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A Word from the Rabbi

Reform or Conservative

I have received two messages in the past few weeks which point to an interesting question about who we are: Are we Reform or are we Conservative?
The answer is: We are a proud Reform Congregation. We will discuss what that means theologically some other time. But, there are many signs which point to who we are:

  1. Our Siddur Mishkan Tefila is published by the Reform Movement, with much more English in the service.

  2. We read Torah every Friday night, and we read just one Aliya, not seven.

  3. We use the movie screens to follow the Hebrew parts of the service.

  4. I give shorter sermons - sometimes…

  5. There is no haftorah and no musaf service.

  6. So, the service is shorter (I like that and so do you!).   

When I arrived here six months ago, one of the complaints about me was that “he’s trying to make this into a Conservative shul,” which is clearly not true, for all the above reasons.
I recently received a lovely e-mail from a member who is a regular attendee who initially thought this way. She wrote me last week to tell me how delighted she was that I had added so much more English to the service.
Then I received a call from a good friend and member who was very angry. He told me about a congregant who thought the same way, that I was trying to change this Congregation to become Conservative. He responded that the Search Committee chose me knowing that I was a liberal Conservative Rabbi who would be serving a Reform congregation. Then came the surprise…He told me that she had never been to any Friday night services! He was angry; I was laughing. Why was I laughing? Because as you and I know, we Jews are, shall we say, a “unique people,” we make decisions based on God-knows-what.
Just another day in the life of the Rabbi.

Rabbi Mel

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