8/25/2008

Shul Rags

One of the most ubiquitous features of Israeli synagogue life is the plethora of pamphlets which grace tables and chairs throughout the length and breadth of the (I Never) Promised (You a Rose Garden) Land. There are, by now, dozens, if not hundreds, of these weekly publications. Some are local in scope, and others are national. They represent every religious stripe and ideology that you can imagine. They appear in Hebrew, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish (that I know of). As a renowned rabbi affiliated with the moderate/urbane end of the Mercaz HaRav world recently noted, these pamphlets constitute the bulk of the average religious Israeli’s weekly Torah study.

Given that they’re written horribly (I previously wrote about an egregious and consistent typo in a particular feminist pamphlet), I generally read these things for their entertainment value (preferring to get my Torah from the blogosphere J). Below, I’ll provide two examples of amusement provided by one of this past week’s rags.

Incidentally, I just returned from an extended stay in the U.S., so I had been away from these masterpieces for some time. In Chayyei Sarah’s addendum to my “Bounty of Spain” meme, I would definitely have to put the parsha pages on my list, along with pita, chocolate spread, religious art and articles, and nursery schools. But I digress, as people with ADD are wont to do.

The first bit of entertainment provided by the shmatteh I read in shul was an ad for a service whereby 10 widows would pray for you at the graves of Jewish saints. As we all know, the prayers of widows ride the HOV-lane to God (unless, of course, that prayer happens to be Kaddish). This rubs me the same way that these Kupat Ha’ir gimmicks do. It’s amusing to see how modern technologies can be used to reinforce folk religion.

This post is long enough. The second amusing element deserves a post of its own.

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