|Volume 3 Number 69||Sat Dec 18 23:55:05 1993|
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 14:18:27 PST From: Your Moderator <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Administrivia I have just a few things that I'd like to mention. First, although I don't normally announce new subscribers (and we've gotten quite a few of late, especially from America OnLine), I do periodically announce when we have new subscribers that might be of general interest (for example, new Rabbis that have joined the list). In that vein, I'd like to welcome Rabbi Allan Smith (Smitty) to the list. Rabbi Smith is the Director of the UAHC Youth Division, which is responsible for all aspects of Youth Programming within the Reform Movement. Hopefully, Rabbi Smith (or his program assistant) will join in to discussions with respect to youth programming (and remember, getting them when they're young helps keep them in Judaism -- at least it worked for me!). They're also working on getting their Israel office connected; if you have information on how to do that, drop a note to email@example.com. Another recent new subscriber is Ha'Etgar, the Jewish Student Newspaper at the University of California, Berkeley. Secondly, I'm planning to take some vacation between December 21 and January 1st. I may or may not be checking my mail during this period (it all depends if my wife, firstname.lastname@example.org, lets me bring my laptop with me). Thus, if you don't get immediate response to a submission, unsubscribe, or postpone request, that's why. Lastly, I've made some additional changes in one of my maintenance programs that I use to maintain the list. As you are aware, I am not a listserv! Rather, I maintain a mailing list file that contains addresses of the form: First Last <address> with comment lines inbetween them. Via these comment lines, I can add commands to handle some of the maintenance offline; in particular, I can suspend you from the list (at your request) while you're on vacation; when the date indicating the end of the suspension is reached, the program automatically reactivates your participation, and send you any missed back issues. This used to always start from the time I added the comment until the resumption date. I've now added the capability to specify a date for the suspension (i.e., postpone from mm/dd/yy until mm/dd/yy). I also have the capability to unsubscribe you on a specified date; resume you from unsubscribing with back issues being sent; add a new user; change addresses on a specific date; or resend issues because of transmission problems. So, if you know in advance when you won't be here, I can set it up to hold your digests until you return, and then flood you with them :-). Daniel
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 11:47:46 EST From: Ward Walker <email@example.com> Subject: Re: An Appropriate Blessing If you feel a situation warrents a blessing, but don't know the proper traditional blessing, or an appropriate one doesn't exist --- make one up! Just begin with the traditional formula ``Baruch Atah A----i, Elohaynu Melech HaOlam'' --- and create your own ending. (Feel free to state the ending in English.) These spontaneous blessings ``from the heart'' can be very moving. While I feel it is important to know and use the traditional blessings, we liberal Jews should not be afraid to be creative. I learned this from Larry Hoffman, faculty member at HUC, the formost Reform authority on liturgy, and a great teacher. Edward Walker Cambridge MA firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 10:23:08 -0800 From: email@example.com (Rick Dinitz) Subject: Re: An Appropriate Blessing To sanctify the already poignant moment when good friends must part (for a long time) Mark Frydenberg chose a brakhah ending with "she-asanu chaverim." I think it's beautiful. At such moments one might also bless one another as we bless our children as we welcome Shabbat: Yivarech'cha Adonai v'yishm'recha... Mark asks: "For what other occasions for which there are not appropriate traditional blessings have people created their own?" The last decade has seen a flurry of new brakhot and other ritual innovations composed to fill the liturgical gaps in modern life. I am always eager to hear about the gaps that people have identified, and how they filled those gaps with spiritual matter. Rick [firstname.lastname@example.org] Copyright 1993, Rick Dinitz
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 11:05:00 From: email@example.com (Bill Easley) Subject: Re: An Appropriate Blessing I think a variation of the traditional priestly blessing would be in order. While the invoking of the patriarchs or matriarchs may not fit, wishing that the Almighty's countenance shine upon your friends is a very warming thought. Of course, I've always enjoyed the simple Spanish farewell: "Vaya con Dios." [Hmmm, we always use "hasta lumbago" :-) -- Yr. Mod.] Bill Easley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1993 09:23:04 -0800 (PST) From: Constance Stillinger <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Non-Jews in Congregational Life Aherrera@klaven.tci.com (Alex Herrera) wrote: > Of course conversion should be considered carefully, but some people are > just lazy and they need a little push to get their tush in gear. I can't > think of a better way to motivate someone to get it done than to call > attention to their ritual condition each time they want to do something > Jewish. ... > > We've got a good product here. It's called Judaism. Let's not sell it cheap. > When you give things away as if they had no value, people treat them as if > they were valueless. ... In my opinion, the question is not whether the Gentile partner is being given an incentive to convert, but rather whether there's any point any more to being a Jew if the distinctions between Jew and Gentile are erased. My question is compatible with Alex's point about whether Judaism is treated as something valuable or valueless. Connie
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 15:40:50 CDT From: Caryn Olczyk <COLCZYK%NUACVM.ACNS.NWU.EDU@uicvm.uic.edu> Subject: Re: Non-Jews in Congregational Life Speaking as someone who chose Judaism. How do you explore Judaism if you're not welcome? I was a member of my temple before I was married and before I became a Jew. Becoming Jewish is not something you put off. It's a long process and it takes time. Do you wish to force people to make a decision that will affect them the rest of their lives? Do you wish for people to feel pressured? If I had felt pressured to make a decision, I am not sure I could have made a decision to become Jewish before I was ready. I would have backed off. By being allowed to participate almost fully in temple life, I was able to decide that becoming Jewish was a good thing and the right thing for me. It's not right for all people. That's my 2c for the day. Caryn Olczyk firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 13:53:00 -0800 From: email@example.com (Rick Dinitz) Subject: Re: Non-Jews in Congregational Life So far the discussion of non-Jews participating in congregational life has focused on "privileges" such as synagogue membership, committee assignment, synagogue office, and bimah honors. This is not unsual, considering that this is the stuff of which congregational life is made. However, it feels odd to me to speak of these things predominantly as the "perks" of becoming a Jew. While they are certainly desirable, I think this characterization is too narrow. They are simultaneously the rewards and the responsibilities of Jewish communal life. We benefit from membership in the synagogue and its associated organizations, yet membership and participation are also part of what we owe to our Jewish community. So far, I haven't heard anyone ask questions like, "What does it mean to permit non-Jews to accept such things as responsibilities?" After we discuss that angle, we will still need to consider that these things are more than the rewards, rights and responsibilities of membership in a Jewish community -- they are the stuff of community itself. They are the bricks that form the building and the mortar that holds it together. They are the cells that form the body and the blood that nourishes it. What does it mean for a Jewish body to be made of and sustained by non-Jewish cells? Of course most of the people we're talking about are non-Jewish spouses in mixed families who have made some connection to the synagogue. So in reality they are part of the community anyway. The point is to bring them closer to the community, and the goal is to help them become Jews. They already belong to our communities; how can we best facilitate their entry into our covenant? I don't have the answers to any of these three questions, but I know that thinking about these issues is essential. By comparison, who gets which privileges and honors is background noise. Rick [firstname.lastname@example.org] Copyright 1993, Rick Dinitz
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 14:01:40 -0800 From: email@example.com (Rick Dinitz) Subject: Re: Non-Jews in Congregational Life Alex writes: > If the non-Jews don't think enough of our religion and people to take the > trouble to join the tribe, I say we don't need them. But we do need them. The most desirable outcome is that they become Jews and lead full Jewish lives. Isn't that what all this is about? If they need a more gradual path to commitment and covenant, then we should pave one. Maybe we need even those who will never become Jews. On behalf of their children, who deserve a Jewish religious and spiritual life, we need to keep them involved in the synagogue community. Consider this actual case study (true except the names are changed). Mark is Jewish. Linda is not. Since their marriage and the birth of their children, Mark has become more involved in Judaism. First by attending Shabbat services, then a weekday minyan. He was a founder of the synagogue brotherhood. He reads Torah on Shabbat mornings, and studies in a regular Talmud shiur. Linda agreed to keep a kosher home, and to educate the children in the synagogue religious school. She frequently attends Shabbat morning services with her family. She participates in adult education courses, synagogue-related activities and groups (even though she cannot be a member). To most observers Linda lives a Jewish life. However, Linda has said that she cannot take the final step of becoming a Jew. The children are Jewishly more knowledgeable and involved than most children of two Jewish parents. I expect they will be eager to declare their personal commitment to Judaism when the come of age. If they survive the spiritual crises of adolescence, they will be excellent members of any synagogue community. It seems to me that it is inappropriate and counterproductive to trivialize Linda's partial commitment. Attitudes and policies with this effect are likely to alienate the children, or leave them torn and confused. I would think twice before risking such an outcome. Rick [firstname.lastname@example.org] Copyright 1993, Rick Dinitz
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1993 19:19:00 +0000 From: Julian Yudelson <YUDELSON.JE@a1.rit.edu> Subject: Re: Volunteers for Israel go SAR EL...To all those on the list. I want to roundly second the last post for Sar El. I went four years ago as part of a community group - @ 50 people from Rochester and Buffalo NY. I really loved it as did virtually everyone on the trip. The work is not exciting, but it needs to be done. The living conditions are not up to the King David Hotel, but even David ha Melech spent time in the backcountry. If you want to really get in touch with all that is going on in Israel, can spare 3 weeks out of your life style, and want to get much more than you give.....Sar El is the way to go. BTW... you don't have to be Jewish to go, work, and have a great time. Julian Yudelson
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