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…
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Studies have shown that the average act of intercourse actually takes 2.5 minutes, but that people taking part in those studies reported an estimated average 18 minutes. Apparently, the brain switches off the ability to measure time then.
How does one get on the act-of-intercourse-length-measurement task force?
Become a MD and watch volunteering couples behind either one of those one-way see-through mirrors or videotape them.
The couples I’ve videotaped take longer.
TOM! Happy holidays!
G-d, what a tool.
Only someone who has never really experienced Shabbat could possibly utter such complete and utter rubbish.
“We want Shabbat but don’t mistake us for frum Yidden, G-d forbid.”
Hey, Tom. Long time no hear.
What the poor guy, Rabbi Yoffe, doesn’t realize, is that without the Shalt-Nots, there is no space reserved for the Thou-Shalts. Without rigorous prohibition, one just does answer the phone a little, check email a little, run an errand a little, and there goes your special day. Here is how it works: first you “remember” Shabbat without doing anything about it, and later, a lot later, you start to “protect and defend”. It is tremendously rewarding in a thousand ways.
If he lets it get too orthodox, the poor guy might be out of a job, in plain English. He is defending his brand. And nobody likes to feel he has been wrong.
He will have the highly interesting experience of inching toward full observance, like a lot of people. That’s great. This is very positive!! Great post, GM!
yeah Tom! Welcome! In fairness to the participants, Muffti imagines that knowing you are being watched probably effects performance. Though he’s not sure why it affects performance estimates.
Shabbat! What a concept! What will the Reform Movement come up with next? Some kind of annual day of atonement? Perhaps some kind of wacky 8-day festival where we could all eat potato pancakes and light candles. I can’t wait for their next innovation!
Because probably you can’t wait for it to be over if people are watching you. Two and a half minutes feels like eighteen-makes sense to me.
Tom, were they professionals? I won’t post a link, but there are tools to extend the process as well as medications that can be injected (I’ve got a friend who gets those prescribed after he broke his spine in a sports accident and is paralyzed from the waist down).
Yet another good reason to f*ck to music: if the same song is still on, you know it ain’t been no 18 minutes. Unless you are doing it to pink floyd. But then you got different problems…
Muffti, would that be “Another prick in the wall”?
I am perplexed by the speech but not suprised. Groups of unhappy reform kids are asking why cant shabbat be as peaceful as it is with other jews.
But the answer is not in prohibitions.
Shabbat in theory offers us a chance on a weekly basis to connect with Hashem in a deep and meaningful way, that is usually not possible in the busy work a day week.
Also, it affords families the chance to get together, learn together, worship together.
And guests! It builds community to have shabbat each week together.
So I want IN ON THAT TASK FORCE!
Is this guy for real? Reform Jews are “considering” Shabbat? Perhaps they might “consider” Jews marrying Jews, or “consider” eating kosher, or even “consider” fasting on Yom Kippur. Reform Judaism never fails to amaze me!
Okay, I’m officially in the other corner. This is a great idea and one that has been needed. What is wrong with the Reform movement seeking to find a bridge between their current practices and a more traditional practice? And what’s wrong, within this context, with seeking to find the positives in Shabbat instead of focusing on the prohibitions? Is it that it’s not Jewish enough? It’s Jewish enough for most Jews and is actually a way to bring many Jews back into some form of practice and attachment to their heritage.
I have to agree that Pink Floyd would be a mood killer. But music? Yes!! Engaging all the senses? Yes!! Showers, ylang ylang anything, clean sheets, fireplaces, wine? Yes!!Yes!!Yes!!
And in keeping the theme Jewlicious, isn’t all this kind of stuff that extra mitzvah of beautifying a mitzvah? I think it qualifies, doesn’t it? Seriously.
Well, we know you don’t keep Shabbat, Middle. So you can understand this guy’s position better.
But the chutzpah is just unbelieveable.
“We are considering giving Shabbat a try. We think a day of rest sounds like an interesting idea. I wonder why we didn’t think of it before. But we don’t want it to be too, you know, shabbesdich. People might think we’re frum, and we can’t have that.”
The guy knows his brand of “Judaism” is a sham, a joke, and a complete and utter failure. Reform Jews don’t stay Jews and he knows it. So he needs to do something. So of course he’s going to give tradition (I can just hear Tevye now) a try, so long as it’s not too, you know, traditional.
I hope it works, I really do. The more observant Reform Jews get, the better. It might lead them to proper Yiddishkeit, G-d willing. The pintele Yid will not be denied.
But then, yeah, Yoffe will be out of a job. He’s going to have to be careful and not let it get out of hand.
I don’t see the point in dissing Rabbi Yoffe.
He is speaking from his own valid experience.
But I do agree with Jewish Mother – without the binding prohibition of certain things, you cannot establish a day devoted to the positives.
That’s what Yoffe is responding to – the 24/7 crush. So how do you push back against all those demands to make room for a Shabbat experience?
This is where Reform’s open-ended approach runs into trouble.
Let Muffti be clear, he was merely chiding the reform movement on account of switching ideals based on no religious principle whatsoever. He doens’t think Yoffe is dis-worthy, nor that reform is dis-worthy. he just thought that it was funny that they were working so hard to re-create shabbat while taking every pain to ensure that it was nothing like an orthodox shabbat.
Actually Muffti, they do have religious principles guiding them. You guys should stop disrespecting a large and vibrant part of the Jewish population. It makes you look foolish. Many Reform Jews take their faith and practice pretty seriously and thousands upon thousands of them dedicate themselves to this movement and to living a Jewish life.
It isn’t uncommon for “open-minded” folks to get all bunched up when they feel as if thier ideals are under attack.
TM, Muffti didn’t mean that they have no principles 🙂 Muffti’s father is reform and he’s certainly not into dissing him or the people he prays with. He meant that the decision to upgrade shabbat doesn’t seem to be driven by any particular religious principle: the interpretation of the principles in the past has always made it so that Shabbat was not particularly important. What seens odd to Muffti is to introduce a religious holiday for what seem like very practical reasons: we’re all so damned busy. It sounds more like a reason for a weekly civic holiday.
Muffti doens’t really care and he doesn’t have a dog in this race: people should practice relgiously any way they see fit (that doesn’t harm others, etc. etc.) Go nuts! From Muffti’s point of view its all a bunch of mumbo jumbo either way.
Philosophers’ words that went down in history:
“Sapere aude.” (Kant)
“Cogito ergo sum.” (Descartes)
“zoon politikon” (Aristotle)
“[…] its [sic] all a bunch of mumbo jumbo either way.” (Grandmuffti)
Hee hee! That is like something out of “Plato & a Platypus Walk Into A Bar” which is a real book about philosophy.
GM is right. GM is SUCH A JEW.
Respect for all. It’s tough all over.
Yeah I read this same bit in the LA
Its like this “Rabbi” is playing with his
Brit… uuh, if I play with it, I can watch
my brit grow and it will give me an
uplifting feeling. Playing with the idea of
Shabat observance…that is the
covenant – Brit isn’t it?
My Brit will get big just like those
It seems like those Reform want to be
sporting wood to prove thiers is just as
big as those “neo-frumkeit”