Last night the theme of the service was nominally the future of the Mid East in the wake of all these upheavals. The speaker was an Israeli professor from UCI's political science department. Our guests were children and their religious school teachers from a synagogue in Long Beach, visitors to the area for a bar mitzvah scheduled for today, and the Pacific Institute, an organization of Turkish Muslims who have become something of a sister organization to my synagogue, visiting us periodically for food, discussion, and fellowship.
The singing went very well, despite the fact that it was pouring outside, so that even deaf me could hear the rattling and banging on the roof of the synagogue, a friendly enough sound, since were were relatively warm and safe inside. We sang two pieces and accompanied the cantor on several others, and despite these being new and the group being much depleted, we received praise for our efforts.
However, the speaker was difficult to hear. He had a heavy accent and didn't speak into the mic. Of course, I didn't wear my hearing aids, and this was my failure and fault. Also, his efforts at using technology mostly failed. The You Tube interviews he had chosen to be part of the discussion wouldn't load or were so soft in volume that no one (especially me) could hear them. As far as I could see and hear from his Powerpoint, he didn't have much to offer, stretching a 5 minute segment of dry historical fact into perhaps 40 minutes. Many snoozed. And I wondered how our Turkish guests felt about the whole thing.
After this, they (the guests) showed a brief, 5 minute film, beautifully produced and narrated, about the Turkish dessert they had brought to share with us, Asure. I post a picture here. It is a food made to celebrate Noah's ark and the saving of all living things on earth on that occasion, and is eaten every year about this time. It is absolutely delicious. I encourage you to look up a recipe and try making it.