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November 8, 2013 / conservadox

How NOT to run a Conservative shul

Last weekend, I visited a small town (not the one I used to live in, but someplace even smaller) and split my time between the Conservative shul and Chabad.  What I saw at the C shul disturbed me slightly- or maybe it just reminded me how “by the book” I have become, I’m not sure which.

I came to the C shul Friday, since they were having a dinner after services in honor of their scholar in residence.  After kiddush they went straight to hamotzi, without giving people any opportunity to wash.   Hand-washing before eating bread is not an area where Orthodox and Conservative Jews are supposed to differ; I’ve been to enough C shuls where people washed to know that.  

They mentioned that they were having havdalah service Sat at 6 pm, so naturally I went to that.   I figured there would be mincha, maariv, then havdalah (since shabbos wasn’t supposed to end there till 6:26 according to  Instead there was just havdalah.  What’s up with that?  First of all, they could have waited till 6:30 to have havdalah- but why not just have maariv first?  Its not like you really need a minyan for maariv (for mincha maybe you could argue that they wanted to make sure they had a minyan to read the Torah- but that’s not an issue at maariv).  

My guess is that because they were an in a small town and isolated from the C mainstream, they just forgot a rule here and there, like people marooned on some deserted island.



One Comment

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  1. Shira Salamone / Nov 12 2013 4:52 pm

    Not so, I’m sorry to say. I’ve seen the same sort of problems in Conservative synagogues in both Manhattan and in the borough of New York City in which we live.

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