, May 25, 2006

Anonymous peninah said...

Well, Greg has what to drink, thanks to you-Alan.

He really liked the present by the way.

1:53 PM, May 25, 2006

Blogger Almost Yeshivish said...

I saw someone on their blackberry today for about half of shacharis. No siddur, no davening, just sitting there with tallis and tefillin on, texting/emailing/surfing away. Worse yet, he was leaning on the bima. What a boosha.

11:31 PM, May 25, 2006

Anonymous nircgrad said...

Almost Yeshivish,

Some people have davening on their palm pilots. Maybe that is what he was doing.

10:17 AM, May 26, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Davening from your palm pilots may be convenient when at work, etc., but while at shul, it makes you look snobby and frankly, retarded.

10:22 AM, May 26, 2006

Anonymous nircgrad said...

That might be true, but its still better than texting, and sending emails during davening.

12:14 PM, May 26, 2006


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