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October 8, 2014 / conservadox

The good old days are now (in comparison)

When I was a youngster growing up in small-town America in the 1940s, the only sukkah in town stood behind the synagogue. It did service for the entire congregation. Even my father, the rabbi of our Conservative synagogue and devoutly observant, never seemed to entertain the idea of putting up a sukkah in our backyard. In those days, people had less time for domestic rituals and shied away from any public display of their Jewishness. The synagogue in Pottstown, a large, handsome, basilican structure on the main street, had become the last arena of individual and collective Jewish expression.

The same was true for the lulav and esrog, two or three sets in the synagogue for rabbi, cantor and interested lay persons. Again, no one ever thought of acquiring a personal set, perhaps because of cost, though, I suspect, more so because Judaism had increasingly been reduced to a religion that was done for you.

– Ismar Schorsch


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