Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yom Ha'atzmuat davening

This past Thursday was Yom Ha'atmaut (Israel Independence Day).  The founding of the state revolutionized the Jewish world, injecting a nationalist element that was lacking for two millennium. The services, usually so fixed and predictable, attempted, with some strain, to account for the new reality.  Even the Rabbi was caught off guard.

At the evening service, the prayer leader began singing Hatikvah (the Israel National Anthem) toward the end of davening, then was instructed that it should come at the very end of the service.  Morning services began at the unusual time of 6:30. Usually they begin either at 6:55 or 6:45, depending on whether it's a Torah reading day or, on Rosh Chodesh (the new month), at 6:35.  The service then took the form of a Yom Tov/Shabbat davening with the addition of Mizmor L'todah and the omission of Nishmat (as on Hoshana Rabba).  Then there was Hallel with the Cantor leading.  There was singing, an unheard of occurrence at morning minyan.  (If I were to break into song at any point on a regular day, people would think I'd lost my mind.)  The Rabbi then announced we'd move to the special Haftarah (prophetic reading) for Yom Ha'atzmaut, forgetting there was a Torah reading, as it was a Thursday.  (I believe this is the only time of the year (excepting holidays, fast days and Shabbat) when there is a Haftarah during the morning services.)  At the Mincha service, there was a question whether an avel (mourner) should daven (he did, a decision I didn't agree with, since it is a day of joy and mourners don't lead prayers on holidays).

I enjoyed that everything seemed to be mixed up and uncertain. Israel shook up the Jewish world which is still trying to figure out how to integrate the existence of a Jewish state into its consciousness and ritual.

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