So this weekend we overslept and had to go to a late late minyan. Of which there aren't too many close by. We went to Tzemach Tzedek, the Lubavitch minyan about a 20 minute walk from our house. Starts at 9:30. Ish.
THIS was an experience. First of all, the newly renovated building is lovely on the outside and probably beautiful inside when it is cleaned up. And clean.
I asked a socializing man for a non Tehilas Hashem siddur and he brought me a good old Artscroll. But of course I neglected to ask for a nusach Ashkenaz, so my davening took a little longer than usual. I stumbled over the extra words in Shemona Esrai.
Anyway, the tunes were really beautiful. Haunting and lovely as everyone in the shul joins in. They are the very old Lubavitch tunes and they tug at your soul. At least I felt tugged.
There was a Bar Mitzva and the family must have had a lot of relatives either from France or from Brooklyn who spoke a lot of French. They spoke it out loud. Loudly, to eachother, across the room. Hey, that's what's great about Lubavitch, they don't tell anyone what to do, or what not to do.
The bar mitzva boy's little siblings or relatives were dashing in and out of the ladies' section, and repeatedly stuck their their sticky hands which had minute pieces of fruit gems and lint stuck to the nails, through the mechitza. One of the cuties almost stuck to my shoulder because he must have finished the entire handful of candy he was prepared to throw at his brother (this was still during Shacharis). As this was going on, his mother kept admonishing him to STOP IT in a very audible voice which he evidently has mastered ignoring. The door kept banging open and shut. When one of the boys actually lifted a chair and aimed the feet at the glass mechitza, a lethargic congregant was motivated to react. I flinched because I was near enough to the mechitza to be showered with shattered glass, should the inspired activist be successful. Which thankfully he was not. I couldn't move that much because I was practically stuck to the mechitza because of my sticky encounter with the little chair thrower. The chair was removed and the mother finally took her kids into the hallway.
In the meantime, another young relative was playing under one of the narrow tables holding numerous oversized Seforim and sandpaper tissue boxes. I heard a little clinking noise, but I guessed, like the men above her hiding place, that a child who manages to entertain herself is best left alone. Unless she has discovered how to slide that ring that holds the hinge of the table in place, and realizes if she pushed on the hinge, the table will now be a superb slide to play on. Especially with a slimy tablecloth. Just in the nick of time one of the men at said table yanked her out and tightened the hinge.
The heat must have been on, and as it was quite warm and muggy, the whole atmostphere in the shul was of "varmfkeit". The gabbai's announcement of a fabrengin was met which cheers, but at that point I was overwhelmed with the experience and decided to skip the kiddush.
For all I know the chair thrower and table collapser conspired to throw the chulent sternos at their brother.