Sunday, April 25, 2010

A guest in my own shul :(

There we were in the middle of Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals) when our synagogue's renters for the evening, who'd already arrived and started setting up in the sanctuary (Seudah Shlishit having taken place in the adjoining lobby), started running an extremely noisy piece of equipment. When I asked the president to ask the renters to turn off the noisy machine until we'd finished Birkat HaMazon, he refused.

Again and again we've complained about our shul being rented out before Shabbat (Sabbath) is over. Again and again, the president has said he'd have to discuss the matter with the office employee who schedules the rentals. Baloney! That employee has been working for us for years. If the president, not a terribly observant Jew, but concerned with keeping the shul alive for those of us who are, really cared about Shabbat, he could simply have told the employee to consult a Jewish calendar and determine the ending time of Shabbat before scheduling a rental.

I've decided that I will davven/pray Minchah (Afternoon Service) and Arvit/Maariv (Evening Service) bi-y'chidut (alone) at home, and no longer at my home synagogue, because I longer feel welcome there at that time. The right of the congregation to pray in peace has been denied. We congregants have been displaced by our own renters, and no longer control our own building.

Personally, I can't wait until we sell this building and move into a house. True, we'll be limited in terms of social activities and holding our First-Night Seder, and won't be able to open our High Holiday services to non-members anymore. But at least our building will be ours.

See also Bet HaKnesset Rentals, Sales, and Storage, Inc.


Blogger Marc said...

Was thinking about this yesterday at my synagogue in the opposite situation. Two huge day school bar mitzvahs both with on premises receptions plus a baby naming; same result of the regular congregation crowded in the hall. Had to take a deep breath and remind myself just to be thankful people are coming. But sometimes I wish I were at your less busy shul.

Sun May 02, 09:57:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Ah, remember it well. Years ago, at our previous synagogue, a fellow choir member had a Bar Mitzvah celebration for one of his sons and invited so many guests that they exceeded the fire-safety limit for the social hall (120 persons?). Those congregants who hadn't been specifically invited ended up saying kiddush in the sanctuary and going home without so much as a cookie. I wasn't too happy at the time (and the hosts had the good grace to be embarrassed that they couldn't invite the whole congregation, which is what was usually done for a no-lunch kiddush). Our own son's Bar Mitzvah celebration had to be split into "invited guests" (kiddush with full lunch) and "other congregants" (kiddush with pastries). I miss those good old days, when we had more people than our synagogue (and/or budget) could accommodate.

Sun May 02, 01:33:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When renters are using the synagogue on Shabbot isn't that the same as the synagogue making money on Shabbos??

So many things of Today are different than the Past.

Sweet Pesach to you and yours.

Mon Apr 14, 04:34:00 AM 2014  

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