Posted January 2nd, 2012, 02:09 PM
I feel such a sense of community, here; isn't it great? One of my most unusual visits was to the shul in Florence. I had checked dates but evidently I was sure I'd be able to visit on my Tuesday visit; when that didn't work it, lo and behold, Thursday was Shavuot! No worries. Mr. B. and I attended part of the service. The employee who allowed us through the security checkpoint made only one request (other than that we observe the gender-specific seating): that we remain until the end of the service.
I must confess that I once left a Scottsdale, Ariz., Yizkor service with my cousin and a friend, right after Yizkor, b/c we were on a tight time frame; I agree, though, that it's not a pretty practice, and I was truly embarrassed.
My biggest disappointment in an effort to visit a shul was in Siena. I believed what the web site said about the days and times, but when we arrived, the shul was buttoned up tight. We had to "make do" with the street signs pointing to the sinagogia (my Italian's not great, but I think that's close). I should've emailed or called ahead!
In Rome, there was a wedding going on, wow, neat. In fact, there were two weddings that a.m. All the male guests were in black suits.
The hazzan (recently retired) from my shul used a wonderful Adon Olam one Rosh Hashanah, to the tune of, I'd Rather Be a Hammer than a Nail (Peruvian folk song, El Condor Pasa). Nobody believes me, b/c it was tricky, getting it to fit; but when I was the ONLY congregant who told him how much I loved it, he made a CD for me -- so I have the proof! I actually think he is from Buenos Aires, now that I think about it.
Sue, I don't often get to shabbat services on board, actually. I've been to Hanukah a few times, and in fact I think my more recent one, in Dec. of 2009, was either directly or indirectly responsible for Celebrity's cutting back on clergy on board. That's a whole 'nother story.
I second the motion to keep this thread going with stories of synagogue visits around the world. My next planned visit will be to the Jewish area of a cemetery in Sydney to visit the grave of a dear friend I was hoping to meet in person on my upcoming cruise on the Century. I'm heart broken that she didn't live long enough; but I'll give her an earful of my disappointment, when I visit her grave. I hope it doesn't disturb her final rest!!! When I was in Sydney in 2007, my first sightseeing was to the Jewish Museum. The history of the Jews in Australia and of the Holocaust survivors were wonderful. They have a room there where one could memorialize their lost loved ones from the Shoah, with stone walls and engraved blocks of stone for families or singles -- a place you could visit since you couldn't visit their burial place (such as it might have been) back in Europe. I found it very moving, an effort to bring a small sense of normalcy to the most awful of memories.
I hope the OP has a wonderful cruise, and comes back to report to us! Sue, let's compare notes after we both get back (or inbetween!). I'm at msa1289 at yahoo dot com if you'd like to email me.
1 Premier (yup, the Big Red Boat)
1 Renaissance (yup, another defunct one)
1 Azamara (amazing! to Antarctica)
3 Crystal -- truly outstanding, both ships
6 Royal Caribbean
13 Celebrity (including the Xpedition, also amazing!)