Back when I was coming into my own, I had a very interesting conversation with my then-girlfriend. I said that is something is broken you have to throw the entire thing out and try again. She, being a very establishment kind of woman, said that you have to work within the rules of the system and then try to change it to fit your needs. Well after growing up just a bit, I think we were both naïve to assume that it was either one way or the other.
I still don’t like the system. But I have come to realize some of the merit she had discussed. The system in place isn’t always wrong, just most of the time. It is wrong simply because it is set up by people trying to get the most out of the system while pleasing the greatest number of individuals. Being a true progressive or liberal or whatever we want to assign to ourselves, we need to fix the problems we see within our community or system.
Granted a havurot movement is an establishment in and of itself. It has been around since the 1960s/70s and serves a broad community. Young people tend to come in greater numbers to these services than older folks for many reasons. But what does that mean to me, someone who doesn’t like the feeling of sitting together and finding holiness in music or drum circles? That is the question that is asked about havurot. What can I get from this community and what can I give to it. BZ, the “me first give me give me” aspect is found everywhere and you are right about those who “get bar/bat mitzvahed” and leave. But I think it is more prevalent within a younger community, and therefore found more in the indy minyans. Many young parents (the bar mitzvah factory crowd) also are young and fall into that community of me first give me give mees.
But this is my last argument on this issue for two reasons: 1. I don’t really care about the outcome. 2. I have no vested interest in what happens. It was discussed briefly that ReformJews don’t get the education they need to identify with Judaism. Ach. It was also discussed that small independent groups will remain strong forever but if they need to disband because they aren’t working anymore they will disband. Ach. BZ you grew up in the Reform camps and the like right? All Jewish learning is a starting point and you should know that. All institutions remain in one form or another because someone (with power) tends to see them as necessary.
Kung Fu Jew, I don’t think someone is saying the indy groups are the answer to all problems but it sure is insinuated. The idea that young people can’t find anything meaningful in traditionally organized communities, young people are quoted all the time saying that they don’t find any thing worth their salt in synagogues and are forced to go to indy minyanim to find meaning etc.
“Do any of us pray in Reform synagogues in New York City aside from small minyanim at Beth Elohim?” the Park Slope Reform synagogue where he works as rabbinic intern. “No. You’re more likely to find us at the independent minyanim” that in recent years have sprouted up around New York City, where the approach to prayer tends to be at once creative and traditional. NYJW
So folks do what you want. I don’t care what you do or who you do it with. Throw out the system that doesn’t work for you. That is not my beef, for at one point in my adolescents I too wanted to get rid of the system. I won’t even say “when you are done playing you will be welcome back.” If you never want to be part of my community that is fine and if you want in you are welcome. I don’t care at all. It isn’t for me but can be for you. I however am done talking about this.
Take me on for different reasons but on this issue, I am finished.