The responses filed on Jewschool more or less sum up why there are flaws in BZ’s argument against the argument against Independent Jewish Minyanim. But there are a few flaws that warrant further exploration.
One: How does one pay for religious school for children?
BZ argues that most of the Indie Jews are “committed;” either recently or for many years. I will not deny that fact as an active Reform Jew who takes part in many synagogue functions, I sometimes feel as if the rabbi and I are the only folks that get the Parasha Ha’Shavoah jokes that are made…but that might have to do with me having a bad sense of humor.
But who will teach Ploni and Plonit’s children? They have chosen different professions to support their family and will therefore need to teach their children something about their “committed” religious views. But if they leave it up to those who simply get together for holidays and shabbatot, then we are in trouble. We will have educated parents and deficient children. This is a question I have never heard addressed by those defending Indie Jewish movements.
Two: Can the Minyanim work with the organizations?
Yes but that would make it less fun and hipster. Brooklyn Jews and Rabbi Bachman figured it out.
Three: What about the middle of no-where Jewish Communities?
I have yet to hear anyone tell me of an Indie Jewish community in Alabama or Utah or Alaska
Four: How does change take place in the Indie Jewish community?
I would say the same way they do in other orginizations, by the will of the dedicated and the vote of the majority. So in the same way that Ploni and Plonit left Rodef Kesef (that is just rude BZ) because they didn’t like something and couldn’t get it changed, other will leave Indie Minyans.
I don’t see people doing it now, but there will be a time and they will fight over members. There will be a minyan one goes to and one that one wouldn’t be caught dead in.
But the major difference is that these minyanim will not reach-out to the unaffiliated (like really unaffiliated not just those described by BZ) and they will not try to make accommodations for change, because they see themselves as the needed change.
So overall the arguments presented by BZ are not new, just as Indie Jewish Communities and Orgs are not new. But the problem over all is that these groups are not thinking long term and if they did, they would need to affiliate with the issues they hate. I am not against Indie Jewish communities per say, just the idea that they are different from anything going one today.