Saturday, October 18, 2008

SHUL POLITICS: THE MINYAN/THE CHAZZAN/THE GABBAI

The minyan is an essential part of any shul. Its what makes up what kind of shul it is. If one person would be missing from the minyan, it just wouldn't feel like your in the same shul. These are the guys who don't go to the kiddush club. They may be board members depending on what type of shul you go to. You'll see the people of the minyan be the chazzan for mincha and maariv. They talk in middle of shul but also daven, unlike the guys from the kiddush club (who only talk). If one or two things in the shul go "wrong" they wont blame the rabbi as the kiddush club guys do. They also wield the power that none others have. being the majority of the people in the shul the minyan can put pressure on others and get their way. You wont see much of the minyans power since its kind of hard getting them to agree on one subject.

Many a times the minyan is only a certain sect of judaism (e.g. Satmer, Syrian, Litvish). Other times the minyan is very diverse covering all walks of judaism (e.g. Child Ish's Shul). Some Minyans start off as a band of all walks and then split into two different Minyans (one in a basement). then comes the Minyan that's not in a shul at all. Its called The-Motzei-Shabbos-In-A-Random-Guys-House-Minyan. Don't know how that started, very common.

The Chazzan. The first type of Chazzan is the one for only Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur and maybe Maariv for sukkos and Pesach. These Chazzans get paid good money for stressing their vocal chords and making shul take longer while singing obscure tunes and stretching out words to make them sound like a yawn. I have heard people say that a good chazzan attracts people to the shul. I on the other hand think its a turn off. I have heard these types of chazzans getting the boot for very random reasons. The other type of Chazzan is a guy from the minyan above. Its a better job, no firing. He wont sing anything and your time spent in shul wont be long. Ooooh wait, he does sing l'cha Dodi but even then there is no stretching of the words.

The Gabbai. He is the guy who picks who gets what aliyah and hands out those plastic cards. He does just about everything, from reading who sponsored what this shabbos to who gets P'sicha. In some shuls their are more than one gabbai. Some shuls the gabbai is supposed to keep people quiet. Then there are those self appointed gabbai's who nobody likes. They just like to run the show. Throughout all my years I have never seen a Gabbai blamed for anything. Obviously he has a good job but tough too.

This concludes this chapter of shul politics any other ideas?

5 people gave their 2 cents:

The Babysitter said...

I love the singing. My shul kept singing my favorite song, by Boruch Levine: Vezkeinu ligadel bonim, which is funny for it to be sung by men in shul considering it's from a woman's prayer, from the yehi ratzon of lighting candles.

sam the organizing man said...

how it started was one guy didn't want to sit around for 15 minutes davening maariv so desided to have a minyan in his house or atleast thats how it happened in my shul

and i really like the gabbai in my shulhe gives me p'sicha almost every week

Mikeinmidwood said...

Babysitter

Wouldnt say its a womans prayer men would also have to say it if a woman didnt but theoretically you are right.

Sam

I am guessing you go to a small shul.

Jacob Da Jew said...

Interesting. I thought about it and I concluded that I'm only happy going to a Shul when I'm really a part of it, i guess part of the Minyan.

"They talk in middle of shul but also daven"

Thats me.

In my shul, I sit next to the Gabbai and another board member so I get to hear da good shizzle.

Mikeinmidwood said...

Its always fun to hear what doesnt make it to the headlines but this one place I know everything is the headlines.