By Mollie Higgins
For the Mitzpeh
One of the upstairs minyanim at Hillel, better known as CTC, is a place for people to come together on Friday nights specifically attracting those who like to do minimal singing.
For Noam Weintraub, the president of Congregation of Tired Curmudgeons, the decision to attend CTC was fairly simple.
“I tend not to like singing much in any capacity and really dislike crowds,” said Weintraub. “I find the idea of a smaller minyan with no singing very appealing.”
CTC is a small group that only sings Lecha Dodi, one of the prayers said as part of the bringing in of the Sabbath and is one of the few minyanim that does Kiddush, a blessing over the wine, followed by food on Friday evenings at this university.
Atarah Mark, recently graduated from UMD in 2016 and the was the former CTC president, reaffirmed that she joined for similar reasons.
“Sometimes it gets old dragging out the Friday night service, and I come from a smaller congregation back home,” she said, “so smaller minyans feel more comfortable to me.”
CTC was founded in the early 2000s and has always been a small Friday night minyan consisting of about 25 to30 members.
Mark explained that the meaning of the acronym has been discussed several times, but the group decided on “Congregation of Tired Curmudgeons” in 2014.
“When it was first founded it had the name ‘Cut the Crap,’ referring to it going faster and not having long announcements or speeches,” Weintraub said. “Because we really were not happy having a swear word in the name and wanted to make peace with the main minyan, we decided to change its name.”
Along with a name change, Weintraub explained how CTC became a more official minyan a few years ago when they wrote a constitution. Although there has been some changes over the last few years, the overall atmosphere has remained the same.
“‘Congregation of Tired Curmudgeons’ sums up the vibe of the minyan, that of college students who identify with grouchy old people,” Mark said.
With over 450 students who identify with Orthodoxy, there is a large Orthodox community on campus. Following the service, CTC offers a small kiddush every week where members are then able and hang out after the service in their minyanim.
Mark said even though she graduated in August, she always attends CTC when visiting this university for a weekend. CTC provides the opportunity for all members to get involved and hold leadership positions, something that Mark specifically enjoyed.
“A lot of Orthodox minyans would have more back and forth about women in leadership positions,” Mark said, “but for CTC it’s a non-issue if a woman wants to be president or make Kiddush on Friday night.”