Saturday, November 13, 2010

"In the freezer," Conservative-style :(

"In the freezer" is a term used in the "Yeshivish" and/or Chareidi Orthodox community which, if I understand it correctly, refers to young men forbidden to date because they're attending a post-high-school yeshiva that considers them too busy studying to be ready for marriage.

In the case of our local Conservative synagogue, I'm afraid that "the freezer" is much more literal--the Shabbos Goy is constantly battling the shul president for the right to leave the heat turned on, because we're too broke to pay the heating bill. :(

The results are predictable: Some of our members have stopped coming to Shabbat (Sabbath) morning services because they're too cold. Others, among the older women, have started or said they will start wearing pants to synagogue, despite having believed, all their lives, that pants are not proper attire for a woman to wear to services. :(

Today, we didn't have a minyan for the Shacharit Amidah prayer, despite the fact that we count women in a minyan. And since we don't give women aliyot, we were forced to wait until 11 AM to start the Torah reading because it took 'til then to gather seven men. Three aliyot went to Leviyim (though there's supposed to be only one aliyah for one Levi). The service ran so late that we ended up doing a heichah kedushah (short version: an abbreviated Amidah prayer) for the Musaf service.

This is the future, folks. It's not going to get any better--it's only going to get worse. The congregation is dying in front of my eyes. And you wonder why I can't wait to move.


Blogger chava said...

I do not understand the halachic basis for counting women in a minyan but not allowing them to have aliyot. I think it's much easier to grant women aliyot than to count them in a minyan. Women are only barred from aliyot because of the "honor of the congrgation", but they do not count in a minyan because they are not obligated to pray with the congregation. Once you count women, you are saying they are obligated, and if they are obligated in mitzvot that historically they have been free from, they are certainly obligated in helping the community hear Torah, a communal obligation that already existed. I really don't get it.

Sun Nov 14, 12:34:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Chava, as far as I know, you're 100% correct. Our synagogue's policy has absolutely nothing to do with halachah and everything to do with the congregation's comfort level. When we ran out of men for a minyan, we started counting women. When we run out of men for aliyot, we'll either start giving aliyot to women or, given the lack of comfort level among the *women,* simply start reading the Torah reading from a printed chumash (Five Books of Moses) and not have aliyot at all.

Sun Nov 14, 01:10:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Chava, your comment inspired me to carry on this conversation: See What’s logic got to do with it?

Wed Nov 17, 01:15:00 PM 2010  

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