Tuesday, April 06, 2010

One day too long.....

היום שבעה ימים בעמר
שהם שבוע אחד בעמרToday is the seventh day,
making one week of the omerמלכות שבחסד

A day of majesty in a week of loving kindness

It's time for bread -- whoo hoo!

Some will wait until tonight, but my week of Passover ended after services this morning. Personally, I think it's time to drop the extra day added to the three Jewish Festivals--Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot--for Jews who live outside of Israel. (For those of you who don't get any of this, click here for an explanation.) We live in an age where we no longer rely on observation to determine the start of our lunar days. With no doubt as to when the Festivals start, there's no reason to add an extra day for safety. This is an ancient custom--not law--that has long outlived it's reason for being.

It's days like this that I feel myself moving further and further away from my roots in the Conservative Movement. One foundation of the movement was the understanding that how we live in the world changes through the centuries. We need to look at the customs and laws that our ancient sages set so that the religion could work in their new world environment and make adjustments for ours. Those are the teachings I want from each new generation of leaders.

Three and half years ago I ended this post with my declaration that I no longer would identify as a Conservative Jew. Nothing has changed since then. There's been lots and lots and lots of talk--but no action. The leadership talks about how aware they are of the falling membership in synagogues and the increasing disengagement of the members that remain. But all their solutions seem to be centered around wooing that elusive "young adult" demographic. I wish they would listen to my friend, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, who wrote in this article for the Jewish Daily Forward:
"In fact, the most successful programs that I can think of — in terms of lifespan, vitality and overall contribution to the Jewish community — are those that are not defined by age or generational identification. They’re opportunities for people with common interests to come together to work from a Jewish perspective on a cause or issue about which they feel passionate, to pray with a particular sensibility, to make or enjoy Jewish cultural offerings or to take part in study that touches the heart. These are programs that have depth, substance and vision, and have been created by the same types of people who ultimately participate in them."
The type of programs that Danya describes are the ones I'm looking to attend and to create. When asked, I refer to myself as "post-denominational" to avoid any labels. I'm enjoying "free agent" status, open to all opportunities that come my way.

I will have alot more to say about this subject as I write through this omer period. With all my talk of cutting loose, I'm someone who likes to have a place--and that place is proving hard to find. Maybe my task will be to keep that place within me, so any space can become my place.

1 comment:

Sara Shostak said...

Just a quick note to say that I'm enjoying your Omer posts; already, they are part of how I'm reminding myself to count each day!