Sunday, 12 July 2015

Thoughts on a Sabbatical In Jerusalem

It wasn't a surprise that the Minyan I went to on Friday night was very special. It was always going to be very special.
But since it was special I'll share a little.

Rabbi Tamar Eldad Applebaum is a graduate of the Masorti Machon Schechter, she's a native born Israeli and trying to create a new, Israeli, form of Jewish life. Come as you are, labels don't matter. The tunes are a mix of Sephardi and Ashkenazi, with a little bit of Carlebach, no more. The Nusach - the words - include a range of Piyutim - ancient Hebrew poetry. Rabbi Tamar was wonderful, glowing with a love of humanity and Judaism, the singing was wonderful, and it did feel like something new. My enjoyment was helped by having so many of my heroes in the community. Alice Shalvi, Art Green, Moshe Halbertal, David Roskies ...

But as I went chasing after my daughter, who had wandered off across the area outside where the kids were playing into another of the buildings in mini-campus. It stuck my head around the corner. It was another Minyan, looking very Orthodox, lots of orthodox looking men, and a Mechitzah down the middle of the room. But the prayers were being led by a woman. It was the Baka Egalitarian Minyan, just getting on with things. And then on Shabbat morning I was at Shira Chadasha, still doing its thing which is either a bit radical or a bit safe depending on your perspective - but lovely all the same. Admittedly Baka is at the forefront of the progressive traditional  Jewish world, but there is movement here. What was once radical is becoming normal. And from Baka to the rest of the world.

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