Shavuot starts tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 14th) ! Here’s a list of what’s happening where. Did we miss anything? List it in the comments.
(obligatory picture of cheesecake)
Austin’s Annual Jewish Community Tikkun Leil Shavuot
Community Tikkun at the JCC of the East Bay (Includes family programming a supervised space for children to sleep over.)
Larger list of Bay Area stuff
Brookline Community Tikkun Leil Shavuot at Congregation Kehilath Israel. (Sessions and teachers here)
Isabella Freedman- Shavuot: This Year’s Revelation and Hazon: Torah of Food
Accessible from NYC
Mishkan Chicago: Sha.voo.ote: Revelations in Creativity, Politics, Spirituality & Torah
5773 Lakeview Tikkun Leil Shavuot
Upper 16th St Tikkun (Fabrangen, Ohev Sholom, Segulah, Shirat HaNefesh, Tifereth Israel)
Shtibl Minyan retreat at Brandeis Bardin campus of the AJU
Community Tikkun at Temple Beth Am
Montgomery County, Maryland
Tikkun Leil Shavuot with Moishe House MoCo and Congregation Beth El Montgomery County
5th Annual Shavuot Tikkun Leil: A Joint Torah Venture among Beth Israel, Gates of Prayer, Shir Chadash
Shavuot Across Brooklyn
Tikkun Leyl Shavuot at the JCC Manhattan (Upper West Side)
Yiddish Farm (New Hampton, NY)
Community Tikkun Leil Shavuot
Tikkun Leyl Shavuot at Penn
Santa Rosa, CA
Congregation Beth Ami
Downtown Tikkun Leil Shavuot
This is a guest post by Eliana Fishman, who lives, works, and prays in Washington DC. (See the response by Raphael Magarik here.)
What is the American Jewish story, and how do we tell it?
The question of whether or not to say Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut has become a symbol of the division between religious Zionists and religious anti-Zionists. Religious Zionists, in particular followers of Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook, recite Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut with a blessing, while religious anti-Zionists do not say Hallel at all. On Yom Ha’atzmaut liturgical choice represents political orientation. This binary leaves American Jewish congregations in a bind. Is Yom Ha’atzmaut a day when American Jews can pray together? How can a community committed to a multitude of opinions around Zionism also share liturgy?
I don’t say Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut. Not because I am an anti-Zionist (I’m not), not because I have lefty politics (I do), and not because I’m not a daily davener (I am). I don’t say Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut because I am an American Jew. Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut is not about Zionism, and it’s not about joy over the establishment of a Jewish state. Hallel is about narrative.
One of the earliest references to Hallel’s recitation is in Masechet Pesachim 117a. The Talmud explains that Hallel is not about simple joy, but about the narrative of redemption. A baraita specifies six cases where the entirety of the Jewish people (or what Chazal considered to be adequate representation of the entirety of the Jewish people) faced life-threatening adversity (e.g. at the Red Sea, when Joshua faced the Canaanites, when Deborah and Barak faced Sisera, etc). In each situation God redeems the entirety of the Jewish people, and a prophet established Hallel. The seventh instance that the baraita brings is either a summary, or a distinct case. The unnamed chachamim state that in each and every era that the Jewish people experience danger, Israel’s prophets establish the recitation of Hallel, and, when the people are redeemed, Israel says Hallel because of their redemption.
In each of these cases Hallel is recited first for extreme danger, and then for redemption. There is never any sense of “redemption is about to occur”, or “redemption is continuous”. Additionally, according to this baraita, Hallel is only recited when the entirety of the Jewish people are redeemed.
Did the establishment of the State of Israel redeem the entire Jewish people, or did it redeem only Jews in the land of Israel? Were American Jews redeemed on May 14, 1948? In order to answer that question we have to explore what redemption may or may not have occurred with the establishment of the State of Israel. I have three possible responses to that question—the Holocaust answer, the Arab army answer, and the continual answer.
Here’s another great job opportunity in the Washington DC area! Jews United For Justice (JUFJ), DC’s local Jewish social justice organization, is hiring a Community Organizer (and yes, the position has actual responsibilities). JUFJ mobilizes the DC-area Jewish community to stand with our allies in other communities to work for social change that makes the region better for everyone. (You read about JUFJ in these pages a few months ago, when it ran a successful campaign to make the DC income tax more progressive, led by upper income earners saying “Please tax me!”)
The new full-time community organizer’s first project will be to lead a social justice campaign in Montgomery County, Maryland, along with a team of volunteer leaders. The full job description is after the jump.
In past posts, I’ve briefly mentioned the efforts of several families and organizations in my community to create a program for elementary school students that uses the regular afterschool hours for formal and informal Jewish education. We’ve been making good progress and I hope to post a bit more about our effort and the growing national movement of Jewish afterschool education programs. For now I want to share a bit about our effort and announce our director search.
We now have a name and a website:
We chose “MoEd” both because of our focus on regular formal and informal learning times and because we are creating a program that will give more Jewish education to many children in our community. For parents, MoEd will mean a combination of afterschool and vacation care with Hebrew language and Jewish education. For children in grades K-5, MoEd will mean a great place to play and learn all afternoon with a community of their peers. We have a primary location in Chevy Chase, MD and we’ve raised enough funds through a local Federation grant and many generous donations from members of our community to work towards a Fall 2012 opening and start our director search. (Fundraising continues and we’d be glad to hear from potential donors at firstname.lastname@example.org ) You can read a bit more about the program on the website and we hope to continue adding information there.
If you are interested in being our executive director or know someone who might be interested, here are the program and job details:
Children may enroll for 2, 3, 4, or 5 days per week, as well as on days when public schools are closed or close early. The program will run from the end of the school day until 6:30PM (except on winter Fridays). Transportation will be offered from several Montgomery County Public Schools.
We are seeking a candidate who has:
- The vision and desire to create a welcoming and enjoyable Jewish learning environment that will engage children in the playful and intensive study of Hebrew language and Judaics
- A minimum of 3 years as a lead administrator in an educational program, such as a school or camp
- 3 years minimum experience directly managing faculty
- 3 years minimum experience in developing or administering Jewish learning in formal or informal educational settings
- Strong verbal and written communications skills
- Primary responsibilities will include:
- To oversee, creatively develop, and execute our curriculum and programs
- To pro-actively manage logistics so that parents know their children are always in a safe environment
- To recruit and supervise teaching staff
- To work closely with teachers, students, parents, the MoEd board, the staffs of our collaborating synagogues, and the larger community in the Washington metro area
- To help manage the financial aspects of MoEd.
- To coordinate and encourage volunteer efforts
- To support Board fundraising efforts
Qualifications: The ideal candidate is an experienced academic administrator and teacher, with Hebrew language proficiency and Judaic knowledge. (S)he is excited about the prospect of developing this new program and has the vision and skills to do so. Experience as an administrator (e.g., camp, youth groups, elementary or religious/Hebrew schools) is required. Demonstrable experience with child development, multimodal learning styles, unstructured learning environments, and early language acquisition preferred. Familiarity with the Washington DC Metro-area Jewish community is preferred.
Competitive salary commensurate with experience. Position will be part-time from March 2012 through May 2012, becoming full-time in June 2012. We encourage all qualified and interested educational leaders to apply.
Please send any questions or a cover letter and resume to email@example.com. Applications received before January 8, 2012 will receive full consideration.
This is a guest post by Joelle Novey, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Rabbi David Shneyer, Jonah Adels, Phil Aroneanu, Laura Bellows, Lisa Jo Finstrom, Robert Friedman, Elizabeth Gaines, Johanna Galat, Richard Graves, Glenn Hurowitz, Joshua Kahn Russell, Lawrence MacDonald, Jeff Mann, Geri Maskell, Karen Menichelli, Sam Novey, Lore Rosenthal, Leslie Schwartz Leff, Harriet Shugarman, Joe Solomon, and Basia Yoffe, who were among 1,253 people arrested at the White House in August and September protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Jonah Adels. Photo credit: Josh Lopez
(Crossposted to the Huffington Post.)
We are Jewish folks who joined more than a thousand others in getting ourselves arrested in front of the White House this past summer protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline. Some of us are rabbis; many of us wore kippot that day; all of us did what we did because it felt, among other things, like a mitzvah.
Before the project was delayed last month, the pipeline would have carried crude oil from the Canadian tar sands across 1,700 miles and six states. The extraction of tar sands oil generates more heat-trapping climate pollution than other oil. Climate scientist James Hansen has said that fully exploiting the tar sands would essentially spell “game over” for our climate.
It would have been nice for us to know — as our Catholic, Methodist, Quaker, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian Universalist sisters and brothers knew — that our larger religious community supported our stand. But on the Keystone XL Pipeline, the major Jewish organizations were mostly silent.
Thanksgiving celebrators around the country, here ye. Amidst all your holiday planning and travel, and your decisions on how to spend “Black Friday,” please consider how you might conclude this festive weekend. On Saturday evening, Rosh Chodesh will be upon us. On Sunday morning it is traditional to give praise to the Most High. One way to do this is by Occupying Rosh Chodesh, as some of us are doing this Sunday at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. All are invited. For more information see below:
What is Rosh Chodesh? This Sunday November 27th we are entering into the darkest month of the year, Kislev. However, during the month of Kislev, we celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of light.
Why be Occupied with it? It’s easy to celebrate when life is pleasant, when victory has been achieved and when the weather is warm. Rosh Chodesh is a monthly celebration fueled by a historical memory of enslavement. No matter where we are in the struggle for freedom and justice, Jewish tradition commands us to find ways to join forces and sing together – to experience the feeling of what redemption will truly taste like.
How will we celebrate it? On the Thanksgiving Sunday, two days after Black Friday, we will welcome the Hebrew month of Kislev with song and praise. In contrast to the melodies used to urge us toward the season of ‘holiday shopping’ we will sing the traditional Hallel / songs of praise sung on Rosh Chodesh. As part of the service, there will also be a chance for some learning and reflection on how Rosh Chodesh connects to the wider Occupy movement. The whole service should last no longer than one hour.
Who is invited? We welcome people of all backgrounds, races, gender identities and religious/faith affiliations.
(Crossposted to Mah Rabu.)
This past weekend, the great city of Washington DC played host to Mechon Hadar’s fourth (approximately sesquiannual) Minyan Conference. Unlike the previous conferences, this one wasn’t called the Independent Minyan Conference (at least not exclusively). This wasn’t because the 10-1/2-year-old Kehilat Hadar is no longer an “independent minyan” by some definitions; it’s because the conference broadened its reach to other lay-led minyanim that are affiliated with larger institutions, such as synagogues and Hillels.
I was there representing Minyan Segulah (on the DC/Maryland border), and it was a great opportunity to network with organizers of other minyanim from San Francisco to London, discuss issues facing our communities, and yadda yadda yadda.
But I wanted to share one highlight. The prayer options on Friday night and Saturday morning included 5 local minyanim (including Segulah). For Shabbat mincha, there were two options at the conference location: a traditional egalitarian minyan downstairs, and a partnership minyan upstairs. Then during se’udah shelishit, they announced the same two options for ma’ariv. Some participants stood up and made another announcement: “We were also thinking about doing something alternative. If you’re interested, come to [location].” Multiple people shouted out “What is it?” They responded “Come to [location] and help figure it out.”
On the basis of no information beyond “something alternative”, 43 people showed up (out of around 120 participants).
As one might have expected from the announcement, there wasn’t a specific plan. A substantial fraction of the ~15 minutes allotted for ma’ariv was spent discussing what we should do. We also sang several niggunim (one of which had been taught at a session earlier that day, another of which was taught right then), and someone talked about transitioning from Shabbat into the week, and someone else connected Parshat Lech Lecha to her own recent experiences. And then it was time to join the rest of the group for havdalah.
A few of us were debriefing afterwards, and we agreed that this had been “Occupy the Minyan Conference”: get the people on board first, and the specific policy proposals come later. The significance of this event wasn’t the content, but the fact that so many people were attracted to it. There was a visible feeling of “We are the 36%”, and the excitement that we all knew from going to the first meeting of a new minyan, and a sense of empowered Judaism (two people spoke this gathering into being, and it was so). I don’t know what the larger message is (beyond the obvious – that anyone trying to generalize about the independent minyan organizer population (and, kal vachomer, the independent minyan participant population), by ascribing to them a particular religious outlook and style of practice, is being lazy and missing the mark). But it was a reminder not to let anything get stale.
This is a guest post by Leah Staub, who was recently flummoxed by the question of whether, in addition to reading torah/haftarah and leading services, she can “give sermons.” Apparently not everyone believes that we each have our own torah to share with each other.
“And all the earth was of one language and one set of words….The Lord confused the language of all the earth and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of all the earth.” –Genesis 11:9
“This statement is ours, and for anyone who will get behind it. Representing ourselves (not the movement as a whole), we bring this call for revolution. We want freedom for all, without regards for identity, because we are all people, and because no other reason should be needed.” –September 17 Call to Action
* * * * *
Every Monday night, I join together with a group of folks, the DC Beit Midrash, to study Jewish texts. This week, we had the honor and privilege of studying with Virginia Spatz. Focusing on the story of the Tower of Babel, we spent much of the evening trying to discern what the people did wrong in the story—quickly dispensing of the notion that it had to do with trying to reach heaven—and the degree of wrongness, given that the people are not cursed or specifically punished. Their plan to fortify themselves in a single location is merely foiled.
A local here in DC asked me to write a bit about how there came to be Jewish practice at Occupy Wall St, Occupy K St and elsewhere. I wrote a bit and thought it might be interesting to other folks. So, here ’tis:
Since the industrial revolution, and perhaps even before, Jews have figured prominently in the intellectual and practical movements that created capitalism as well as those that opposed it. Jews have always been disproportionately represented on both sides of the inequality debate. In the 1980s Milton Friedman wrote a famous essay on what he viewed as a paradox–if Jews have benefited a great deal from capitalism why do they tend to oppose it. Jews working against inequality and capitalism is not new, it has existed as long as capitalism has (thanks to Brent Chaim Spodek for pointing me towards this essay).
The question of Jews and Occupy Wall St/Occupy K St/etc was never one of whether we would be involved, but when and how. As the high holidays approached, many were split between wanting to focus on the spiritual discipline that comes with this season in the Jewish calendar and the activist fervor that was building. The idea sprung up that we wouldn’t have to chose! We could host services in solidarity with the emerging movement.
This is not just any year. We are in a state of moral crisis as a country. The richest among us continue to live lives of great wealth (perhaps even opulence), while our nation, the richest on earth, sees families go to bed hungry. Many felt that praying in a new and different way was more appropriate on that night and many nights since. Rather than in a big beautiful synagogue, sometimes it’s better to pray in the street.
+972 Mag is a brilliant idea. Take a dozen lefty Israeli activists, freelance journalists and independent analysts who blog separately in English and then consolidate their personal bloggings together in a sharp, clearly organized portal for the Anglo-speaking world to read first-hand accounts of political action in Israel and the territories. Few blogs on Israel-Palestine are a majority of original reporting and even fewer are as politically diverse as they are. If they blogged about Judaism every once in a while, they may as well be Jewschool’s sibling blog.
This Sunday, October 16, at Bus Boys and Poets Cafe in DC, you can meet Aziz Abu-Sarah, Lisa Goldman and Joseph Dana for a panel “Israeli & Palestinian Journalists Discuss Revolutions and Political Impasse.” Click link for details.
Friday October 7th, 7:15 AM: I wake up to a text message. It’s Eli Kasargod-Staub. He wanted to see if we could get together a kol nidrei service like the one being planned in NYC by Mobius et al. We had less than 10 hours before sunset.
8:30am: The facebook invite goes up.
Mid-day: E-mails zip around, people keep inviting folks, RSVPs roll in.
5:30pm: People start rolling in. A torah arrives from the Religious Action Center. A table pops up from the AFL-CIO. Max Socol brings a table.
6:00pm: People are still streaming in as Alys Cohen starts to sing a niggun.
With just a few hours to prepare, like other OccupyJudaism events, we thought we’d be lucky to get a minyan. What ended up happening was truly shocking. Within a few hours 69 people RSVPed and roughly 200 showed up. The ages ranges from a baby (9-months) to many folks in their 70s (perhaps even 80s). We had professional activists, students, people living in the OccupyKst camp, Jewish communal workers, think-tank-types, and even a few corporate lawyers. Some donned kittels, white kippot and/or tallitot, others attended in none of the conventional trappings. Since we were in McPherson Square, a busy plot right, smack, in the middle of downtown DC, there was a lot of bustle around us. We drew in near around the table (thanks AFL-CIO!) on which the Torah (thanks Religious Action Center!) sat. Used to praying Kol Nidre in straight rows of chairs, being so closely packed, shoulder-to-shoulder, with fellow supplicants was a new experience.
The davening was powerful. We used much of the same material as the Kol Nidre service happening at OccupyWallSt (thanks team NYC!). Speaking personally, I think of Yom Kippur as a time to disrupt our lives so we can gain a deeper understanding. This Kol Nidrei did a lot to disrupt people’s understanding of Judaism and what it could mean in their lives. Many came up to me afterward and shared that it had been the most powerful, meaningful, exciting, or surprising YK experience they had everhad . It was certainly all of those things to me.
Among the contributions of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to the Israel-Palestinian peace process was introducing the demand, as a precondition for resuming peace talks, that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The Palestinians rejected this pre-condition; explanations of the Palestinian position can be found in a May Foreign Policy article, and from a 2009 piece in Palestine Monitor by one Abu Yusef (no relation) which provides a pithy summary of the problem with Netanyahu’s proposal:
“recognizing Israel as a Jewish state means giving up the right of return
prior to sitting down at the negotiating table. Though this right may
some day be surrendered or altered in the final status agreements
establishing a Palestinian state, giving it up prior to negotiations
severely weakens the Palestinian negotiating team by limiting the amount of tools at their disposal.”
But fear not, lovers of the Jewish State of Israel, because while the Palestinians haven’t been willing to declare Israel as a Jewish state, Capitol Hill has been eager to.
Yesterday, one congressman released this statement:
My condolences go out to the families and friends of the Israelis who were murdered in Southern Israel today and to all of the people of the Jewish State of Israel. (emphasis added.)
That struck me as an odd locution. But it turns out that it is increasingly common on Capitol Hill. A Google search shows it used about 46 times at house.gov. All but two come after Netanyahu first raised the issue.
So, Mazel Tov, Bibi. With diplomatic ties to Congress better than ever, who needs relations with Turkey?
Here are two spectacular opportunities to get involved with justice work through Jews United For Justice, DC’s local Jewish social justice organization.
Are you age ~25-35 and interested in learning about Jewish social justice activism? The Jeremiah Fellowship is a transformative 9-month program combining a thoughtful exploration of progressive Judaism with training in effective social justice activism and education on local DC justice issues. Fellows gather on alternating Wednesday nights for skills training, conversation about Jewish values, and intimate conversations with each other and with local activists, organizers, scholars, and rabbis. In the words of one of last year’s Fellows, Jeremiah “was beyond awesome. Transformative! Inspiring! Young D.C.-area Jews interested in social justice: apply!”
Read more about the program here and download an application here. Applications are due Monday, August 22, although earlier applications are encouraged.
Can’t apply yourself this year? Invite your friends and colleagues and pass the word on!
Email jeremiah at jufj.org or call 202-408-1423 x2 with any questions.
Are you age 21-26 and looking for a full-time job in DC? Come work with Jews United for Justice and help make the Washington region more equal and just by organizing the Jewish community to support workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and key safety net programs that benefit the most vulnerable in our community. This unique opportunity is offered through AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, and combines stipended full-time work with group living and weekly opportunities to learn about ways to make change in the world and the Jewish connection to social justice.
Candidates must be able to start in DC by August 28 to participate in AVODAH orientation.
Read more about the job and apply!
(Crossposted to Mah Rabu.)
In the District of Columbia, the highest income tax bracket begins at $40,000. You read that right: a person making $40,000/year and a person making $40,000,000/year are taxed at the same marginal rate.
Like many states across the country, DC is in a budget crunch this year because the recession leads to both lower tax revenues and higher demand for safety-net services. As a result, DC’s social safety net is at risk. Mayor Vincent Gray’s proposed budget makes the tax brackets ever so slightly more progressive, with an additional 0.4% tax on income above $200,000. This is a trivial increase for high-income earners (millionaires would owe another $3200 per year), and still would not prevent cuts to the safety set, but it is a step in the right direction. Yet some Councilmembers are opposing even this minor tax increase.
Enter the Jewish community. As the Washington Jewish Week reports this week, DC’s Jewish community, led by Jews United For Justice, has been at the forefront of efforts to tell the Council that the people of DC really wouldn’t mind paying higher taxes in exchange for a better city to live in. (91% of people in the affluent Wards 2 and 3 support a tax increase.)
The article also includes an obligatory quote from a (probably Jewish) libertarian representing midat Sedom (“What’s mine is mine”), riddled with factual errors (in addition to what ZT points out in the comments, I don’t think the DC Treasury actually accepts donations — this would run afoul of corruption laws).
Still, most of the Jewish community understands that we all have obligations to our society and to our neighbors. If you live in DC and want to make sure that this perspective wins out, get involved with JUFJ’s efforts.
This is a guest post by Lawrence MacDonald and Geri Maskell, co-chairs of the Green Team at Temple Rodef Shalom, the largest Jewish congregation in Virginia. The authors can be contacted at lawrencemacdonald at gmail.
We are two members of Temple Rodef Shalom, a Reform synagogue in northern Virginia, who are exploring with fellow congregants what it means to be a “green” congregation as the world teeters on the brink of rapid, catastrophic climate change. This is our unfinished story.
For the past four years, we have been working with our clergy and lay leaders to increase attention to the climate change threat. We invited speakers and organized events, helped to reduce energy use within the synagogue, promoted home energy conservation, organized temple members to write letters and make phone calls in an effort to block construction of a new coal-fired power plant in southwestern Virginia, and visited Richmond as participants in a Jewish Advocacy day to lobby for clean energy.
Meanwhile, nearly every year has set a new record high average global temperature. The Arctic ice is shrinking much faster than experts predicted. Extreme weather events are claiming lives and dislocating millions of people: fires in Russia, floods in Pakistan and Australia, and just this month drought-fueled wildfires in Texas and an unprecedented spate of killer tornadoes across the southeastern U.S.
Scientists are alarmed but much of the American public, confused by coal and oil industry propaganda, is complacent. Climate legislation stalled in the Senate, then died after the mid-term elections. President Obama, who had spoken passionately about the climate threat, has stopped saying “climate,” preferring to talk about “clean energy.” The U.S. failure to act has torpedoed international negotiations.
The technology exists to substantially cut the emission of heat-trapping gasses, slowing climate change. But there is a failure of political will. Could our tiny efforts in Temple Rodef Shalom make a difference in the face of this impending catastrophe? Is there something more that we and other Jews could do to help sound the alarm?
I was fortunate enough to get interviews (on video!) with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative and Mona Eltahawy, both incredible thinkers and speakers. The internet at my hostel (and at the conference) is incredibly slow, so I’ll post them once I’m back at home.
More generally, though, the conference this year has a different feel than the last. The moments of complete inspiration are a bit fewer, but there’s much more of a sense of cohesiveness between sessions. J Street has really matured as an organization, and I think a lot of the credit for this goes to the work of the locals, who provide a reference to the real conditions that activists face in attempting to advance the Israel-Palestine discussion on the ground. This isn’t to enforce the view of all Washington politicians as part of a bubble, totally disconnected from the outside world, just to say that a connection to those who are actually the constituents is an invaluable asset for an organization that values its supporters’ views.
Now more than ever, I feel that J Street values mine.
Crossposted to The Reform Shuckle
Zoo Minyan, an independent minyan that meets in the neighborhood around the zoo in DC, is not meeting for davening this week. Why do I care? And why is this interesting? Let me back up:
I’m on the Bolt Bus, headed down to DC for the J Street Conference. The conference proper doesn’t start until Saturday night, but I’m heading down to spend Shabbat in DC, hoping to get some good shul-hopping done for your reading pleasure.
My plan was to go to multi-denominational, non-membership, convention-defying synagogue Sixth and I tonight and to the still-extant, just had their 40th birthday, proving all the “indie minyans will never last people wrong,” first-wave chavurah Fabrangen tomorrow morning.
But then, while emailing back and forth with Mah Rabu blogger and fellow Jewschooler BZ, he suggested the I try out Zoo Minyan instead. Apropos my post from the other day about feminizing the theology of Kaddish Shalem, he thought I might like Zoo Minyan. During their service, they apparently alternate between masculine and feminine names for God. So I got a little excited to see that in practice.
Then, as I’m sitting here on this bus, I get this e-mail from BZ with this post from their blog:
Zoo Minyan – No Davvening, but some learning, Sat. Feb 26
Zoo Minyan is not meeting for davenning Sat. Feb 26.
Sorry folks! Insufficient leyning turn-out for Zoo this shabbos, wouldn’t be lichvod Torah. Apologies for the short notice / change of plans.
But feel free to stop by for some learning after davenning elsewhere (or after shaarei sheina / sleeping in, as is your custom).
So, it’s Fabrangen for more tomorrow, after all.
But it’s not a total waste because I have some thoughts to share that came out of this failure to launch. The first time I heard such an attitude from an indie minyanaire was from an organizer of the ultra-lightweight London minyan Wandering Jews. They don’t organize anything other than a place and time. They refuse to beg people to be hosts. If no one volunteers to host, there’s no davening. If not enough people bring stuff for the potluck, there’s no communal dinner. Etc.
I heard a woman speak about this approach at Limmud Colorado a couple of years ago. She said, if people value Wandering Jews, they will make it happen. And if they’re not making it happen, then it isn’t valuable and they should just let it go and slip away. This stands in about the starkest contrast possible to the synagogue continuity-obsessed folks.
And at Zoo Minyan, it seems there is a somewhat similar attitude. And now I don’t get to go. Oh well, their loss. And Fabrangen’s gain.
For those of you in the DC area: The community is joining together on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, at 7 pm, at the Religious Action Center, 2027 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC, to sing the songs of Debbie Friedman z”l and remember her far-reaching legacy. Please spread the word to your friends and communities. You can RSVP at the Facebook event page.
For those of you who aren’t in the DC area: What’s been going on in your area?