Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bow Tie

I was curious to see if anyone else noticed this. Everytime on Shabbos when I daven at a large Young Israel or Modern Orthodox shul I always spot at least one guy wearing a bow tie. Who is this token bow tie dude in all of these shuls? Can you imagine seeing someone wear a bow tie on Shabbos in a charedi shul? I just thought that this was weird and that I have rarely been in any of these type of shuls and not see a token bow tie guy.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Follow Up to JTS survey

In my last post, I questioned who JTS was sending the survey to and I why everyone did not get it. This past week, I was at a wedding and was sitting next to a JTS graduate. This graduate is mentioned on the United Synagogue webpage as a former USYer who helped develop a webpage Kosher New York. If the Conservative Movement wants to take credit for this person you would think they would email them a survey on this issue, right? Think again. He didn't get any survey in his email. I spoke as well to another JTS graduate who is living in Israel who did not receive the survey either. Not only is my friend in Israel a JTS graduate, his father is a Conservative Rabbi who graduated from the Seminary and he never saw the survey. As a matter of fact, he asked me to email him the survey because he wanted to see it. I once again went to the JTS webpage and tried to find the survey but was not successful. I am not sure what the result of this survey is but I am sure they did not reach out to the people who care about this issue. I also find it funny that everyone that I know that has graduated JTS that has any form of connection to Yiddishkeit is now Orthodox. What does that say about JTS and the whole Conservative movement? If the movement had any intelligence, instead of surveying people within the movement about how they can increase membership and improve their shuls, maybe they should ask people why they left the movement instead because they might learn something.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Survey on Conservative Movement by JTS

I have learned today from Yid with Lid from his post today that The Jewish Week had an article regarding the Survey JTS sent out via email to find out what people thought about the recent decision the Conservative movement made allowing open Gays and Lesbians to be part of the Conservative Rabbinate. Yid with Lid posted here his opinion on the survey and I added two comments which one of them The Jewish Week quoted. In the article here they quote me as saying the following ,
"Another blogger called Frum with Questions, said he too completed the survey and found the questions straightforward,but he said he did not understand what they are trying to accomplish."
Yid with Lid asked me to explain further what I meant so I replied with the following ,
"The survey was done for JTS to have an excuse as to why they are going to start ordaining openly gay and lesbian students. They know the majority of the people of the conservative movement want this too happen they just need a survey so they can tell the people who are against it, see, this is what the conservative movement wants. Its unfortunate because this survey was only sent to a specific target market and if you would ask Canadians or Israelis you would get a much different answer since they are very traditional conservative when it comes to these issues. I cannot list specifics about the survey since I no longer have it infront of me but the questions were all black and white and they tried to fool people by thinking it is not.
I am going to assume that the article was written after this comment was added so I want to post it hear in case people check out my blog after reading the article. With that said I want to link to my previous post here with my opinions on the Conservatives movement original decision.

Independent Frum Thinker commented on this post saying that the Canadian Rabbis were not going to go by this decision which is true. The Rabbi of the Conservative Shul I grew up in is from Canada and is on thcommitteemmitee of the Conservative movement and voted against it. What doesn't make sense which is what I posted about is that more than one "Teshuva" was selected.

The question that I have about the survey which I did not see anyone ask, is who did they send this email to? My father who is an active member in a Conservative Shul as well as on the JTS Dvar Torah email list never got the email. I forwarded it to him so he can see it. If ou go to the main JTS webpage the only thing you see is this letter from the cuchancellorncelor. If you do a search for survey, nothing comes up either so who did JTS send this survey to and what was the point? I am not sure how I got it. I am on the USY adlistservtservthat's thats about it. I studied at List College- JTS/Columbia for a year and a half so maybe they sent it to me as a former student? I have no idea but I had no problem filling it out. If JTS wanted to ganswerasnwer from their constituents they could have figured out a way to get the survey to every member of a Conservative Shul and every Ramah camper/alumni/staff member. My wife went to Ramah and did not get a survey emailed to her as well as other USY alumni I am friends with.

I truly believe that the Conservative movement has become a political movement. If someone wants to disagree with me, I dare you to go into a Conservative shul and find a Republican or a Conservative. If you are lucky you will find one or two and probably in a Tradition Conservative minyan not one of Egalitarian Liberal ones. The Reform movement is also a political movement that when it feels will support Israel as evidence by the article in the Forward about the reform movements decision to go against Jimmy Carter.

One the main reasons why I am not a Conservative Jew is because of the hypocrisy with what they teach and how they act. After being active in USY and going on their programs and being a board member all of these things became obvious. USY had shabbos but when you went home the Conservative Shul did not. In USY on Shabbos you had Shalosh Shuedos, when you went home try finding one person in a Conservative shul who knows what Shalosh Shuedos is besides the Rabbi who will tell you itnecessaryassary even though they teach in USY that it is. When I was at JTS in the dorms they had different kitchens set up in the dorms. Kitchens for people who wanted to keep kosher and then eveelse's elses kitchens. When I asked the Rabbi who in charge of Jewish Life at the Seminary about this, he could not give me an answer. If JTS wanted to be honest with themselves they should go back to their roots in the Torah as Chancellor Shorsh said in his farewell speech. I just want to add one more thing about the movement and their decisions. OF the Rabbis of the Teshuva against it, most of them were educated in Orthodox institutions or by Rabbi Shaul Lieberman who in many eyes was Orthodox himself. The Rabbis who were for it were mostly products of the Conservative movement and institutionsutions which is evident from their failure to bring in real Torah sources to back up there claims which is why the Conservative Movement is no longer a Halachic movement but a movement of politics and opinion which is more important than true Torah valIts. ITs a question as well if it was ever a Halachic movement within the past 20 years but every year the fall further and further away.

Anyone who wants to comment directly to me can leave me their addressadress in the comments and we can to discuss this further.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Baal Shem Tov

Its been a while since I posted and I want to apologize for that. I have been very busy studying for something and learning DAf Yomi which is very time consuming. Now that the "Holiday Season" is over I hope to have more frequent postings.

There is a famous teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that many people repeat and it was actually in one of the Jewish papers this past week. The teaching is as follows. The Baal Shem Tov says that when you see faults in other people, you see those faults because you have the same ones and it is like looking in the mirror. While this is a great inspirational teaching for someone who is doing teshuva, I want to pose the following questions about this teaching to see if anyone can answer them for me.

If I am sitting in shul and someone starts talking and disturbing my davening how am I seeing a reflection of myself? If I don't talk in shul I cannot understand this.

If I hear someone cursing and think they have a filthy mouth, how is that a reflection of me? I never curse or say dirty words.

There are plenty of things that I know I do and I see those faults in other people as well which I can recognize but the two things I posted are two things that I cannot figure out. Our goal in life is to constantly work on ourselves and try to come closer to Hashem so I am hoping I can figure these things out so I can continue to work on myself and only see good reflections in others.