So last night I got a call from the relevant gabbai. He informed me that some people had complained to him that Aaron was too young to daven, didn't read well enough, and had sung the entire first paragraph of Aleinu instead of trailing off after "V'anachnu korim" which, they claim, is the "minhag of the shul."
While the gabai defended Aaron, a sufficient number of people complained apparently that the gabai decided to ask the rabbi. (Only one of whom had the courage to speak to me directly, btw. I politely informed him I would address the issue in a manner I thought appropriate and he could bugger off now, thank you.)
Rabbi Breitowitz was not present when Aaron finished the service. So he had nothing to go on but these complaints. R Breitowitz said that while he thought these people were being foolish, and would do better to work on things like not talking in davening, if aaron was not proficient, then it was a problem. He proposed that Aaron should only do Anim zmirot and skip the things he has trouble with at the moment ("l'man achi" and "od yenuvun") until he was proficient.
I explained no, I wasn't going to do that. I would not have Aaron feel that his performance was impugned or that he had done something wrong. Instead:
1) I am gone this shabbos, so it doesn't come up.
2) I will work with Aaron on his proficiency (which we had already planned to do anyway).
3) Before Aaron reads again, he will read for R Brietowitz. If the Rabbi decides he is good enough, then he will go on. If not, we will continue to work on it.
The individuals involved are damn lucky I do not know their names, or they would hear from me in no uncertain terms. While I am considering sponsoring a shalishidus just for the purposes of giving the congregation a general mussar reaming, I am afraid that will create difficulties for Aaron. For the same reason, I am unwilling to simply stop going and schlep down to the National Synogogue half a mile away. Aaron has no inkling of this so far (the call came after he was asleep), and I wish to keep it that way.
(An artistic revenge -- I shall donate $1K to the shull, with a promise of $5K more if Aaron finishes the davening every shabbos during the omer. And if I hear one complaint, or one complaint is made to the gabai, I will not give the last contribution. I know these people are hypocrites who do not care for Torah. And if it merely costs me $6K to prove it, it shall amuse me no end.)
Why do we have a $#@! lemming instinct in the Jewish people? Here is a child who is so excited to be participating, has so much enthusiasm and love of God and pride to be leading the service. And some people just want to squash him like a bug for their own selfish reasons, while piously cloaking it in torah.
And then they wonder why we don't have young people who participate in the shul? they wonder why our teenagers have no connection with the shul and spend as much of their time outside as possible? MAYBE there might be a connection?
I am glad I will not be in shul on shabbos. I am not sure how I would manage to restrain myself.