It’s not just that our dues to the synagogue were due this week, in order to be considered members in good standing to get our tickets for High Holydays, but the fact that I got the gabbai list for the rest of 2013, and my name’s up for Gabbai Sheni for Simhat Torah.
I’ve been reading Torah since my Bar Mitzvah (obviously). When I was single and living in Texas, I used to read on a regular basis for my congregation down there, since it seemed like a good way to give back. That tendency continued when I made the move back to Maryland, first at my grandmother’s congregation, then the congregation I joined on my own, and then finally at the shul where I attend with my wife today.
About two years or so ago, I was asked if I’d like to try on playing gabbai as well, since I seem to be decent enough at reading. (The cantillation is not my strong suit. I have trouble carrying a tune in a bucket… but I’m decently consistent in terms of general level of my suckage and it’s only on the melodic side. Gabbai Sheni is the person who stands to the side of the reader and corrects them if they mispronounce something, and helps if they lose their spot.) I enjoy doing it, and I’m asked to handle that duty about once every two months. So being asked to do it for Simhat Torah is a Big Deal to me, since I’ve never been asked to handle the duties for a major holiday.
Course, there’s obviously an “Autism Side” to this, if I’m commenting on it here – Simhat Torah starts at sundown, like all Jewish observances, and this year it’s falling on a Thursday evening, and it may well be a late one.
The Monster doesn’t do well with some of the going-to-synagogue stuff these days. He’s always disliked going to the babysitting during High Holydays, and so we’ve found it a mixed blessing that most of them have fallen, of late, during the school week. Yom Kippur is going to be an exception this year… and then there’s things like Simhat Torah which doesn’t interfere at all time-wise. The problem is, though, that he’s expected in school the next morning, and has to be able to get up to catch his bus at whatever time the route’s passing our house this year.
On the other hand, this is also a holiday where there is a lot of noise and people being festive – it’s not like he has to be expected to be quiet, or exiled to the Quiet Room, so long as he’s able to behave during the actual readings.
I think we’ve probably narrowed it down to the idea that we may well have to take two cars, in case the wife has to take the kids home before the Torah readings are done. But it’s one of those planning things that doesn’t work very nicely with religious observance at times…