Iâ€™m a few days late, but I must take serious issue with my good friend Ariel Beeryâ€™s recent Blogs of Zion post about the prayer for the State of Israel — and some communities that are revisiting its language and place in the service.
In a move that should shock no-one who understands the history of reform Judaism and its paradigm shift away from Judaism-as-a-lifestyle, the JTA is reporting that congregations have decided to stop or change their recitation of the Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel.
Ariel seems to see all those communities mentioned in the article as distinctly â€œreligiousâ€? or â€œspiritualâ€? — i.e. unconcerned with Jewish Peoplehood. Writes Ariel: â€œFrom a Zionist perspective, this move is further proof that a Judaism that is limited to the religious tradition of the Jews acts to tear apart our historical community.â€?
As a loyal member of Altshul, I have to say that Ariel is seriously mistaken in his diagnosis of who we are. Altshul does, indeed, hold a prayer service, but Iâ€™d venture to say that more of its members come for a sense of community and connection to other Jews than they do to commune with the Divine Spirit.
(In fact, Iâ€™ve described Altshul â€“ in jest â€“ as Hadar without soul.)
Ariel concludes his post with a bewildering statement that Iâ€™d love for him to explain:
In this case, the unwillingness of American Jewish â€™spiritual folkâ€™ to get their hands dirty suggests, I would argue, that theyâ€™re leaving us behind — that is, the Jewish People — in their own search for purity. But since they havenâ€™t yet accepted the principal of conversion, theyâ€™re less like the early Christians and more like the Essenes — and if history is any indication, Iâ€™m not sure itâ€™ll turn out so well for them either.
What principal of conversion have the â€œspiritual folkâ€? (we Altshulers?) not accepted?
For the record, Altshul — as far as I know — continues to recite the prayer for the State of Israel.
Pronounced: MIN-yun, meen-YAHN, Origin: Hebrew, quorum of 10 adult Jews (traditionally Jewish men) necessary for reciting many prayers.