Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deciding factors

Start here.

An old friend pointed out, in response to my complaint that standards seem rather lax in the non-Orthodox world, that the problem is not a lack of standards but differing priorities. So, for example, a non-Orthodox synagogue might decide that it's more important for congregants to share a Shabbat kiddush lunch in the synagogue that to worry about who's kitchen is kosher enough. But I still can't get over the ubiquity of cell phones in synagogue on Shabbat/Sabbath in non-Orthodox synagogues. Call it standards or priorities, I'm no longer comfortable with what I see in the non-Orthodox world.

I asked my husband what would induce him to choose an Orthodox synagogue rather than the Conservative one or the independent egalitarian minyan that are also in our future neighborhood. His response: study opportunities. He'd really love to do more studying once he's retired. When we visited the friends who hosted us for Sukkot last Sunday, they gave us a recent synagogue bulletin. It listed classes on Sunday mornings, Monday evenings, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings, and Shabbat afternoons. Unless the Conservative synagogue, the independent minyan, or the other Modern Orthodox synagogue in the same neighborhood can match that . . .


Blogger Miami Al said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tue Nov 30, 01:09:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...

I'm still not understanding why everything has to be an either-or? Why can't you go to a Conservative Minyan when you want a more egalitarian experience, and an Orthodox one when you want a Shomer Shabbat, Shomer Kashrut experience?

It's not like people at the Conservative Shul will start interrogating you about where you were on Tuesday or even last Shabbat, or the Orthodox minyan will start inquiring as to your whereabouts.

Tue Nov 30, 01:10:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Miami Al, we took a trip with our old buddy to see more of the neighborhood, and she was right--we really don't have the option of living within walking of her and her husband *and* living within walking distance of the Conservative synagogue. Our own neighborhood was one of the beneficiaries of urban planning--it's fairly compact and well-organized, and you can walk from one end to the other in about half an hour. If memory serves me correctly, the distance between her shul and the Conservative shul is at least 20 blocks, which could be quite a hike when we get into our 80s.

Tue Nov 30, 03:14:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

And we had to stay on the bus for at least 10 more blocks to get to the shopping center with the kosher supermarket! This neighborhood is a typical case of beyond-the-subways semi-suburban sprawl, with all of suburbia's advantages and disadvantages combined with a lower tax rate and better public transportation.

Tue Nov 30, 04:29:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Fortunately for our friends, there is a small kosher store, a kosher butcher, a kosher fish store, a Judaica store, and several kosher restaurants (meat and dairy) within walking distance of their apartment. Otherwise, we would not even consider moving there, since part of the point of our move is to be able to shop for kosher food on foot.

Tue Nov 30, 05:30:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...


20 Blocks is a long walk in your 80s... would definitely preclude going to Shabbat/Yom Tov minyanim at the Conservative Minyan. However, there is absolutely no reason you couldn't go there if you want to lay Tefillin with a Minyan OR if you wanted to Lein Torah during the week, etc. So that is certainly close enough to drive/bus/cab for you to get a weekday egalitarian fix. Remember, you'll be retired then, you're not rushing to get to work.

I'm getting the impression from all of this that you don't drive? You city folk are mighty odd... :)

Wed Dec 01, 09:42:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Miami Al, my husband says I overestimated the distance, which he puts at 10-15 blocks. That will still be too far to walk on Shabbat and Yom Tov, eventually. But you're right--once I retire, I may be able to get there by bus for a weekday morning minyan, especially on a Sunday, when many synagogues have a later service (since few folks work on Sunday).

We both drive (though I'm not an experienced driver, never having owned a car), but we neither own nor intend to own a car. That's part of the reason why we're not moving to Highland Park, NJ, much as I think it would be a great place to live. Living in Highland Park would also give me too long a commute (since I hope to work for several more years after the move), and it's too far from my not-so-healthy sister (who lives in one of the five boroughs of NYC), plus the taxes are higher.

Wed Dec 01, 10:30:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

Thought you'd be interested in this article on Designing the Women's section.

Wed Dec 08, 12:43:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Larry, thanks for the link. That's a very interesting post and comments.

Wed Dec 08, 11:10:00 PM 2010  

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