Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shivering on Shabbat

Start here.

The president of our local synagogue has put his foot down--there will be no heat in the sanctuary for Friday night services, because he says it's not worth running up the bill when there are rarely more than half a dozen people there, including the chazzan/cantor. I was absolutely freezing this past Friday night in shul.

As for Shabbat/Sabbath morning, the heat gets turned on when people kvetch (complain)--and the minute everyone gets warm enough to stop kvetching, the heat gets turned right back off. Some of our members have already stopping attending because they can't take the cold, and one woman wore pants to synagogue this morning for possibly the first time in her life. :(

I will not go to our local synagogue again without a windbreaker until next spring--I'll need it to wear indoors.

There's a rumor afloat that some Alaskan Jews have dubbed themselves the "Frozen Chosen." I guess we're the southeast branch.


Blogger Miami Al said...

I really don't get the point of this story, the whole thing seems silly. I don't understand moving to a house, you don't have a minyan. Your congregation is dead, this is beyond pointless. Time to move on.

Sat Nov 20, 11:52:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

There's nothing silly about this story. Regarding the synagogue moving to a house, the shul may not have a minyan, and the *congregation* may be dead, but the *congregants* aren't, and most of them are too old and/or not wealthy enough to "move on." What are we supposed to do, tell the 20 people who show up to go home?

Sun Nov 21, 12:30:00 AM 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you do something to heat just the space you are using, like space heaters? It just seems so wrong to me to have it be too cold for those who are still in the community to be unable to attend. Is the purpose of this decision just to force the closing sooner?


Mon Nov 22, 11:41:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

The building is already heated on a room-by-room basis. Would it be any cheaper to use a space heater? It might be, but only if all of us sat in the same row or so, with the chazzan off the bimah and directly in front of us.

"Is the purpose of this decision just to force the closing sooner?"

Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised. :(

Mon Nov 22, 11:58:00 AM 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know the budget of your congregation, nor the heating costs as a part of that budget, but it sounds to me like a decision made subjectively rather than objectively. In short, how much money is being spent to heat for services? Alternatives like using space heaters may mean forcing people to move closer together and that might not be comfortable for some but might be a better choice than seeing your breath during the Amidah. Is it less costly to use an alternative space? Is there an acceptable alternative space?

Hoping better solution can be found.


Mon Nov 22, 04:04:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My congregation isn't that large, although more attendance than yours, but I checked our budget and our heating expense runs less than 3% of our total budget. Even if I could cut it in half, by not heating the sanctuary on Shabbat but heating offices or other spaces during the week, I'm not sure I could save more than a few hundred dollars. I realize you are on a shoestring, but I don't really see where this is change could make enough difference to warrant it.


Mon Nov 22, 04:44:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Kathy, I'm sorry to say that we've already rented out half of our alternative space--what's left of our basement chapel won't seat more than a minyan, at best, and crammed in like sardines, at that. It's not very comfortable to davven/pray the Sunday morning service downstairs in that windowless dungeon.

Unfortunately, our heating system is electric, and our electricity bills are sky-high. (I'm not sure what percentage of our budget is needed for the electric bill.)Could we cram 20-30 people, one or two in wheelchairs, into a small enough area of the sanctuary to use a space heater? Good question. I should probably check to see where the outlets are.

Tue Nov 23, 11:13:00 AM 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I don't even know what to say about that. I thought my congregation had problems, but it sounds like yours is in much worse shape.

Tue Nov 23, 03:14:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Techelet, that may very well be true, unfortunately. :(

Wed Nov 24, 11:17:00 AM 2010  

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