|Volume 1 Number 11||Fri Aug 23 7:18:41 1991|
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 91 15:31 EDT From: email@example.com Subject: Reconstructionism I haven't yet seen any mention of Reconstructionist Judaism on this mailing list; the prevailing discussion seems to be Reform Judaism versus Conservative/Orthodox Judaism. yet I do see comments such as: From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Books on Reform History/Intermarriage > ... In the diaspora, people need to identify with a branch > of Judaism. Secular Judaism, as exists in Israel, doesn't really exist > in this country. (i.e. If you want a Chanuka party, you need to find > a community. In Israel, you need only walk to the neighbor's home.) > > Given the need to affiliate as a means of identification forces choices. > Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism offer halachah. Reform offers choice > and tends to be non-judgmental (or at least, less judgmental). As a > result, many choose Reform as a vehicle to Jewish identity, rather than > as a commitment to Reform Jewish principles. Now perhaps I am confused by the term "Liberal Judaism." Certainly our moderator says, "in the UK and in other countries, the Reform movement is sometimes referred to as Liberal Judaism." On the other hand, any discussion comparing and contrasting the various movements should take into account Reconstructionism which as far as I can tell does provide that notion of secular Judaism, or at least that sense of Jewish community, that people seem to find lacking. (Of course, the fact that there is no Reconstructionist synagogue anywhere near me means I have to do my reading on my own, but this is how I interpret Mordecai Kaplan's book.) Evelyn C. Leeper | +1 908 957 2070 | att!mtgzy!ecl or email@example.com [I most certainly agree. Discussion of Reconstuctionist Judaism is more than welcome here. -- Your Moderator]
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 91 14:00:48 EDT From: Larry J Lennhoff <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Reform/Reconstructionist Temples in Jerusalem I plan to be in Jerusalem from sometime in September through the end of the year. Can anyone recommend a friendly reconstructionist or reform/liberal place for me to worship? Thanks in advance Larry J Lennhoff
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 07:13:06 PDT From: Daniel Faigin <email@example.com> Subject: Reform/Reconstructionist Temples in Jerusalem As I recall, the Hebrew Union College has a branch in Jerusalem and there is a Reform Synagogue there. Daniel
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 91 09:02:26 EDT From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Thoughts on Funding Synagogues About 8 years ago, I saw a study from the greater Chicago area on synagogue costs. I sent an s.a.s.e. to get a copy. They never sent it to me. I misplaced the address so I was unable to follow up. But here are some of the salient points: 1. It didn't matter whether you were in a big congregation or not. The cost to run a congregation was about $650 per membership unit. (This surprised me. We might have expected economy of scale in larger congregations or economy due to fewer services in smaller congregations. Neither was apparently the case!) 2. Typically dues were 65% of the income. The other 35% came from fund raising. In some cases, endowments help offset costs. I assume that with inflation over the intervening eight years, the cost per membership unit today is probably in the neighborhood of $1100. Anecdotally, a member of a small mid-western congregation lamented, that the economic downfall of his local synagogue was when the local country club allowed Jews to become members. The synagogue was now defocussed as a primary source of recreation (over and above the religious.) When faced with a choice of country club dues or synagogue dues, synagogues began to lose. Today we see people willing to pay more for cable television than for their temples!
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 91 07:01:38 PDT From: Daniel P. Faigin <email@example.com> Subject: Thoughts on Funding Synagogues As we have been talking about the subject, I figured I might as well bring in the numbers from my synagogue, which is a mid-sized (around 400 families) Reform congrgation in Northridge, California. We have recently completed building of new school buildings and (as a result) are a bit tighter financially that we were a few years ago. Income from membership dues is supplemented by other sources, in particular, an active Bingo program. The basic membership dues are as follows: Married over 35....... $1275 Single over 35...... $640 Married Young Adults.. 640 Single Young Adults. 320 Married ECEC Family... 960 Single ECEC Family.. 480 Married Senior........ 550 Single Senior....... 280 ECEC is Early Childhood Enrichment Center. Given the large percentage of two wage earners in the community, I would presume by this structure that the assumption is that once you are over 35, you're established in your business. There is also a building fund which ranges from 150 to 300 per year, depending on when you joined the congregation. I don't know the rates for the religious school, since I don't have children. Rates for additional high holiday tickets (for non-member family members) are $180 for adults and $100 for students. How does this compare with your synagogue? Daniel
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 91 08:48:39 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ruth Radetsky) Subject: What Does it mean to be a Jew? What does it mean to be a Jew? I have a strong Jewish identity, but I am an atheist--not an agnostic. I want no part of the religion, and don't want to define my Judaism through religion. I don't want to define it totally in terms of identification with the history of oppression. I'm afraid of nationalism in general, and don't want to define it in terms of identification with the state of Israel. And yet, I am a Jew. It is not the first label I would use, but if I had to use 5 words to describe myself, "Jew" would be one of them. My grandparents were all Orthodox (though time, illness, convenience, and trauma have changed that some). My parents called themselves Jews, and we never had a Christmas tree (I didn't miss it) but there was little observance in our home, and none after I was 15. My sister is religious, but does not identify as Jewish. I am Jewish, but not religious. There are some places and times where there would be no issue: Ancestry would determine it with no choice on my part. But I have a choice. Perhaps to be Jewish means simply that I choose to be Jewish, to identify with a history and a culture, a few rituals, and an ethical system. But that doesn't seem like enough to account for the passion and urgency the question has for me. I know I am not unique; however there are few gathering places for Jews not involved with the religion. I don't know whether this discussion group is an appropriate place to raise these questions, but I know that soc.cuture.jewish is _not_. So does anyone want to correspond with me about these issues, or discuss it in the newsletter? If anyone has a bibliography on the issue, that might be a good starting point. Ruth Radetsky
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