Thursday, October 30, 2014

Casting my lot with the Conservative Movement, part 2

Here's part one.  (Let me just mention that I was pleasantly surprised by the comments.)

And here's a quote from the same ancient post of mine to which I linked in that post.

  • Freedom of role(s)
Anyone who's been reading this blog for more than about 2 1/2 minutes has already figured out that I'm not only a feminist, but an egalitarian, as well, believing that women and men should have equal opportunities in all aspects of Judaism. As I've blogged previously, it's not the mechitzah that's the problem, it's everything that doesn't come with it: being counted in a minyan, being allowed to lead any part of a public religious service, etc. Some of us just can't reconcile ourselves to the idea that the separate roles assigned to men and women by the rabbis over a thousand years ago are still binding on us today and can't be changed. "

Sorry, folks, but not even in the most left-leaning Modern or Open Orthodox synagogue or minyan, Women's Tefillah Group, or Partnership Minyan would a woman be allowed to lead K'dushah.  That's a deal-breaker for me.  I might put up with it on a temporary basis after our local Conservative synagogue closes, assuming that the local Orthodox synagogue is still among the living, but once the local Ortho shul closes and I have to go back to commuting to shul anyway, why on earth would I choose a shul in which I wouldn't be allowed to lead d'varim sheh bi-k'dushah?*

*those parts of a service for which a minyan is required


Anonymous Anonymous said...

and the people who care where you daven are how many???

Thought so.

Thu Oct 30, 11:05:00 AM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

It's my party, and I'll post what I want to.

Thu Oct 30, 11:12:00 AM 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's fine, but your blog is "waah, waah, nobody takes me seriously because the Orthodox don't respect me, my shul is dying, and I need to take the subway."

Nobody takes you seriously because you whine.

Thu Oct 30, 05:36:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Wine? No thanks, I'm a plain water kind of gal. :)

Thu Oct 30, 10:34:00 PM 2014  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

There is no problem with Commuting to Shul except on Shabbat. We're really talking about Shabbat services then, because you could commute to a egalitarian synagogue during the week.

So basically, you're talking about 2-3 hours on Saturday morning, plus an hour to hour and a half on Friday night and and hour and a half Saturday afternoon/evening.

Being generous, you're talking about 6 hours out of 168 in the week. There is more to life (and more to Judaism) that Shabbos minyan.

Sun Nov 02, 09:46:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"There is more to life (and more to Judaism) that Shabbos minyan."

True, Miami Al. My focus on Shabbat minyan may be a reflection of my upbringing and my early-adulthood observance. My parents were not the most observant of Conservative Jews, and, aside from the prayers recited over Shabbat and Yom Tov meals (not to mention Sedarim), they said all their prayers in synagogue. So I was raised with the understanding that praying was done in synagogue. Also, there was (is?) a tendency in Conservative synagogues to bring home rituals into the synagogue for the benefit of those who either didn't know how to, or wouldn't perform them. So I plead guilty as charged to focusing so much on the Shabbat minyan. But that continues to be one of the highlights of my personal Jewish week, so it really *does* matter where I pray.

Mon Nov 03, 04:26:00 PM 2014  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

It is only so significant because you pray there. Try going to an Orthodox Minyan for 3-4 weeks, just to broaden your horizon. It really won't kill you to not be "counted" in a minyan, whatever that means, for a month.

Make friends that are observant. Interact with other serious Jews. You'll find that the Shabbos minyan falls into the background, plenty of women don't attend.

In our community I was stunned when I learned that some friends of ours were at the local conservative Minyan (mostly because her husband used to go to the same minyan I did, I assumed it was my spotty attendance, not he went elsewhere). They are serious Jews, live in the neighborhood. She'll drive to Shul, etc., but walks to visit friends for meals.

Sure she's "Conservative" whatever that mean. She's a serious Jew, her children are serious Jews, and she's a part of the serious Jewish community.

I don't see her in any different light than the Orthodox affiliated people I know watching movies at home Friday night. A serious Jew that's a part of the community.

But most of her Jewish friends are Orthodox, because the community is tighter.

And nobody cares that people going to different Shuls/Minyanim.

Wed Nov 05, 12:50:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Our neighborhood has a grand total of one Conservative synagogue and one Orthodox synagogue. So my local options are limited, especially since the Ortho shul is *much* farther from our apartment than the Conservative one, and I'm too lazy to walk that far. :)

That said, I would certainly be happy to "Interact with other serious Jews." But I'm limited, even if I *wished* to take the l-o-n-g walk to the local Ortho shul every other Shabbat, by the fact that my husband is the "acting rabbi" of our shul. Back when I was commuting to shul in Manhattan, I got quite a lot of flack for not davvening in "my husand's shul." It isn't worth it to me to put up with that song and dance just to sit behind a mechitzah.

A few subway stops from here is a Jewish neighborhood with plenty of shuls, most of them Orthodox. That's probably where we'll end up davvening, once the local shuls go belly up. We'll have to see where we're the most comfortable.

Fri Nov 07, 11:04:00 AM 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you aren't going there "just to sit behind the mechitzah" you are going there to pray/daven, respond to kedusha, say amen to kaddish, attend a communal Kiddush, etc. Unless you are leading davening, which I assume you don't do every week, what does it matter if you are counted in the minyan or not? I'm a man and I certainly don't get an aliyah every week, and I never lead davening.

Mon Nov 10, 11:38:00 AM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Yes, I'm there to pray, as you said. But I do like to be counted, on principle. And I like knowing that, as a new face in shul, I too, not only my husband, might be asked to take an honor. I prefer options to exclusions.

Mon Nov 10, 06:15:00 PM 2014  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

But again, you're talking about attending 3-4 minyanim when you "move in" to show your face and meet people, and yes your husband, and not you, would get the likely 1 aliyah as a new family.

Assuming it's a lively congregation, the counting is all academic. The real "count" is Hashem's, and whether he counts you or not has nothing to do with the theological affiliation of the synagogue.

In the 10 years I've been Orthodox affiliated, I have "counted" in a meaningful sense (there were 10 men, so without me, they lacked a minyan) in a minyan 5 times. Once was Shabbat Minchah, and they started a few minutes late because I made 10, we were at 12 by the time of the Torah reading. Once was Shabbat Minchah in a hotel in Israel where I got grabbed on my way to the bathroom to make a minyan. And 3 times were over one Shabbat with a temporary minyan for which we had 11 Men and 2 women at an event, so we had to round up the guys a few times for a "minyan call" so someone could say Kaddish.

So you've really latched on to this "counted in a Minyan" thing that's totally in your head. If there are EXACTLY 10, then it matter, but in a normal minyan, where there will be 20-100 men and 5-50 women, I guess only the men "count" for the minyan, but there is no count in reality. The only one who counts that matters is Hashem, and he either (or doesn't count) count that you're there just as much whether the Gabbai does or not.

So, this is extremely stupid. You're making major life decisions based upon a possible aliyah (which even in most Conservative Synagogues inviting a new family will give it to the husband first, and seating assignments for 10-12 hours.

My female friend going to weekday Minyan at her Conservative Synagogue, going to Shabbat Minyanim there, and her husband puts in appearances at the Orthodox minyan from time to time. They are a full member of the Jewish community here.

You seem to get a lot of flack from people... I think that a chunk of this is self induced. I know PLENTY of people where husband and wife attend different minyanim, nobody cares. If they ask me where my wife is (or where her husband is), we usually answer with the where and continue the conversation. Generally it's because they like both of us and the follow up is "send him/her our love" not inquisitions.

Wed Nov 12, 01:52:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Miami Al, I will admit that my insistence on being counted in a minyan is based partially on the fact that I've grown accustomed to being essential to the count--attendance at our current shul is currently low enough that we frequently have exactly a minyan, counting women, right into the beginning of the Torah reading. That's also why my husband usually chants the haftarah, and I get an aliyah, several times a month. I suppose that, to be fair, moving to a synagogue (of any ideological stripe) that had a decent-sized membership would require some adjustment regarding expectations on the part of both of us.

"You seem to get a lot of flack from people... I think that a chunk of this is self induced." Probably. :( I haven't been a model of tolerance, nor do I know when to keep my big mouth shut. I've heard rumors that my former (and probably future) habit of shul-hopping via subway is shared by another member or two of our shul, but since the other shul-hopper(s) keep quiet about it, no one gets on their case.

Tue Nov 18, 07:16:00 PM 2014  

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