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Mychal

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PostSubject: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:54 pm

I am hosting a Shabbat seder at our medieval re-enactment in March. It's open to people who are Jewish in real life, people who aren't but who portray medieval Jews, and people who are neither but curious.

I need to find some sort of simple guide that I can print out and take with me on to how to host a seder. A tools list would be helpful (since I have to pack all of this stuff to take with me), but all I really need is the order of the seder and the blessings to say. I'm not worried about keeping it strictly medieval, because it's being presented as a class for people to learn about the Shabbat seder (and pretty much anything else they want to know about Jews, modern or medieval), so I'm open to doing other things during the seder which are optional/not required.

Does anyone have a link to a guide online--maybe your synagogue has a link? Hebrew Christians have plenty of guides, but I'm not going there.
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:11 am

Shabbat Seder? Do you just mean the Shabbat evening meal? I suppose taking the word seder literally as 'order' then Friday night could kind of be called a seder, but I've never heard it referred to as such. I'm also confused about you needing tools??

Sorry if I've completely misunderstood!
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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:13 am

esf wrote:
Shabbat Seder? Do you just mean the Shabbat evening meal? I suppose taking the word seder literally as 'order' then Friday night could kind of be called a seder, but I've never heard it referred to as such. I'm also confused about you needing tools??

Sorry if I've completely misunderstood!

The first two nights this year are Friday and Saturday so I assumed she meant she is having a seder on Shabbat.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:16 am

Mychal, do you have a Haggadah? That's probably all you need. There are all sorts of types so just look around and see what you like. There is a site for making your own but it's temporarity down. It will be back up soon. Actually, there is more than one site. Just google "DIY Seder Haggadah" and you'll find a couple.
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:32 am

Dena wrote:
esf wrote:
Shabbat Seder? Do you just mean the Shabbat evening meal? I suppose taking the word seder literally as 'order' then Friday night could kind of be called a seder, but I've never heard it referred to as such. I'm also confused about you needing tools??

Sorry if I've completely misunderstood!

The first two nights this year are Friday and Saturday so I assumed she meant she is having a seder on Shabbat.

Well that was my first thought, but passover is in April this year, and she said this will be in March.. so possibly a 'faux-Seder' on Shabbat?
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:37 am

esf wrote:

Well that was my first thought, but passover is in April this year, and she said this will be in March.. so possibly a 'faux-Seder' on Shabbat?

Oh, you are right! Well I have no idea. Mychal, we're confused. Very Happy
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:45 pm

I was talking about a standard, evening Shabbas. I know about Passover seder, but I was under the impression that the word "seder" could also be applied to the Shabbat evening meal, since it's a ritual with order as well.

Anyways, I just want to host Shabbas. By "tools" I mean things I need--wine, bread (x2), candles (x2) and... what else? I'm going to serve some finger foods/snacks afterwards and people may bring their own (dairy) dishes if they like.
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:02 pm

Medievel? That means women are in a separate room and did not touch or eat with the men? I would re-enact Yalta!
http://vimeo.com/9646892
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:14 pm

I don't think women were separated from men at a family Shabbat by my time period (14th century). That is, of course, the custom at weddings and social celebrations, but I haven't seen any indication that people did that at home--even if there were male guests present.The custom of having a women light the candles/lamps appears to be very old, and would indicate that women were present at the dinner table.
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maculated

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:18 pm

http://diyseder.com/

There are a number of good Haggadot out there, though. One you may like I will have to ask my friend about. He has an old English siddur with some amazing wording in it.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:22 pm

Mychal wrote:
Anyways, I just want to host Shabbas. By "tools" I mean things I need--wine, bread (x2), candles (x2) and... what else? I'm going to serve some finger foods/snacks afterwards and people may bring their own (dairy) dishes if they like.

Are you going to be there for havdallah too or will you be going home by that time?
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:52 pm

Maculated: Mychal is actually just referring to a regular Shabbat kiddush. But your link is good for Passover, so remember to post it again when we are closer to that holiday (I personally refuse to start obsessing about Pesach until after Purim!)

Dena wrote:
Mychal wrote:
Anyways, I just want to host Shabbas. By "tools" I mean things I need--wine, bread (x2), candles (x2) and... what else? I'm going to serve some finger foods/snacks afterwards and people may bring their own (dairy) dishes if they like.

Are you going to be there for havdallah too or will you be going home by that time?
Because Mychal mentions candles, I assume it is a Friday night meal because you can't light candles on Saturday while it is still Shabbat. So no Havdalah unless it is an overnight event.

You will find the basic blessings in any siddur, and many "benchers" (little Shabbat songbooks that also have Birkat Hamazon and often blessings for Shabbat and celebrations like weddings).

One thing to add to your "tools" list is salt which is traditionally sprinkled over the challah after Hamotzi. By the way, do make an effort to have traditionally braided challah---they are beautiful and make kiddush feel more festive (a "hiddur mitzvah"= beautification of a mitzvah). And you might want to have grape juice for guests who don't drink alcohol.

I take it that you are unfamiliar with the blessings and there are not likely to be other Jewishly knowledgeable people at the meal? Then you might want to do a simplified basic version rather than a full traditional kiddush. Kakatuv is a wonderful website that has transliterated and translated versions of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox prayer books. Look at the "Shabbat at Home" section of the Reform prayers. Here is what I suggest you use from that webpage:

- Blessing for Candle Lighting
[Shalom Aleichem -- Skip unless there are a few other Jews who can sing it with you.]
[Birkat Hamishpachah, Blessing of the Family -- Skip unless there are children present and Jewish parents who want to bless them]
- Sanctifying Shabbat, vayehi erev... ---this goes along with the kiddush and is best if it is sung here is a YouTube video that can help:
How to Light Shabbat Candles and Recite Kiddush
- Kiddush, Blessing of the Wine --- Note that this goes with "vayehi erev" above, and remember that you don't drink the wine when you do the "borei peri hagafen" blessing (but you raise the kiddush cup when you say it), but rather wait until you finish the kiddush
- Blessing for washing of hands, Blessing of the Bread (motzi) ---You should be sure to translate this so that people understand what is said. Traditionally, salt is sprinkled on the challah before it is served.
- Blessing after the Meal, Psalm 126 ("Birkat Hamazon")--- this is a much shortened Reform version. The traditional (Shabbat) version takes at least 8 minutes if sung at a normal speed---I know for sure because I timed it to find out before I gave a d'var Torah for Parashat Ekev about Birkat Hamazon)---if there are fewer than 3 Jews, then you don't need to do this publicly. If there are at least 3 Jews then after "Shir Hamaalot" you are supposed to do the "zimun" which is a "call and response" invitation to do the blessing. If you and a few other Jews know how to sing Birkat, then it's nice to do. Otherwise, it will just be boring to hear a lot of Hebrew being read and it is fine for those obligated to read it to themselves. Here is a YouTube for a abbreviated Reform version of Birkat Hamzon

Also, if you want a more compact printout for candle lighting and kiddush, go to this website Build a prayer: Friday evening. Choose "custom", and the format you like, and then choose "Shabbat candle lighting" and "Friday night kiddush". (The rest of the prayers are for doing a full Friday night service.)
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:55 pm

Debbie B. wrote:
So no Havdalah unless it is an overnight event.

Yeah, I thought it might be overnight. I wasn't sure.


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maculated

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:24 pm

Ha ha. It helps to read entire posts . . .
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:08 pm

Thanks for the info; I'm going to start digging into the websites you mentioned.

I had forgotten about needing to wash hands first. That's something that's done at my Conservative synagogue, but was never done at my Reform one (I'm still pretty new to Conservative).

Is there a religious/symbolic reason why the bread is salted? Again, that's done at my Con. shul, but I had not seen it done before and have not heard any explanation for it.

Challah is almost certainly an impossibility. We're going to be leaving the Friday night or Saturday morning before and camping for a week; fresh bread won't keep a week without molding, so I can't take it with me. (And while we have a propane stove in our camp, I have never baked bread before, and I don't think that's a good time to try and learn.)

We're also a half hour from Hattiesburg, MS (which isn't exactly known for its huge Jewish population to start with) and we do not usually go off site once we get there--although someone in our camp invariably makes a mid-week booze and grocery run; I could get them to pick up something fresh which should last until Friday.

The other option I've considered is taking matzah with me. I know it will keep and it's not like it's forbidden to eat it outside Passover. As far as I know, there's nothing wrong with having new, unopened matzah in lieu of bread at a Shabbat.
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:53 pm

A Rabbi told me that salting the bread is symbolic of the temple sacrifices.

Will there be other Jewish families around to participate and help you along? If not, I wonder if this is the right/time place to do a Shabbat demo? Of course, it's absolutely up to you, but personally I wouldn't feel comfortable 'introducing' people to Shabbat in this situation, where it might be hard to set up a 'Shabbat atmosphere', and when you're still in the process of conversion.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:04 pm

Mychal wrote:
Thanks for the info; I'm going to start digging into the websites you mentioned.

I had forgotten about needing to wash hands first. That's something that's done at my Conservative synagogue, but was never done at my Reform one (I'm still pretty new to Conservative).

Is there a religious/symbolic reason why the bread is salted? Again, that's done at my Con. shul, but I had not seen it done before and have not heard any explanation for it.

Challah is almost certainly an impossibility. We're going to be leaving the Friday night or Saturday morning before and camping for a week; fresh bread won't keep a week without molding, so I can't take it with me. (And while we have a propane stove in our camp, I have never baked bread before, and I don't think that's a good time to try and learn.)

We're also a half hour from Hattiesburg, MS (which isn't exactly known for its huge Jewish population to start with) and we do not usually go off site once we get there--although someone in our camp invariably makes a mid-week booze and grocery run; I could get them to pick up something fresh which should last until Friday.

The other option I've considered is taking matzah with me. I know it will keep and it's not like it's forbidden to eat it outside Passover. As far as I know, there's nothing wrong with having new, unopened matzah in lieu of bread at a Shabbat.

We put a bowl of kosher salt along side of the challah for Shabbat. Here is the reason why from ask Moses.

Our table is considered an altar (see Ezekiel 41:22 and Ethics of our Fathers 3:3), and in the Holy Temple salt was offered together with every sacrifice (Leviticus 2:13).

Salt never spoils or decays, therefore, it is symbolic of our eternal covenant with G-d. That's why the verse refers to it as "the salt of your G-d's covenant.

Salt also adds taste to everything. Our bond with G-d is supposed to add meaning and flavor to every moment of our lives; even when we are not directly involved in spiritual pursuits.
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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:09 pm

Salt on challah is just traditional, so Conservative Jews being more traditional than Reform Jews are simply more likely to have retained that minhag. Here's one answer about why: A Grain of Salt

Under the circumstances you describe, I think you are right that matzah is your best bet. The matzah does not even have to be from an unopened box; you just need two pieces that are whole. Matzah is always permissible for Hamotzi for Shabbat. In fact, I was once at a friend's house for Shabbat and the guests who had offered to bring challah forgot and left them at home, so the hosts just used matzah.

Two nice whole loaves of bread would be nicer, if they can be bought during the mid-week grocery run. But I'd go with the matzah if the only bread that can be bought that way is loaves of sliced "Wonderbread".

So I guess Dena's question about Havdalah is relevant if this is a multi-day event. However, if you are not actually strictly observing Shabbat by refraining from all forms of work and cooking, then I tend to feel that the Havdalah ritual lacks meaning since you aren't really ending a distinct and different "sacred time" period. However, I understand how other Jews could feel differently about that.
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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:08 pm

Salting food was what they did at the Temple for sacrifices. The challah is your sacrifice at your Shabbat table.

It doesn't have to be challah - anything made of bread and uncut works (bagels, rolls, pitas).
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:01 pm

esf raises some important considerations.

Mychal, have you not completed the conversion process yet? If not, I hope you will not be offended, but it is not proper for someone who is not Jewish to lead prayers or blessings on behalf of other Jews. It is specifically forbidden for someone who is not obligated to do a mitzvah to do it on behalf of others who are obligated. (That the the reason used by many Orthodox poskim, even those who don't think there are issues of "kol isha" [men hearing a women's voice], to rule that women may not lead services such as Shacharit for which they are exempt since women are not required to do "time-bound" mitzvot. For this reason, when the JTS first started to accept women into (Conservative) rabbinical program it required the women to personally pledge to take on the obligation of davening three times a day in order to be counted in a minyan.)

I am sympathetic to people well into the conversion process. I truly understand what it is like: I was a non-Jew who even helped host Passover seders for over 20 years with my Jewish husband before I converted. But I never led any prayer or blessing before I converted, even though I knew them very well. Following along is completely permissible though.

Back to Mychal's situation:
If there are in fact no other Jews at the event, it seems like to do Friday night kiddush as a "demonstration" makes it seem like "cultural anthropology". The Hebrew will be incomprehensible and my feeling is that the rituals will be seen by others as "quaint" in keeping with the other simulated "archaic" activities that you are involved in, rather than part of a serious living tradition observed by modern Jews.

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esf

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:51 am

Debbie B. wrote:
esf raises some important considerations.

Mychal, have you not completed the conversion process yet? If not, I hope you will not be offended, but it is not proper for someone who is not Jewish to lead prayers or blessings on behalf of other Jews. It is specifically forbidden for someone who is not obligated to do a mitzvah to do it on behalf of others who are obligated. (That the the reason used by many Orthodox poskim, even those who don't think there are issues of "kol isha" [men hearing a women's voice], to rule that women may not lead services such as Shacharit for which they are exempt since women are not required to do "time-bound" mitzvot. For this reason, when the JTS first started to accept women into (Conservative) rabbinical program it required the women to personally pledge to take on the obligation of davening three times a day in order to be counted in a minyan.)

I am sympathetic to people well into the conversion process. I truly understand what it is like: I was a non-Jew who even helped host Passover seders for over 20 years with my Jewish husband before I converted. But I never led any prayer or blessing before I converted, even though I knew them very well. Following along is completely permissible though.



Back to Mychal's situation:
If there are in fact no other Jews at the event, it seems like to do Friday night kiddush as a "demonstration" makes it seem like "cultural anthropology". The Hebrew will be incomprehensible and my feeling is that the rituals will be seen by others as "quaint" in keeping with the other simulated "archaic" activities that you are involved in, rather than part of a serious living tradition observed by modern Jews.


Thanks for saying exactly what I was thinking far more eloquently than I had time to do! Your last paragraph was precisely what I would be concerned about.
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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:13 am

Mychal wrote:
I don't think women were separated from men at a family Shabbat by my time period (14th century). That is, of course, the custom at weddings and social celebrations, but I haven't seen any indication that people did that at home--even if there were male guests present.The custom of having a women light the candles/lamps appears to be very old, and would indicate that women were present at the dinner table.
You might want to double check, women could not even pass an object to her husband with a pole, and lightening candles may have been done in their presence-maybe or maybe not since it fell as a woman's mitzvot. I'm not sure, but women did not eat with the men especially if there were male guest. See the link I sent you, she was in another room dining, the last drink of the wine is offered because whoever drinks it gets to be the recipient of the blessing, the guest offered it to the husband but the husband wanted his wife to receive it (they wanted children) so he asked if it could be sent to her (Yalta) if you ever get a chance study this great woman of Talmud-I'm a big fan of her. Point is, this is an example of women not permitted to eat at the man's table. Research medieval times on woman's roles and limitations. I may be mistaken.
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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:29 am

Ps in the story the guest gets upset at the thought of giving the blessing of the cup of wine to a woman, despite that she was a scholar and the daughter of the high priest, that reserved wine blessing was not given to women, just like it is not customary now to offer the wife a drink from the wine during Havdalah. Like I said, I may be mistaken. Also I like to add that the men or maybe the woman too...would do something special on Shabbos or even bring home something, my husband brings fresh flowers for Shabbos. I'm curious on what traditions certain medieval men would do for Shabbos?
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:14 pm

Quote :
If there are in fact no other Jews at the event, it seems like to do Friday night kiddush as a "demonstration" makes it seem like "cultural anthropology". The Hebrew will be incomprehensible and my feeling is that the rituals will be seen by others as "quaint" in keeping with the other simulated "archaic" activities that you are involved in, rather than part of a serious living tradition observed by modern Jews.

We are not a public organization, so this is not a demonstration for an audience which is there to be entertained. The people who will show up on a Friday night (instead of going to a party) are people who are truly interested in learning something and participating.

I try to always light candles on Shabbat. I have never done a blessing over bread and wine because there's only me, and I don't drink wine (I can't drink grape juice either; it doesn't agree with me). When I noticed last year that there were a number of people on site (relatively speaking) who had Jewish personas (they may or may not be Jews in real life), I thought it would be a neat idea to have some sort of tea or get together to share knowledge. So, when I had to pick a time to host it, it seemed logical to have it on Friday night. There is a Methodist minister who performs a circa 1588 Anglican mass on site (again, this is not for entertainment value; it's a real mass), so why not offer a Jewish Shabbat?

Personally, I would like to celebrate Shabbat, but if I don't take the initiative and do it myself, it won't happen. I'm not going to hide the fact that I'm still in the process of converting, and certainly if there are any born-Jews there who want to jump up and do it instead, I'll let them. Or if they want to take over hosting duties for the next year, that's fine too.

I am kind of basing what I'm doing on something my college did. Not on the first night of Passover, but sometime during the Passover week, the religious department hosted a Pesach seder. One year a rabbi and his family lead it, and two other years it was just lead by a Jewish family from the area. There were always 12-14 students in attendance, of which no more than one and a half were actually Jewish; everyone else was there out of curiosity. Me and a few others liked it so well, we made it a yearly tradition, even though we were not Jewish.

We went through the full seder, and the leader explained things as we went along and we were able to answer questions. That was my first experience with practical Judaism.

I am interested in doing that same sort of thing. Whether or not the Shabbat dinner is technically valid or not does not seem as important to me as presenting the opportunity for people to learn something about Jewish tradition and Judaism. And who knows who might be touched by it? And I also hope to learn things from people who probably know more than I do about medieval Jewish practice in particular.

And I know that the Orthodox POV is that people who are not Jews should not perform ritual mitzvot, but I'll confess that I've never ascribed to that idea. For one thing, how do you know for sure you want to be a Jew if you haven't been put through your paces first? If you're not warming to the idea of ritual practice when it's not required, then it's better to not become a Jew where it IS required.

If you came to my house, you'd see a mezzuzah on my door, and you'd see me kiss it coming and going every day. You'd also see I haven't yet put up my Hanukkiah and Hanukkah decorations yet (!), I wear a kippah on Friday and Saturday, etc. I honestly feel that God has called me to be a Jew, so I don't think He will be angry at me for acting like a Jew while I'm in the process of legally becoming a Jew. Just my stance on it.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Shabbat Seder Guide?   Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:40 pm

Mychal wrote:
Quote :
If there are in fact no other Jews at the event, it seems like to do Friday night kiddush as a "demonstration" makes it seem like "cultural anthropology". The Hebrew will be incomprehensible and my feeling is that the rituals will be seen by others as "quaint" in keeping with the other simulated "archaic" activities that you are involved in, rather than part of a serious living tradition observed by modern Jews.

We are not a public organization, so this is not a demonstration for an audience which is there to be entertained. The people who will show up on a Friday night (instead of going to a party) are people who are truly interested in learning something and participating.

I try to always light candles on Shabbat. I have never done a blessing over bread and wine because there's only me, and I don't drink wine (I can't drink grape juice either; it doesn't agree with me). When I noticed last year that there were a number of people on site (relatively speaking) who had Jewish personas (they may or may not be Jews in real life), I thought it would be a neat idea to have some sort of tea or get together to share knowledge. So, when I had to pick a time to host it, it seemed logical to have it on Friday night. There is a Methodist minister who performs a circa 1588 Anglican mass on site (again, this is not for entertainment value; it's a real mass), so why not offer a Jewish Shabbat?

Personally, I would like to celebrate Shabbat, but if I don't take the initiative and do it myself, it won't happen. I'm not going to hide the fact that I'm still in the process of converting, and certainly if there are any born-Jews there who want to jump up and do it instead, I'll let them. Or if they want to take over hosting duties for the next year, that's fine too.

I am kind of basing what I'm doing on something my college did. Not on the first night of Passover, but sometime during the Passover week, the religious department hosted a Pesach seder. One year a rabbi and his family lead it, and two other years it was just lead by a Jewish family from the area. There were always 12-14 students in attendance, of which no more than one and a half were actually Jewish; everyone else was there out of curiosity. Me and a few others liked it so well, we made it a yearly tradition, even though we were not Jewish.

We went through the full seder, and the leader explained things as we went along and we were able to answer questions. That was my first experience with practical Judaism.

I am interested in doing that same sort of thing. Whether or not the Shabbat dinner is technically valid or not does not seem as important to me as presenting the opportunity for people to learn something about Jewish tradition and Judaism. And who knows who might be touched by it? And I also hope to learn things from people who probably know more than I do about medieval Jewish practice in particular.

And I know that the Orthodox POV is that people who are not Jews should not perform ritual mitzvot, but I'll confess that I've never ascribed to that idea. For one thing, how do you know for sure you want to be a Jew if you haven't been put through your paces first? If you're not warming to the idea of ritual practice when it's not required, then it's better to not become a Jew where it IS required.

If you came to my house, you'd see a mezzuzah on my door, and you'd see me kiss it coming and going every day. You'd also see I haven't yet put up my Hanukkiah and Hanukkah decorations yet (!), I wear a kippah on Friday and Saturday, etc. I honestly feel that God has called me to be a Jew, so I don't think He will be angry at me for acting like a Jew while I'm in the process of legally becoming a Jew. Just my stance on it.


During the process of working towards conversion my Rabbi absolutely saw as part of my journey was living Jewishly. We started Jewish rituals in my house before I was Jewish. My kids attended Hebrew school before they were Jewish. I think the orthodox get so bogged down by the rules they lose the essence of what Judaism is. I am part of progressive community that makes sense to me.

I don't hold orthodoxy up as what I aspire to be Jewishly. I don't see them as being authentic because there are practices as seen in the Ethiopian community that predate Rabbinic Orthodox Judaism. It is just one movement of Judaism along with the others.


Last edited by tamar on Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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