a pulpit's eye view:
although we rarely have more than a minyan on a shabbat evening, the new year brings out the best in people and our sanctuary cannot contain the masses so we move to the methodist sanctuary instead. it is an extremely plain room, decorated only by a giant wooden cross hanging from the ceiling with spotlights on it so the two shadows create a trinity of crosses. luckily for me this is behind my pulpit so i do not have to look at it. the pjc-niks tell me it is 't' for torah.
there is no a/c in the church, and there is another spotlight on the pulpit. it is early october but the temperature is in the seventies and the humidity is high. i am wearing a robe, because i would rather sweat all over my simpsons in jerusalem t-shirt underneath it than ruin a fancy shirt. before we start i am meeting and greeting and young maddy says 'rabbi you are all sweaty'. during the service i do a pretty darn good impersonation of the wicked witch of the west. my new g/f is in the pews. she is a nephrologist. in the morning she brings me water. i think that saved me from fainting! upon request, a sort of fan was rigged up behind me (presumably to blow cool draughts of air up the stairs and under the hem of my robe?), but each reader that came up managed to kick the plug out of the whatchamacallit thingy that you stick it in. for those who wondered why i kept disappearing from the pulpit, i was bending down trying to plug the fan back in and then going down the stairs to turn the switch.
one of the tricks i have found useful is to take a large handkerchief (or in my case, a well-loved purple bandana), and spray it lightly with a lavender-scented cologne. it is very refreshing, and at the end of the service you may be a bit soggy, but you won't smell bad when you shake hands. that reminds me: one of the tricks they never taught us at rabbi school - take off your rings during the final hymn. my first rosh hashana i did not do that and had to shake a thousand hands and my fingers swelled up a lot. ow.
enough already with the whinging. a happy and healthy new year to you all!