Rabbi Yoffe, head of the Reform Movement, had a great idea: wouldn’t it be nice if Jews celebrated a day of the week where they didn’t work and distinguished it as a day of rest? Perhaps even God would do such a thing if he had a really busy week. And wouldnt’ we be able to have better sex that way?. As Yoffe put it:
Reform Jews are considering Shabbat because they need Shabbat..In our 24/7 culture, the boundary between work time and leisure time has been swept away, and the results are devastating. Do we really want to live in a world where we make love in half the time and cook every meal in the microwave?
(If we had two Shabbats perhaps we could make love in double or triple the time…but that’s a thought for antoher time). Joffe was adamant that the new Shabbat observance won’t just be an adoption of Orthodox practice:
Yoffie’s call for increased Shabbat observance reflects a growing embrace of traditions once rejected by the movement. At the same time, Yoffie said the Shabbat observance he envisions “will not mean some kind of neo-frumkeit,” or “an endless list of Shabbat prohibitions.” It will reflect instead, a unique Reform approach.
“It will mean… approaching Shabbat with the creativity that has always distinguished Reform Judaism,” said Yoffie. “It will mean emphasizing the ‘Thou shalts’ of Shabbat candles and Kiddush, rest and study, prayer and community – rather than the ‘Thou shalt nots.'”
In challenging congregations to move forward with these initiatives, Yoffie suggested two approaches: The appointment of a Shabbat Morning Task Force to study and recommend how Shabbat morning worship might be reimagined, and the formation of a second group, a Shabbat Chavura, that will come together for three to four months to create a Shabbat observance in an authentically Reform way.
Ironically enough, Muffti can’t imagine the task force coming up with prohibitions stringent enough to use a microwave…