Of course we’re staying for kiddush. We just got here.

Thumbnail image for kiddush.jpgWhile writing a check tonight for dues to the synagogue I kvetch about, I came to a realization. The best reason to belong to the synagogue is that I don’t feel guilty when we show up five minutes before kiddush. Hey, we’re paying good money not to show up for services. (Or for programs. The last time I tried to pitch a family education event to Ella, she shook her head. “I don’t mind shul,” she said. “But I do not like programs.”)

It’s not the free and/or easy food that brings me in the door at approximately 12 pm. I can shmear a bagel with cream cheese quite well in my own kitchen, thank you very much. And frankly, I buy much better bagels. Can you believe our synagogue actually serves Thomas’ Bagels (aka, rolls with holes?)
With a special dinner, our best dishes, songs and blessings, and a little company now and then, Friday night always feels like Shabbat in my home. But, as I explained to my kids last Saturday as we walked in the door just in time for Adon Olam, more than anything else we do on Saturdays, Kiddush makes shabbat feel like shabbat. 
In my book, there’s no better educational program than that.
PS – Want nine more reasons to become a member of a synagogue? Check out my post “That’s what I like about shul.
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bernard roth

posted June 11, 2010 at 10:52 am

Feh! I go to be a part of minyans that are hard to fill, Saturday morning is not one of these. Besides, I campaign to get rid of Musaf’ as it is about the Temple and sacrifices that we should have gotten rid of a thousand years before the Romans destroyed it. The age of synagogues and rabbis who are not hereditary is more acceptable. I believe that Minyans must be available for people who come to say Kaddish, memorial prayers for family members. I come in the Winter season when Jews head to Florida, and evening minyans w/o bagels. I will go to a morning Minyan if called. I have taught my children and grandchildren of this. I will sponsor a Saturday Kiddush near our anniversary, but my lunch at home is a bowl of filling home mad thick soup and a piece of whole grain bread. Possibly an apple frittter in season.

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posted June 11, 2010 at 11:03 am

Any comment that uses the word “feh” is all right by me!

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posted June 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I’m sorry, as the one who makes sure that there is a Kiddush in my shul, I am appalled that someone would ONLY come for Kiddush. That, IMHO, is worse than the people who just hang around after Torah Study and seldom add to the minyan, but certainly stay to eat. Just saying!

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posted June 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I’m very comfortable with how much time and energy I contribute to our synagogue (my husband, on the other hand, wishes it were much less). I think it’s everyone’s job to give, and take, from the shul they belong to in ways that are meaningful for them, and I don’t think it’s anyone’s business whether or not I pray. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business whether the people who prefer Torah study pray either. (Especially since that would be my second choice after kiddush. If we *had* torah study, that is.) Still, I’m glad to know that if I’m going to be considered bad, at least I’m the worst of the lot, as I’m fairly competitive. I’m curious who else is on the roster of “when jews go bad at shul.”

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posted June 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I just love to weigh in. : )
I completely disagree with davehenig, respectfully. I also spend time and money contributing to kiddush, and I don’t think it is horrible at all to only get there that late. Shul clergy and leadership want – or at least should want – to be building community. Especially outside of Israel. (In Israel, most people don’t build community around shul, and most shuls don’t have kiddush after services.) Better to go and do other mitzvot, like brightening someone’s day, make the bracha on the wine or grape juice, give the kids a sense that shul on Shabbat is “what we do” than to not show up.
You know me well enough by now to know I would prefer that going to shul/davening/kiddush didn’t involve driving there, but that isn’t this discussion, or actually any of my business.
It also doesn’t sound like you plan to get there in time for kiddush, you just plan to get there, and sometimes that’s the best you can do.
Your day to day involvement in your local community clearly demonstrates you didn’t show up for a free meal. From what I understand your girls make sure there are better muffins at home, anyway. : )

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Frume Sarah

posted June 16, 2010 at 8:14 pm

So I wish that everyone came to pray and to study. But I also recognize that pluralism, by definition, permits individuals to seek an expression of Judaism that works for them. That being said, religious behaviour ought not remain static. Where one is today may not be where one chooses to be next year.
My one concern is that your girls seem to already have some negative language when it comes to “programs.” Though they seem really bright, I’m guessing they didn’t come up with this on their own. Perhaps they overheard the grown-ups talking…

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posted June 16, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I don’t know… I have really tried to pitch tot shabbat and family services to my kids with plenty of enthusiasm. My daughter Ella is just a fairly anxious kid who doesn’t like anything unfamiliar. It’s hard to get her to go to anything – plays, music performances, lots of stuff that’s more enticing that shul programs.

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