Thursday, February 23, 2006

One Hundred And One

I spent two years in Israel (last year and the year before).

And not once did I go to Mei’a She‘arim.

Some of my friends were incredulous.

They said, at the end of my second year, "What?? You've never been to Meah Shearim?? How is that possible?? You've got to go there at least once!"

What they didn't understand is, I'm from BOROUGH PARK.

If I want to see Hhasidim, I can just go back to B.P.

If I at all considered Hhasidim strange, exotic and intriguing.

Which I don't.

Today, however, I am heading to (and through) Mei’a She‘arim for the first time ever, in order to pick up some scribal supplies for Mar Gavriel. And am now sitting in Kikar Safra making use of their "Unwire Jerusalem" — I guess no one bothered to tell them the word is 'wireless'. Or maybe even 'unwired', if you want to be avant garde about it. I just came from davening kevasikin (a.k.a. wathiqin, etc.) at the Kotel. Yes, I am somewhat Leibovitzian, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the place for its religiohistorical significance. So there. Anyway, my battery is running out, seeyall!


Blogger Lipman said...

You should find what MG wants on Kikkar Safra of all squares.

BTW, I just learned the origin of überfrum Shabbes hashkome minyonem, an American pre-WWII phenomenon - people were simply going to work after shachres. (Probably this is true also for weekday minyonem, which makes it absurd in a different way, because many of those who insist on an early minyen don't work as a matter of principle.)

2/23/2006 3:52 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

heh ROTFL that took me a while... ספרא heh

2/23/2006 6:51 AM  
Anonymous brother korach said...

hey steg!
i followed those "underwire jerusalem" or whatever links, and reading through the pages mae me realize something.

"kafeh-bar" is a kind of establishment, a "coffee bar"/"coffeehouse", yeah?

though wouldn't it really in Hebrew mean "WILD coffee"? (like perachei-bar, chayot-bar, etc?)

2/23/2006 10:25 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...


By "hashkome", do you mean Vosikin? You should know that most minyonim on Shabboth in America are insanely late, often missing זמן קריאת שמע or even זמן תפילה. Therefore, the 7:30 and 8:30 minyonim, which are a necessity for people who want to catch the zemon, get labeled "hashkome".

2/23/2006 11:52 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

bro ko:


also watch out for the dangerous (but tasty) burger bar and shnitzel bar!

2/23/2006 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi steg
missed you here in america. i will be back in israel on wednesday. have a good breakfast with trep. tell him i am not a bad boy (he can be touchy)
kobi (visiting galut)

2/23/2006 3:24 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


aw no fair, i was hoping to see you at your shul shabbos morning!

but don't worry, i'll tell trep :)

2/23/2006 4:38 PM  
Anonymous ליטוואק said...

"origin of überfrum Shabbes hashkome minyonem, an American pre-WWII phenomenon - people were simply going to work after shachres."

Source(s) please ?

Re hashkomo minyonim - maybe some attendees did that, but not all. Be careful of painting with too broad a brush. There were and are people who favor such minyonim for okay reasons, such as old people who don't sleep well, other insomniacs, people who didn't like the lengthier services with chazonim (sometimes choirs too), speech of Rabbi, etc. upstairs, in the big Shul (hashkomo minyonim tend to be in the beis mederesh and/or downstairs from the main sanctuary), people who wanted to learn Torah, etc. Also, to classify them as "überfrum" is not totally accurate. Various types populate such services, modern orthodox too. You can find them in predominantly modern orthodox communities as well.

Be careful re spreading what might be called an urban frum myth (reminds me of another perhaps somewhat similar urban frum myth that Jewish immigrants to America threw their tefillin and sheitlech overboard in NY harbor which I still am awaiting substantiation for, but which is nonetheless popular with some who like to portray America as having had no Yiddishkeit until their sect arrived many years later) meant to ridicule such early-daveners.

Are you saying that there never were any hashkomo minyonim anywhere before pre-WWII America ? What about the early minyonim popular in Eretz Yisroel today ?

2/26/2006 12:58 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Litvak, thanks for the admonishment.

I didn't imply the majority of hashkome minyen goers, let alone of today's, had this motivation, but that hashkome minyonem spread for this reason. Also, I didn't claim there was hypocrisy about being frum - those überfrum would be of today, but the pushers to start a local hashkome minyen of yore.

Also, the other possible reasons you give, some of which are valid for other breakaway minyonim as well, are real, as I know better than I'd like to. I never said the idea of early minyonem was invented by mechal(l)elei shabbes.

All in all, I still think it is credible that the reason I named strongly furthered hashkome minyonem, while in today's (sub-)society, early Shabbes minyen is often associated with frumkait.

If this turns out to be an untrue urban legend, gam zu letôve and I'll add it to my not-yet-existing book about urban legends and misconceptions about Judaism. For the time being, I'll be more careful with telling this maase.

2/27/2006 5:33 AM  
Anonymous ליטוואק said...

Lipman - yasher kayach. I am happy that at least my critique had some effect.

Out of curiosity, have you never come across or heard of any such 'hashkomo' minyonim in the Yekke lands I believe you inhabit ? Maybe I should ask Rav Hamburger about that. How about other parts of Europe ?

A gutten chaydesh.

2/28/2006 4:06 AM  

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