Friday, May 02, 2014

I’m running out of blogging ideas

Don't be surprised if my posts become a bit less frequent.

After some nine and a half years of blogging, I’ve already written pretty much everything I can think of about the parashot/parashiot/parshiot(?)/weekly Torah readings.   On that subject, I do more linking than actual writing, these days.

Regarding other Jewish topics, I’ve often been nagged to write more about Conservative Judaism, but my place in the Conservative world can make that somewhat challenging.  By way of explanation, see the name of my blog.

The first synagogue to which I paid membership dues was a dual-affiliated Reconstructionist/Conservative congregation, so I started  my adult Jewish life on the left fringe of the Conservative Movement.  But when we first joined our current shul in the fall of 2004, the place was so right-wing that some congregants literally could not believe that the Conservative Movement would ever ordain women, even though JTS had, in fact, already ordained the first female Conservative rabbi, Amy Eilberg, roughly nine years before, in 1985.  By the time our shul went egalitarian last summer, our congregation was down to about 50 members, and hadn’t been a United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism member for several years, for lack of funds to pay dues, so it was pretty much irrelevant in terms of the Movement.

Then there's my personal manner of observance, which, while highly inconsistent, probably leans slightly more toward the "observant" end of the Conservative spectrum, a minority position among Conservative Jews.  Between my personal observance and my shul affilation, I'm so far from the center of the Conservative Movement "action" that I'm practically off the fringe.

So what’s left for me to write about that won't bore you?  I wish I knew, because I have few enough readers as it is.


Blogger David Staum said...

The best part of blogging is the discussion, and unfortunately, the discussion has mostly moved to Facebook. It was great meeting you at Limmud and we had some good "live blogging" discussion there. Join us over on Facebook! There's a lot going on.

Fri May 02, 04:37:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Facebook gives me the creeps. Everything you write or post, including personal photos, becomes their property. Any suggestions?

The meet-up at Limmud was fun. Hope to see you there again next year.

Fri May 02, 05:19:00 PM 2014  
Blogger The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

Amy Eilberg goes to my shul.

If you wanted to write about Conservative Judaism, you might start by Elliot Dorff's "The Unfolding Tradition." It is a collection of essays on Conservative approaches to Halachah.

If you don't want to invest the time, I understand, but if you are curious about what informs Conservative practice, it may be a good place to start.

Mark Washofsky's "Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice" is reform approach. Washofsky is the premier Reform hlachist (not an oxymoron).

The contrast between Conservative and Reform approaches to Halachah is interesting. The key difference is this: Reform feels not need to engage in Halachic innovation, so it examines the literature as it finds it, comes up with a Halachic ruling based on the literature (usually quite stringent), and then concludes by saying either "we think the halachah is worth following," or "we think the halachah is broken in the head, and only a barbarian would follow it."

One of the most significant distinctions between the two streams therefore is this: Often both movements will have the same will - say to permit Ordination of Women - but whereas Reform can turn on a dime to do that, Conservative has to spend a great deal of time coming up with Halachic reasoning to support it.

Sat May 03, 11:16:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Reform BT, I solemnly promised myself that, if I *ever* finished Ari Shavit's "My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel," which I've been reading on the subway whenever I'm not napping, I'd read something secular next. So Elliot Dorff's book just joined my "Want to Read" list on Goodreads. Not exactly light summer reading :), but thanks for the recommendation.

Sun May 04, 07:47:00 PM 2014  

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