I wrote last week about the offer from Prayables.com, an ecumenical for-profit prayer resources for women, to become a partner site, which may or may not have involved having “The Reform Shuckle” inserted into some pre-written prayer/poem thing. For women.
In my post, I wrote about how I didn’t like their website, mission or methods very much. I didn’t use the word “hate,” but in her response post, Grand Pray Poobah or whatever Sue said I hate them. Okay. You said it, not me, Sue.
From her post:
The word “schuckle” alone, brings to mind the warmest of memories. I came to formal worship late in life and learned the choreography of prayer sitting behind a righteous man, a good man; Howard Sinton, of blessed memory. Howard shuckled. He would sway back and forth when reciting the holy words and I would follow his movements, because I was learning and it seemed like the right thing to do.
There’s no grand point to be made about this lovely (using that word honestly here–no sarcasm intended), except to point out that there’s nothing that peeves me out more than adoption of prayer choreography without knowing what it’s about. That’s how we get people bowing at “va’anachnu/and we” instead of waiting for the next word “korim/bow,” where the bow belongs.
It’s also how we get Reform Jews mindlessly sitting down halfway through something called the Amidah, the Standing Prayer.
It’s how come someone recently asked me which way I bow first in Yihyu L’ratzon, left or right? I said neither. We bow left and then right at the end of the Amidah, to complete the throne room metaphor as we leave God’s presence. Yihyu happens to be at the end of the Amidah as well as a few other places. So now people associate the bowing with Yihyu rather than the end of the Amidah so that every time Yihyu crops up elsewhere, people are bowing.
And, most odiously, it is how we get high school students at Kutz rambling on all day about Reform maxims like “Choice through Knowledge” and then copying their bunkmates in rising to their tiptoes at the mention of each mother and father in Avot V’imahot, which has no basis in anything! I swear, that one’s like a perpetual motion machine, summer after summer for no reason other than the fact that someone is doing it…
But back to the Pray Commander’s post:
So, after I read a great post by blogger David Wilensky of The Reform Shuckle website, I added it to the Excel spreadsheet we keep of potential partners for Prayables. Here’s our process: Each day, Amanda, Ed, and I, reach out to five websites on the list to tell them about Prayables and offer to promote their website in exchange for a mention of Prayables on theirs. This isn’t a money proposition; it’s just a little guerilla marketing.
Well that’s cool. I keep track of my life in spreadsheets too. This may be guerilla marketing, and I get that no one was talking about money, but the very idea is distasteful. There’s nothing wrong with earning money from a product that is religious or spiritual in nature, but there is something intrinsically wrong with marketing directly on or in the product. Imagine what the title of this post suggests, a prayer leader announcing that today’s prayer are brought to you by…
I admit that this is an imperfect comparison. Again, no money changes hand and this is merely a cooperative cross-promotion by two entities with something in common, but still, in the prayer?
Randi, if you’re out there reading, I could use some backup on this front:
I’m on board with the notion that all women don’t fit into neat categories of same tastes and equivalent inclinations. And, I duly note David’s opinion that our poetry (prayers) suck, but with the caveat that Prayables are not written for him. Yet, I do believe that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. We have different issues, emotions, and we typically we don’t express ourselves in the same way as men. I do believe that women of all faiths share the same values.