Avi Liberman

Judaism’s “beast mode”

Barry “The Beast” Rosen recently caused quite a stir when he turned up at the early Morning Prayer service or “Minyan” at Shomrei Tefilah Synagogue. Rosen is known for shattering prayer — or as it is commonly known, “davening” — records when it comes to speed of service and he didn’t disappoint this past week.

Orthodox synagogues have minyans every morning, many of them with more than one, to accommodate men who need to get to work early. Usually, the earlier the Minyan, the faster the service. Rosen, more commonly known as “The Beast” was brought into Shomrei Tefilah as a surprise and many were thrilled. Morty Stein, long time member of the synagogue had this to say, “I’ve never seen a guy fly through the repetition of the Amidah like that! It was amazing! Sure, anybody can fake going fast during the silent parts of the service just reading the last line of each paragraph. Hell, we’ve all done that, but this guy nailed the repetition. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I am outta here!’ It was just great.”

The Amidah is the main part of any morning service, and is said in silent devotion, then repeated out loud by whoever is leading the service. The Beast has been in high demand throughout the country, and when his agent Steven Blum was contacted, he confirmed that indeed, The Beast had been booked for the rest of the week at Shomrei Tefilah. “We all know Rabbis tend to slow down the service. I mean, with the Shema, and then with the Silent Amida? It’s the perfect environment for guys like the Beast to come in and provide some balance”, said Blum. Rabbis tend to take longer than most when saying the silent Amida to prove that a sense of spiritual devotion can actually be achieved, much to the dismay of most congregants.

Early morning Minyan attendee Saul Fishman had this to say, “Look, as far as I’m concerned, God has heard all this before. I don’t wanna waste God’s time any more than God wants to waste mine, so lets just do this. You can take that ‘Look at me! Look how long I take in silent devotion’ stuff and bring it to the hippie commune.” Other congregants however have not all been thrilled at The Beast’s arrival. Long time member David Schiller was quoted, “Look, I like getting outta here quickly just as much as the next guy, but The Beast is so good, I didn’t have time to check my phone.”

When congregants finish the silent Amida early, that time is generally used to check phones, update Facebook status, and text. Schiller continued, “I barely had time to Tweet, ‘Rabbi still on silent Amida #killmenow’ It took some adjusting.” Most congregants, however, were thrilled to see The Beast, some even asking for pictures with him when the service was over. Not since Barry “The Breeze” Goldman of the 1970’s or Joey “The Jet” Sacks of the late 1990’s has a buzz like the Beast’s arrival been felt. Most hope that excitement will continue.

About the Author
Avi Liberman is a stand-up comic who was born in Israel, raised in Texas and now lives in Los Angeles. Avi founded Comedy for Koby, a bi-annual tour of Israel featuring some of America's top stand-up comedians.