Thursday, August 05, 2010

End of an era

Following a fine fleischig farewell kiddush this past Shabbat/Sabbath, our rabbi is now our former rabbi--we can no longer afford even a part-time rabbi, and did not renew his contract. I wish him well. Divrei Torah/Torah discussions will now be given/led by congregants.

This morning, we held our last-ever workday morning "minyan." It's been a long time--probably over a year--since we've gotten a minyan at a Shacharit/Morning Service on a workday, and the cost of lighting and heating or cooling a room for 3-4 people is simply prohibitive. Today, my husband "led" the service, in a manner of speaking--we actually ended up davvening bi-y'chidut (praying as individuals), as if we were alone, because I was the only other person present. How sad, that we can barely get a minyan by 10 AM on a Shabbat or Yom Tov/major holiday morning, much less at any other time.

At a recent Ritual Committee meeting, the majority voted to move all evening services (and probably Sunday morning services, as well) to the former chapel, which we plan to reclaim from our renters, who don't need that second room anymore. I am not happy with being banished to the basement--I hate davvening in the "dungeon," which is a small, windowless, low-ceilinged room--but it's all about money, when you're as broke as we are. Not only will davvening in the chapel enable us to save on lighting and heating/air conditioning costs, it will also enable us to rent out the sanctuary. It really upsets me that financial considerations supercede the comfort of the congregants, and that renters get to use our sanctuary more than we do. I've made no secret of the fact that I can't wait 'til we sell this building and move to a house. It'll be small, which means that we'll have to rent other quarters for the Yamim Noraim/High Holidays and the first-night seder. But at least it'll be all ours.


Blogger Miami Al said...

Sounds like the committee has the congregants comfort in mind. The congregants are at home in bed, not in the Shul, so why not hold costs down to protect the interests of the congregants? :)

Sorry to hear about the death of your Shul.

Thu Aug 05, 10:33:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

To be fair, I try to take into consideration the fact that most of our congregants are considerably older than I am, and I'm 61. Weather and/or health take a toll on the ability of our congregants to get to shul at all, much less at a decent hour.

Thanks for your kind words. It's pretty depressing to be a participant in the last days of a synagogue.

Thu Aug 05, 01:09:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Colleen said...

Hopefully your shul won't close!

Thu Aug 05, 01:24:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous Too Old to Jewschool Steve said...

Is your shul USCJ-affiliated? Have you contacted them about facilitating a merger?

Thu Aug 05, 02:32:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Thanks for your kind wishes, Colleen, but, unfortunately, I don't see much likelihood of our synagogue surviving beyond the next 10 years. The shul is on its last legs, not to mention its last members--we're down to about 60 "membership units," and, given the fact that most of our members are widows, that probably means fewer than 100 individuals, most of them in their eighties or older.

I'm not convinced that there will be a single synagogue of any--or no--denomination in this neighborhood 10 years from now. The local Orthodox shuls aren't doing much better than our Conservative shul--most of the synagogue-affiliated Jews in our neighborhood are well up in years. A new non-denominational congregation--egalitarian, but not traditional enough for--us barely has enough money to pay a part-time rabbi to run services once a month or so in rented quarters, and I honestly don't know whether they'll survive.

Thu Aug 05, 04:00:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Steve, I doubt that we've kept up our United Synagogue of Conserv. Judaism dues--we can't afford them. In any case, since the nearest Conservative shul is several subway stops away and some of our more traditional members don't travel on Shabbat or Yom Tov, a merger would not be an option.

Thu Aug 05, 05:36:00 PM 2010  

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