This will be the sixth consecutive year that I lead Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. I would like to revisit lessons I have learned in retaining attendees’ interest in the service and even in keeping hundreds of them in synagogue all day on Yom Kippur.
You walk into an elegant, minimalist little building on the corner of Pico and Doheny in the heart of the hood. It's Shabbat, and you've come to pray.
Talmud teaches that a righteous act is its own reward. But if that's not inducement enough, a rabbi in Woodland Hills is offering $10 cash plus a Krispy Kreme doughnut to teens who attend his 7 a.m. minyan.
Lori Justice-Shocket thought that the traditional praying experience was just a bit too black and white. Not the prayers, themselves, per se, but the siddurim (prayer books), with their plain black typeface on white pages and the archaic traditional language, made davening, for her at least, formal, stiff and lacking in the visual and emotional engagement that she thought prayer should have.
So Justice-Shocket, vice president of conceptual development at the Los Angeles-based nail polish company, OPI, decided to take matters into her own presumably well-manicured hands and create a prayer book that could visually and intellectually inspire worshippers.
For the uninitiated, the happy minyan is a fairly recent American phenomenon, in which the melodies of Reb Shlomo Carlbach of blessed memory are infused into the davening.
Well, it used to be true that the melodies were infused into the davening. Now the davening is virtually one long Reb Shlomo-fest.