(Sorry for the long text in advance, thanks for taking time to read it!) Perhaps not the best title, but it seems to sum up my predicament. My mother was born to a Jewish mother, who married a menonite christian man. She used to tell me all about how Grandma would “speak german to us” as a baby. But later on i find out that 100% of these “german” words were yiddish lol. (Similar situation to my father thinking Yiddish was Polish from his father.) The thing i’m trying to convey is that both of my parents were from “crypto” families who shunned and hid their Jewish nature, both families fleeing europe in the mid 20th century to avoid the Holocaust.
So having said that…i’m “technically jewish”…but just barely haha. I was never given the upbringing that I now see so plain as day that a jewish child NEEDS to operate within a society of his peers. I remember the day when my mother, who was sick and near death, was sitting on the couch with me and I heard the shema and the Barchu on the shofar for the first time about a decade ago at 18 years old (i’m 28 now) She looked at me so puzzled and asked why i was crying…i had no idea i was even crying at all. Growing up as a musician I very rarely heard sound that beautiful. I found myself deeply called to move back to being Jewish with my parents blessing. Unfortunately they both passed away in the past few years, leaving me on my own as they were both in their 70s-80s so even my cousins aunts etc.. are all gone. I’ve tried my best to learn with a busy schedule, but so far I only know basic hebrew grammar, I memorized the full shema, do basic blessings etc.. but still get utterly lost in an orthodox persian jewish congregation that I’ve recently started attending.
This Shabbos I was given the great honor of having one of the families (who have only known me a couple weeks) sponsor me to bring out the Ark of the Torah and return it, to memorialize their grandmothers Yarzheit. I fumbled a bit not knowing how to really do the task i was given, walking the wrong way etc.. and I”ve decided to never let myself look this foolish again to honor what they did for me.
So I’m asking around to find the best material/books etc.. to learn proper prayer form, with the coronavirus completely destroying any chance of in person lessons and making learning that much more frustrating since learning alone makes your mistakes ingrained.
My biggest issues are not being able to read hebrew fast enough to keep up with the chazzanf, subsequently getting lost, and not knowing in general how the form of the minyan goes and in what order. Apologies for the long wall of text. So a “how to step by step” on Shaccarit, Mincha, Shabbat etc.. would be a great thing if available.