Ritual Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 7:30 pm

(Agenda follows)


  1. We had a follow-up discussion of the Reader’s Kaddish which is recited after the regular Torah reading and before the Maftir Aliyah. The decision last year was that we will continue the practice of reciting the Kaddish before the Aliyah is called, as directed in the Siddur Sim Shalom, even though the minhag carried on in the main sanctuary is to call the Aliyah before the Kaddish. While this is minchag and not halachah, it appears that this is confusing for our members who find themselves called upon as a Torah gabbai in both places. It was suggested that the Chair of the Ritual Committee approach Rabbi Kligfeld to come up with a uniform practice for the shul.
  2. We discussed the assignment of a pre-Bar/Bat Mitzvah to lead the P’seukei D’Zimrah at the Library Minyan. While there is no halachic reason not to allow this, it seems that this is a very difficult part of the service for a young person to have the proper Kavanah, even if they have the skills to chant correctly. While we would like to have more of our members participate in the service by leading this, it should take proper preparation for any new person. The Hebrew is difficult and those who attend this part of the service would like it to be meaningful. The Gabbais will be appraised of this request, and the Ritual Committee will look for an opportunity to develop new daveners as a whole and for P’seukei D’Zimrah in particular.
  3. Some issues of the High Holidays were discussed, including the Israel Bond Appeal, Aliyot and other honors, and general seating issues. It was felt that the Israel Bond Appeal should be reviewed for its content, its relevance to other aspects of the Yom Kippur liturgy and themes, its political biases, and its placement within the flow of Davening, Drashot, and any other appeals. It was suggested that the Library Minyan High Holiday Coordinator open a dialogue with Rabbi Kligfeld, Steve Spiegel (our perennial speaker,) and others who organize this appeal, to review these issues.It was agreed among those at the meeting that we continue our practice of giving honors during the High Holidays to those who work on behalf of the Library Minyan all year; however, it was suggested that we announce this practice in advance so our members know it is not random. It was also agreed that we should continue the practice of keeping the room small enough so that noise at the back among empty seats in not distracting to our members. If this means we’re a bit cozy for a few moments during the services at some points, it is preferable to noise and distraction.
THE YIZKOR SERVICE The committee attendees entered into a discussion on the Yizkor Service. Issues of concern were:
  • Not to rush the service
  • People want sufficient time to reflect, especially if they have many loved ones to remember.
  • The service should take a special care to create a spiritual ambiance.
Some suggestions were made to help plan for the future:
  1. Use a Yizkor Drash on a regular basis to set the mood for the service. Have the Drash Coordinator pay particular attention to the needs of this part of the service. Set the time for the Drash to always be before Yizkor, rather than after the Torah is put away. It was felt that the general reflective nature of this service can be easier to sustain and can be more satisfactory if we go straight from the Torah Service to the melodies and spirituality of Mussaf. A brief learning or note on the particular holiday or Torah reading for that day could be done just prior to the reading itself, or prior to the haftorah, so as not to break the mood.
  2. Have the leader use some further English readings or Hebrew readings to enhance the mood and reflective attitude. This can also be done to extend the time for individual meditation, rather than to move forward quickly.
  3. Start the service with an appropriate niggun, which can be repeated more than just once so people have a chance to learn it.
  4. The leader should not just be left alone, but given an enhanced service outline to realize some of these ideas. Perhaps reviewed well in advance of the occasion when each Yizkor is recited.
  5. The group felt that the Yiddish poem discussed and read before Yizkor on Yom Kippur is a very well received concept. The model could be used throughout the year, using poems of a variety of cultures and languages that reflect the spirit of Yizkor.
  6. The leader of Yizkor should have a pleasant voice and sufficient musical ability to lead this type of service. It was felt that many of our Library Minyan members went to Yizkor with Cantor Fishman this past year because of the quality she brings to the Kahal for this service. While we need not hire another chazzan, we should be aware of the need for bringing our best, as we do for other special occasions.
These and other items that come up in the future should be discussed on a regular basis, and brought to the attention of our members, our coordinators, and our daveners to give this service the attention it deserves.


Sandra Lepson has taken the role of coordinator of the Purim Seudah for 5772. 4:00 PM “Happy Hour” Purim Day.


To include:
  • The recording of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs
  • The placement of the Drash in the service
  • Attracting new daveners for the High holidays
  • Hemlines of girls and women who come up upon the Bimah
  • Appropriate dress for guests who are given honors
  • A Tu B’Shvat Seder
The meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm Attendees: Norm Saiger, Chair, Michael Berenbaum, Norm Green, Rachel Green, Allan Kokin, Barry Rosenblatt, Kathy Rosenblatt.


  1. D’var Torah – “Bowing” during the Amidah
  2. Items of Ritual Concern
    1. Reader’s Kaddish before calling the Maftir Aliyah
    2. Minor leading P’seukei D’Zimrah
    3. High Holidays
      • Israel Bond Program
      • Aliyot and other honors
      • Seating
  3. The Yizkor Service
  4. Purim and the Purim Seudah
    • Evening of Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 Megillah
    • Thursday, March 8th, 2012 Seudah at 4:00 PM
    • Components: Megillah, Seudah (food, drinks, program), Matanot l’Evyonim
  5. Future Topics
  6. Good and Welfare
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