"Yes!" I answered, "--but I have a question." I spoke quickly, because he was walking towards the door. It was 9:31, and services always began promptly; the rabbis weren't really as relaxed about time as they sometimes appeared to be.
"The Barchu...?" I said. He nodded. "Yes, you do it." One person begins this prayer, the communal call to worship. We face the Ark, which means those at the bima turn their backs on everyone else. And the leader must also twist the microphone around in the opposite direction in order to be heard--so it helps to know if you're the leader.
"And," he added, "you start the Ashrei." It's sung call-and-response style, and was also the prayer I led at my Bat Torah when I was 12. I felt like something in my life had just come full circle, although wasn't sure what.
I would also begin the Amidah, the standing prayer, and wouldn't sing much at the start of the Nishmat section. I had resolved those two issues with one of the other rabbis about 30 seconds before the remaining two arrived, a very good thing because this rabbi was now clearly in a hurry.
He gave me a hug and opened the door to the sanctuary.
whew....I feel nervous for you!
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