Josh (desh) wrote,

Yeshivat Hadar Week 5 Day 3

So leading services is a kind of daunting thing to do. It's essentially a performance. You stand up there, in front of or in the midst of everyone, and sing, chant, and perform the choreography of the service you're leading. Everyone else is following and paying attention to you. The only mitigating factor is that the point isn't to perform. It's to lead the community, who are all also focused on their own prayers, and really ideally not as much on the exact nuances of what you're doing.

Well, in the prayer leading master class today, I didn't have that one mitigating factor. Quite the opposite: I led part of the section of services I've been working on, with the sole goal of everyone critiquing my "performance". It was quite the experience, especially for someone like me, who has no performing arts experience or interest of any kind, with the sole exception of prayer leading. Apparently I did quite well, but I have room to improve in certain nuanced areas I'd never thought of before, and my body language in particular is fidgety and not so strong. I got a lot of helpful feedback, and have a lot more work left to do to perfect this one service.

I love this class so much. I want it to never ever end. I think this is the closest I can ever come to learning and enjoying and appreciating art. I'm so sad that next week is already the last session of the class I can attend.

(And by the way, I led services this past Friday night at a shabbaton (retreat over Shabbat, of which we have 3 in the 8 weekends of the summer), and I'm leading in Philly this Saturday morning. Both of those are services I'm much more familiar and comfortable with than the one I'm working on in class. Last weekend went quite well, and I hope this Saturday does as well. Let me know if you're in town!)

Also, unrelatedly, I re-learned today that the rabbis of the mishna apparently refer to pubic hair as "a beard, but the lower one, not the upper one". You're so glad you know that now, right? You're welcome.

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