AKA – you may be on vacation from work, your family and life, but you are not on vacation from yourself.
Just like when I am deployed, I will attempt to locate Friday evening services if I am at sea on Shabbas. Doesn’t mean that I will always attend, but I have been known to show up. Sometimes out of curiosity but mostly for the same reasons as when deployed: my being there may make a difference to someone else. Of course, for many people who need a minyan I am not going to count but I view that as their problem, not mine.
On most cruises, if I am at sea on Friday evening at minimum I will show up. Did I mention that Costa was a Friday cruise start? And that their emergency boat drill ran at exactly the same time as they had listed? And they wonder why no one showed up either week? On the Grandeur this time the first Friday was one of the conference rooms which worked out. The second Friday since the conference rooms were now over run with the cable guys (nothing like doing as much prep as you can which includes wiring) they had moved us to the library which was neither cool or fair to those attempting to have quiet time and read.
Anywho – RCI this time had a signup sheet at the front desk. One of the desk people mentioned they were doing this so that they could book the appropriate size space. I didn’t think anything of it when I noticed that the Windjammer Annex was designated. Finding my way in to the room with three others, there were 35 already present when we arrived. Given Jewish time, it should not surprise you to learn that there were over 50 by the end of services.
Now 50+ Jews, most of whom are over the age of 60 could potentially be a recipe for chaos given all the differences in backgrounds, experiences and expectations. Instead, things were organized: not only were chairs set up, wine and challah on the side table but there appeared to be someone in charge and wiling to lead services. Neil introduced himself, and as a retired Cantor, not one person in the place had any problems with him leading services. It also eliminated any confusion about which melodies would be used. He/she who leads gets to chose.
With a Conservative prayerbook, let me just say that we had a few anxious people with 1800 dinner times since obviously services ran a bit long. Not as much over as it could have been but still ……
Cabin 7002, Jewel OTS