A secular shabbat?

Ha’aretz reports:

Secular Israelis find their muse while visiting American Jewish congregations. Tel Aviv dwellers as well as kibbutzniks are getting together, mixing traditional Sabbath prayers with new Hebrew poetry.


“We visited there,” says Jaeger, “in the context of a project that was organized by the Jewish Federation of San Francisco, aimed at making Israelis familiar with the variety of Jewish life in the United States. This was a meaningful experience for all the people who went on the trip, including the Orthodox. Mainly it was clear to us that this didn’t resemble any synagogue we know in Israel. Now, I’m a Jerusalemite, but I grew up in the heart of Tel Aviv and it seems to me that, in fact, the secular city is more comfortable ground for new religious experiments than Jerusalem. We also thought we would find there the audience we want to address.”

But will the good kids of Shenkin street catch on?

8 thoughts on “A secular shabbat?

  1. I think that there’s a ‘pirkei avot/ethics of our fathers’ saying something like ‘if it’s done for the sake of G-d, then it will last’, if it’s not done for the sake of G-d, it will not last’.

  2. Are you thinking of “Metoch she lo leshma ba leshma” ?
    Something which is not initially done for godly reasons will eventually come to be done for godly reasons.
    I’d buy that.
    I figure any religious experience that is not meant to mock G-d can only bring you closer to him.

  3. Found the one I refered to…
    Chapter 4
    14. Rabbi Yochanan the sandal-maker said: Every assembly that is for a hallowed purpose shall in the end be established. But any assembly that is not for a hallowed purpose shall not ultimately be established.
    … but I also believe in your idea Shifra, the best example being the current state of Israel created secularly, yet with zionist intentions. Eventually, actually, as we speak, it’s evolving into a real Jewish state as well.

  4. I’m with Shifra. “We must act out passion before we can feel it.” I’m not sure Sartre was talking about Shabbos, but I do think there’s some truth there.

  5. I will add my support to Shifra’s comments. Growing up we did ‘creative’ services in youth group and they were always very popular. We would do a little bit of poetry, a few other creative readings, and important parts of the regular service. They usually came out very nice and were very enjoyable for everybody.

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