Thursday, January 27, 2005

WHY DON’T WE GET DRUNK…AND LEYN*

Ah, the kiddush club, that sacred fraternity. You may have witnessed it, unaware that it had a name. In the middle of the Shabbat morning service (typically between the Torah and the rabbi’s sermon/the Haftarah reading) a group of men between the ages of 25 and 40 vanish from the sanctuary and retreat to the social hall/basement to belly up to the bar. As they hover over a cluster of bottles, they utter magic words like “Glenfiddich” and “Glenlivet” and “L’Chayim” and soon everything becomes a shiny, happy Shabbos haze. And then it’s back to shul for an unsteady Amidah (silent standing prayer).

Maybe that’s what all the shuckling** is about—loss of equilibrium.

But now, the reigning body of contemporary Orthodox Judaism wants to ban the boozin':

The problem with the clubs is twofold, O.U. [Orthodox Union] leaders said in a meeting with the Forward. They desecrate Saturday morning prayers and set a bad example for the community's youth. "Kiddush is a way to sanctify the day," said Rabbi Moshe Krupka, the O.U.'s executive director of programming. "You're not sanctifying the Sabbath by walking into the cloak room with a hip flask of single-malt Scotch." The decision to eliminate the Kiddush Clubs was an outgrowth of a meeting of rabbis and educators convened by the O.U. on December 21 to discuss questions of substance abuse, gambling, smoking and promiscuity among Orthodox teens. Two days later, in a conference call of O.U. board members, the move was approved by a 9-1 margin.

Miriam’s for the new shultime Prohibition, and notes that in her experience kiddush club has been for an older generation. Personally, the synagogues I’ve attended (admittedly, mostly Conservative synagogues on the Upper West Side) don’t seem to have an active kiddush club culture. (In Riverdale, it’s another story.)

I've always thought that having a male-only kiddush club was a waste of schnapps. Maybe some enterprising synagogue could reinvent kiddush club as a singles scene mid-service--daven, drink, daven. A Jew's Booze-n-Schmooze. Why not? It works for Purim.

You know those friends you had in college who swore that their test-taking skills improved when they were high? (Oh come on. I wasn't the only one with those friends, was I?) Maybe the same is true for improving your spirituality while praying. Most synagogues I know could use the boost, even if the high is chemical.

One last note: I am definitely for the reinstitution of the term "cloak room."


* Yiddish term for “reading Torah.”
**Yiddish term for the rocking motion made by fervent Jews during prayer.

5 Comments:

At 1:26 PM, January 27, 2005, Blogger Ken Wheaton said...

I don't know about getting high and taking tests, but my friends and I all swore up and down that we drove better while drunk--because it forced us to concentrate. Maybe that's what these guys are doing.

 
At 1:29 PM, January 27, 2005, Blogger PetiteDov said...

Damn Puritans! I hate when people use setting a "bad example" for the kids as an execuse, getting a little tipsy is hardly commiting a crime. Anywya, i like your idea about the socializing. I always thought that alcohol would make the services more enjoyable and enhance the spirituality, hey Indians used peote the Jes have Schnopps. (I wonder if there is anything in the Tanach about praying under the influence?)

 
At 1:05 AM, January 28, 2005, Blogger Judi Singleton said...

I like your blog very much it has an easy style of writing to read. I did enjoy reading the subject too though I am not Jewish so don't really have an opinion about the article, it was clear, fun to read, and informative. I see why you have been voted for awards. I have started a new group at Ryze it is called Just Living and I would be so honored if you joined. You can join here. http://jl-network.ryze.com/ Post an introduction so we all get to know you and post often.
I know you will add so much to the group. Warmly, Judi
http://anangelonmyshoulder.blogspot.com

 
At 3:08 AM, January 28, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you'd be more favorably disposed to Kiddish Clubs if they served NyQuil?

 
At 11:57 AM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To quote my good friend and Torah scholar Andy Rooney, "Have you ever wondered why, every time Jews drink any alcoholic beverage other than wine or beer, it's always called schnapps, whether it is Scotch, Bourbon, Vodka, Gin, or, heaven forbid, even schnapps?" Especially when it comes to Kiddush Clubs and funerals, all booze becomes schnapps.

 

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My Urban Kvetch: WHY DON’T WE GET DRUNK…AND LEYN*

Thursday, January 27, 2005

WHY DON’T WE GET DRUNK…AND LEYN*

Ah, the kiddush club, that sacred fraternity. You may have witnessed it, unaware that it had a name. In the middle of the Shabbat morning service (typically between the Torah and the rabbi’s sermon/the Haftarah reading) a group of men between the ages of 25 and 40 vanish from the sanctuary and retreat to the social hall/basement to belly up to the bar. As they hover over a cluster of bottles, they utter magic words like “Glenfiddich” and “Glenlivet” and “L’Chayim” and soon everything becomes a shiny, happy Shabbos haze. And then it’s back to shul for an unsteady Amidah (silent standing prayer).

Maybe that’s what all the shuckling** is about—loss of equilibrium.

But now, the reigning body of contemporary Orthodox Judaism wants to ban the boozin':

The problem with the clubs is twofold, O.U. [Orthodox Union] leaders said in a meeting with the Forward. They desecrate Saturday morning prayers and set a bad example for the community's youth. "Kiddush is a way to sanctify the day," said Rabbi Moshe Krupka, the O.U.'s executive director of programming. "You're not sanctifying the Sabbath by walking into the cloak room with a hip flask of single-malt Scotch." The decision to eliminate the Kiddush Clubs was an outgrowth of a meeting of rabbis and educators convened by the O.U. on December 21 to discuss questions of substance abuse, gambling, smoking and promiscuity among Orthodox teens. Two days later, in a conference call of O.U. board members, the move was approved by a 9-1 margin.

Miriam’s for the new shultime Prohibition, and notes that in her experience kiddush club has been for an older generation. Personally, the synagogues I’ve attended (admittedly, mostly Conservative synagogues on the Upper West Side) don’t seem to have an active kiddush club culture. (In Riverdale, it’s another story.)

I've always thought that having a male-only kiddush club was a waste of schnapps. Maybe some enterprising synagogue could reinvent kiddush club as a singles scene mid-service--daven, drink, daven. A Jew's Booze-n-Schmooze. Why not? It works for Purim.

You know those friends you had in college who swore that their test-taking skills improved when they were high? (Oh come on. I wasn't the only one with those friends, was I?) Maybe the same is true for improving your spirituality while praying. Most synagogues I know could use the boost, even if the high is chemical.

One last note: I am definitely for the reinstitution of the term "cloak room."


* Yiddish term for “reading Torah.”
**Yiddish term for the rocking motion made by fervent Jews during prayer.

5 Comments:

At 1:26 PM, January 27, 2005, Blogger Ken Wheaton said...

I don't know about getting high and taking tests, but my friends and I all swore up and down that we drove better while drunk--because it forced us to concentrate. Maybe that's what these guys are doing.

 
At 1:29 PM, January 27, 2005, Blogger PetiteDov said...

Damn Puritans! I hate when people use setting a "bad example" for the kids as an execuse, getting a little tipsy is hardly commiting a crime. Anywya, i like your idea about the socializing. I always thought that alcohol would make the services more enjoyable and enhance the spirituality, hey Indians used peote the Jes have Schnopps. (I wonder if there is anything in the Tanach about praying under the influence?)

 
At 1:05 AM, January 28, 2005, Blogger Judi Singleton said...

I like your blog very much it has an easy style of writing to read. I did enjoy reading the subject too though I am not Jewish so don't really have an opinion about the article, it was clear, fun to read, and informative. I see why you have been voted for awards. I have started a new group at Ryze it is called Just Living and I would be so honored if you joined. You can join here. http://jl-network.ryze.com/ Post an introduction so we all get to know you and post often.
I know you will add so much to the group. Warmly, Judi
http://anangelonmyshoulder.blogspot.com

 
At 3:08 AM, January 28, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you'd be more favorably disposed to Kiddish Clubs if they served NyQuil?

 
At 11:57 AM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To quote my good friend and Torah scholar Andy Rooney, "Have you ever wondered why, every time Jews drink any alcoholic beverage other than wine or beer, it's always called schnapps, whether it is Scotch, Bourbon, Vodka, Gin, or, heaven forbid, even schnapps?" Especially when it comes to Kiddush Clubs and funerals, all booze becomes schnapps.

 

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