I am a Yid. I like to rock. Veitur!

- [ Friday, March 12, 2004 ] -
Ouch! BangItOut strikes a little too close to home.
BangItOut, a Jewish humor website centered on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, hits a little too close to home this week.
Top Ten Signs You are a Closet Alcoholic on Shabbos

10. To enhance mitzvah of Kiddush, you replace your shot glass with a Super Big Gulp glass.
9. Suddenly found yourself in the yeshivish clique after three weeks of consistently slurring your English words.
8. Two words: Flask Yomi
7. At the annual "Get rid of your Chametz" party, you bring a keg .
6. You told the rabbi his speech was "bitchin'."
5. You've gotten all ready for shul when suddenly realized, it's Wednesday.
4. When you wish people good shabbos, they tell you they don't have any change on them.
3. You found yourself in line for shul candy man hoping to score some breath mints.
2. You have no clue what a haftorah is.
1. It is the real reason you don't drive to synagogue.
A little background: I happen to be a member of at least one kiddush club at my shul. I used to be a member of three, before the shul board "got their panties in a bunch." They banned kiddush clubs, outright. There were town hall meetings, closed door meetings, etc. I'm not going to go into the whole story, but this was the shuls final edict:
On March 10, 2003, the Board passed the following Resolution:

It is the strong sense and belief of [shul name] and [shul rabbi's name] that the meeting of any Kiddush Club (an unofficial gathering on shul premises at which alcohol is served or consumed during services) is not good or desirable, that the meeting of any such Kiddush Club disrupts shul services, that the meeting of any Kiddush is inappropriate in that it occurs during services, and that the meeting of any such Kiddush Club is strongly discouraged. [shul name] and [shul rabbi's name] ask that people refrain from participating in any such Kiddush Club."
So I took that to mean that kiddush clubs are in fact, legal. I would like to note that they used the strongest language possible, without actually banning them. What's mildly interesting is that in all the meetings, the Rabbi was actually not against kiddush clubs. He was really railroaded into putting his name on this. But that's what the people want. The Board has spoken.

Anyway, I would like to sum up my feelings about both the shul's attitude, the Top Ten list, and my conscience.

I have never been a shul person. I like to sleep late. I daven fast and get distracted easily while waiting for the chazan. I like to talk to my neighbors. A lot of services leave me uninspired. It has to do with me, the chazan, the congregation and the Rabbi. I've been inspired by services many times before--a couple times, at my current shul. That is my own thing, and I'm trying to figure out what to do to make shul more meaningful to me.

The one thing I have been able to give back, is ruach (spirit) at Kiddush (ceremonial snack and drink buffet after services). Within the last few years, I have always tried to imbue whatever table I ate at on Shabbos with z'mirot (songs). There was one time, a couple months ago, that my wife and I had no plans for lunch, because we knew there would be the right kind of food there to make it our official meal. There were enough of my friends there that had the proper spirit, so we sang. Now we've stretched that ruach so we can sing at kiddush, every week. My point is, if (when) I drink on Shabbos, I like to keep it in the spirit of Shabbos. I know that my z'mirot are appreciated at the shul kiddush, even though my kiddush club activities might not be.

A lot of people (especially squares) like to talk about the bad things about alcohol. It's very dangerous, and many people have difficulty controlling themselves. That is all true. It obviously needs to be controlled. It is also fun. And whether people want to admit it, or not, alcohol also lends itself to singing and dancing. And a lot of times, that's good.

Update: MO Chassid, valid opinion holder

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