Sunday, May 02, 2010

What we do for friends . . .

Two friends of ours are participating in a group adult Bat Mitzvah celebration. All of the participants will be leining Torah (chanting from the Torah scroll), which is really neat.

But there are two problems:

  • The service will take place on a Friday night. Traditionally, the Torah reading on Shabbat/Sabbath takes place on Saturday morning.
  • The Friday night in question is the Erev Shabbat (Sabbath Eve) immediately following the holiday of Shavuot. According to the invitation, this service is being considered a Shabbat Shavuot service.
Did I mention that musical instruments are welcome, and that we have no idea whether the refreshments will be kosher or not?

Yes, we're going.


Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

Your shul's refreshments are rarely up to your kashrut. קל וחומר, a Reform synagogue's will not be. The standard in most Reform shuls is to avoid meat and shellfish. The kitchen utensils see mixed use, and meat and dairy may even be presented at the same meal, though rarely in the same dish.

That said, this is a moment of great nachas for your friends and your presence there will be appreciated.

Friday night Torah readings are pretty normative in Reform Judaism. The reason is that Saturday, Monday, and Thursday became traditional Torah reading days because that was when the people were gathered, therefore since the people gather on Friday nights in Reform shuls, it is a reasonable time to read Torah, in keeping with the underlying principle that one reads Torah when the people are gathered.

As for the Shabbat/Shavuot thing - really the movement has responsa opposing that sort of calendar tweaking, but Reform Responsa are not binding on anyone; the reason they exist is for the edification of the inquirer.

Enjoy yourself, if you carry on chagim, bring a snack. And send your friends mazel tov from this stranger on the internet that they don't know from Adam. :)

Sun May 02, 11:51:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous Too Old to Jewschool Steve said...

If this makes you uncomfortable, then its probably really good that you weren't at the Reform Bat Mitzvah I attended several years ago on the Shabbat of chol ha-moed Sukkot, in which the Rabbi passed around lulav and etrog and had everyone bench it.

Mon May 03, 11:17:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

" . . . since the people gather on Friday nights in Reform shuls, it is a reasonable time to read Torah, in keeping with the underlying principle that one reads Torah when the people are gathered."

That makes sense, even though it's not my preference. Thanks for the information.

My understanding is that one is permitted to carry on Chagim (provided that it's not also Shabbat), within certain limits that I haven't quite figured out yet. Holiday-related items and food are okay.

Mon May 03, 11:22:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Steve, been there, done that. In our previous synagogue, which was dual-affiliated Conservative/Reconstructionist, we used to bentch (saying the blessing over) lulav and etrog on the first day of Sukkot even if it fell on Shabbat, the rabbi's logic being that almost none of the congregants would bentch lulav at all, otherwise. But he forbade us from taking our lulavim and etrogim home afterward, lest we be seen carrying them in public and thus publicly violating Shabbat--he didn't want to offend the Orthodox neighbors.

Mon May 03, 11:27:00 AM 2010  
Anonymous Too Old to Jewschool Steve said...

Is SAJ the only Manhattan dual-affiliated congregation?

Mon May 03, 02:21:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

To the best of my knowledge, the Society for the Advancement of Judaism is the only dual-affiliated Conservative/Reconstructionist synagogue in Manhattan.

Quick history lesson: The SAJ was founded in response to the founding of another organization originally named the Society for the Advancement of Ethical Culture. Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan was quite adamant in his belief that a non-believer didn't have to leave Judaism.

Mon May 03, 04:47:00 PM 2010  

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