Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The minyan factory.

With all due respect to Frum Satire, I feel I’m entitled to make some observations about things in Flatbush. I have a lot of Hakoras Hatov to Landau’s minyan factory for being there, especially for mincha, but I don’t particularly enjoy the experience. I wonder if g-d looks down and sees a virtual turnstile of people running in and out, davening as they do, and popping back out. It just doesn’t feel “spiritual” to me, more like an obligation. There is dourness to the individuals there, a hollowness to their eyes. I think it has to do with the “factory” not being a community but an open door place of worship. As if to say, come in, get accosted by tzedakah collectors, and get out. It also has a certain odor that many bais hamedreshes have, the combined smell of lots of people’s breath, and it bothers me. Turn down the A/C and open the windows, will you? I particularly like to see the groups I put people into. There are always the 50-65 year old Flatbush guys, black hat, white shirt, and a short gray/white beard. These are the people who moved in 25 years ago, and are wondering when their houses appreciated to a million dollars. They still can’t keep up with the bills, and have sons and/or daughters who are still expecting them to foot the bill for kollel, tuition, large weddings, or a house. They are not afforded the opportunity to think about retirement, and as a result have a haggard/haunted look on their faces. Then there are the hockers in white shirts, no jacket. You can almost always find them in a group toward the exit close to the coffee machine. The blackberrys going off by “accident” are a clear giveaway. There are the handy man/mechanic type guys in their coveralls, covered with flecks of paint, and grease on their hands that have dropped everything to find a quorum. There are the Chassidim who are chuckling away. A note about the Chassidim, you usually don’t find them in groups at Landaus. Two streimle guys here, a few “up hats” there and a smattering of other denominations in various corners. For some reason, there is always one guy in a large sefardic yarmulke, but only one. There is always a weirdo (I use the term loosely) talking out loud to himself while pacing back and forth across the entire shul. The YU guys are easy to spot, they don’t come all that much. When they do come, you see them in a white shirt and hat, clean shaven, not quite preppy, and never rumpled. 2-3 times a day, a group home councilor will come in with clients, and you get to hear the inspiring but slightly ill timed “amen”. There is me (no hat and jacket, suede yarmulke, sneakers), and a few more like me. Then there are the tzedakah collectors. Some come with letters, others are just waving stacks of bills in your face and expecting you to add to the pile. There are the ladies outside, and they guys collecting for Israel, Hacnosas Kallah, or hold overs from those who lost their shirts in the stock market. There are the guys who bring their kids with pushkas so elicit pity and nachas as you slowly loose your preciously horded quarters you needed for the parking meters on Ave J. All this for a 15 minute mincha makes it a unique experience.
What kind of experience is entirely up to you.


Tr8erGirl said...

Here's a tip - Don't take up two parking spots or park in front of a certain driveway by that shul either....a crazy guy will come out and yell at you (or worse)! (I know, I've been on the phone with him when he does it!)

Lion of Zion said...


ah. but it is a conveneince of living in brooklyn. i just caught a late mincha there last night.


people who take up 2 spots like that on crowded brooklyn streets don't deserve to be yelled out. instead the "crazy" guy should wait for the driver to walk away and then he should slash his tires and key the hood.

Tr8erGirl said...

LFD - oh he;s dpne that - also written on windows with sharpies! I do feel bad for you Brooklyn people - it seems as though you spend at least a quarter of your life trying to finding a parking spot! lol I however, would never survive - simply because I cant parallel park worth crap!

Lakewood Falling Down said...

I once suggested to LOZ to have a class action lawsuit against the city to recoup gas lost in neighborhoods that are zoned so parking becomes a premium.

Anonymous said...

move out of brooklyn!
so much free open spaces in yesha where parking is never a problem.

....look whos talking, im still living here, not in brooklyn but..