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 Post subject: Rosh Hoshanah Question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:08 pm 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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There was a news story tonight about a local synagogue that was not going to charge for their Rosh Hoshanah service. What's the deal with this? Is there normally a charge to attend?

<is confused>

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:06 am 
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Aagragaah
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I guess I'm the designated Jew around here. :D

The answer is, kinda. Many congregations (mine included) do request that visitors to the Rosh Ha Shanah and Yom Kippur services order tickets in advance. In my experience, tickers are free to the members of the congregation, and visitors are asked to pay. Again, in my experience, those who cannot pay are welcome anyway, and I have never been asked to actually show a ticket (but of course I am known in the community).

I know that it is not how churches function, so keep in mind a few things:

- Jewish congregations are funded only by their members.
- There is never a collection plate at any of the services, year round
- There is usually an opportunity to attend an open, community service. In my synagogue, for instance, there is a family service open to every one, as is the second-day service (most Jewish holidays are traditionally observed over two days outside of the Land of Israel).

I will be offline tomorrow, given the willpower, but don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions, as they say.

Meanwhile, have a good and sweet year, my friends, and may you be recorded in the Book of Life.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:54 am 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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Thank you! :) Ketiva ve-chatima tovah! (Is that right?)

And fascinating.

Thank you for answering. :) (Yes, you were the first one I thought of when the question came up in my mind. :D But I figured that if you weren't around someone else might be able to answer.)

Our church is funded only by our members, but we do pass the collection plate every Sunday (not that we put any pressure on anyone, especially visitors, to give).

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:41 am 
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Aagragaah
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Back from the services. Somehow, going without food for a day is easier than going without Internet. :D But I managed both.

I meant to say, Lali - I did not mean to imply any judgment about the collection plate approach. It is simply not practicable at Jewish services, as observant Jews do not carry or handle money on Shabbat and holy days. So for those who do not contribute to the community throughout the year, but would like to attend services on the holiest day of the year, donating in advance through tickets is the most reasonable approach.

And of course no one actually asked anyone to show tickets, today or on Rosh Ha Shanah.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:46 am 
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Living in hope
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I had never put that together. Of course it would have to be done that way.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:47 am 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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Me either. Thanks for that information. (And I didn't take it as if you were being judgmental. :) )

I'm glad you made it through the day without food or the internet! It is hard to do.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:09 am 
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Frelga wrote:
And of course no one actually asked anyone to show tickets, today or on Rosh Ha Shanah.


At the Conservative shul I attend at times in the Bay Area (including for the yamim nora'im this year), one buys tickets in advance but the tickets are never checked. At the Reform shul I attend at other times, one buys tickets in advance - $100 per service for Rosh Hashanah Ma'ariv, Kol Nidre, and Ne'ilah, with the other services not ticketed - and tickets are, in fact, checked. (I have no idea what happens when someone tries to enter without a ticket - I've never seen it happen.) I suspect that at least part of the reason for the high pricing is because the regular synagogue can't handle the number of people who want to attend HHD services, and they have to move to a much larger space (Herbst Theater), which presumably is not free.

I fully understand the rationale for HHD ticketing -- that money does not rain down from the sky to pay the rent and operating expenses of a synagogue, and that synagogues have a much smaller "funding base" than do many churches. And I understand that it is somewhat problematic for those of us who are, shall we say, less-than-regular synagogue attendees to want to waltz for holidays into magically free and tastefully appointed services. But...but...even 12-13 years after I was schooled in the reasons for this practice, I still feel slightly irritated and resentful to be asked to write a significant check in order to participate in a religious holiday. And perhaps more importantly: AFTER having written that check, I am downright alienated by the obligatory pleas for additional money via HHD "pledge cards" (which are inevitably supplemented by a full-length, guilt-inducing plea for money made by some hapless member of the synagogue's board.)

BTW: I think that the point about Shabbat collections being impractical is true for Orthodox and Conservative shuls, but I question whether it is true at (most) Reform shuls. Widespread forms of technically-Shabbat-violating behavior that I've seen routinely at every Reform shul I have attended include: driving on Shabbat, carrying money and making purchases (at times, at synagogue-affiliated dinners occurring immediately after services), playing musical instruments during services, turning lights on and off, writing things down (including at synagogue), preparing/heating food in the synagogue kitchen, and lighting Shabbat candles well after sundown (especially during the winter). Given that there are many aspects of many Reform services that technically violate halacha - and that the Reform movement often is willing to revisit traditional teachings where there are practical reasons for adopting a new approach - I'm not sure that the mostly-Conservadox practice of not handling money on Shabbat is a barrier to Reform synagogues soliciting weekly donations from attendees. (Of course, there's still a reasonable argument that asking congregants for money once a year (either via an annual synagogue membership or via HHD ticket purchases) is more pleasant than asking fifty-two times a year...)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:40 am 
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Living in hope
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In my church, members are asked once a year to pledge a yearly amount. It isn't mandatory to pledge (we did not this year, because our income is going to be low or unpredictable or both), and if you can't keep the pledge (which has also happened to us because I was too sick to work), it isn't a problem. Somehow as a congregation we manage to meet the budget (a modest one) every year. We have had the good fortune of some bequests from members, which made it possible, for example, to pay off the mortgage on the church building. We have a good fat-free budget that includes a lot of giving to local social needs and to the church at large, so I think we do pretty well.

So, yes, once a year, members are asked to name what they think they can give for the coming year. That process takes several weeks. We also take an offering at every service throughout the year, but nobody is asked on a weekly basis to give. There isn't a word about it during the service, the plate is just passed.

The fact is that no such organization can survive without member donations. But I don't know of any such organization that requires donations from all its members. If that were the case, my family would certainly be out on the street this year. There is no question of that and never will be.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:27 am 
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Aagragaah
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Prim, that's pretty much how it works at my synagogue. There is an annual drive, and while there is a "suggested" amount, for several years we were only able to continue a portion of that, while taking advantage of member prices at the excellent nursery school. I certainly never heard any "guilt-inducing" pleas, most certainly not during a service. In fact, all materials that request money state explicitely that no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Clearly, nel, you need to come to my synagogue. :P

That said, community aspect is extremy important in Jewish worship. High holiday service is all about community worship - there is no divine penalty for missing it (can't think of a better way to express it). In that light, it is not too much to ask of "once a year" Jews that they conttibute to the community if joining it for worship is important to them and if they can afford it.

And I don't buy the argument about Reform practices. It's a bit like saying, "Well, I had a soda, so forget this diet and have a donut and ice cream, and make those fries extra-large." Again I can only speak for my congregation but we generally try to make it possible for people to be observant to the extent they want to. Not everyone keeps a kosher kitchen, for example (I don't), but our potlucks and communal meals are vegetarian.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:55 am 
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Aagragaah
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It's that time of year again. Wishing my dear friends a good and sweet year. :grouphug:

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:49 am 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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:grouphug: Have a good and sweet year!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:18 am 
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Aagragaah
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:hug: Thanks, Lali!

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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