When Rabbis Panic

It sounds like the title to some cheesy video, doesn’t it. Just imagine a deep voice announcing “When Rabbis Panic.” For three low payments of $9.95 you can receive the video. Order now and if you are among the first 100 callers we’ll throw in a copy of “Rabbis Gone Wild” for free.

The thing is that this is not a total joke. About this time each year my friends start to get stressed out about what sermons they are going to give for the High Holidays. Those that are in to sports start to throw around the sports analogies.

“Jack, it is a really intense playoff system that leads right into the championship.”


“This is when I really put my game face on because it is the one time of year that you really have the congregation’s attention.”

This is about the time when I suggest that we play “Sermon Bingo.” The idea is simple. You create a playing card that looks just like the seating chart of the shul. Then during the sermon you and a few others look around the room and identify sleeping congregants. Each time you find one you get to mark off a space on your card. The first one to mark off a complete line of spaces wins.

Here is some friendly advice. You friend the pulpit rabbi usually does not take too kindly to people suddenly shouting during the sermon, especially when doing so points out how many people they have put to sleep.

I have a few ideas for how to spice things up so that people don’t fall asleep, but something tells me that I’ll probably never see my favorite come to fruition. Imagine using a teleprompter to guide the sermon along. In this wacky world of mine I could type out the sermon and the rabbi would just read whatever appeared on screen.

It has potential. Ok, maybe potential is over stating it a bit, but one can dream a bit.

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