So Sad, but True--Except for the Orthodox

First November NabloPoMo* post.  Let's see how consistent I can be here (don't hold your breath).

I just read an article entitled America's Holy Haunted Houses, about how most synagogues empty out after the "Chagim" or High Holidays are over.  The Jewish month in which we are now, called by its Babylonian name, "Heshvan," is sometimes called "Mar-Heshvan," 'mar' being another word for  'tipat mayim,' or a drop of water,because the prayer for rain is said on the last holiday in Tishrei called Shmini Atzeret--but it also means 'bitter,' some say because of the fact that this month contains no holidays, coming after the extremely holiday-laden and holy month of Tishrei.

But this, below, is not the case with my shul*, or any Orthodox shul, where people come to pray because they are observant, devout, and serious about Judaism as part of their everyday lives. They come to shul to daven, or pray, at least once a day (Judaism prescribes three times daily prayer), every day of the week, not only on Shabbat or holidays.
Halloween is most certainly no Jewish holiday; yet its spooky mood is curiously congruent with the ambience that overcomes American synagogues this time of year. With the termination of the hectic Fall holiday season, the large majority of synagogues across America, so recently overwhelmed with congregants, will once again take on the gloomy appearance of deserted, if not quite haunted, houses. And the sermons of thousands of rabbis will, as they have for well over a century, resound with the old perplexed plaint, "Where have all the Jews gone?"
And Halloween doesn't isn't even a blip on the Jewish radar.  Happy Mar-Heshvan, everybody, and may it rain a lot in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel).  And snow here; but not if I have to drive in it!

*shul: synagogue (Yiddish)
*Nablopomo: National Blog Posting Month.  Just because.


Susan B said…
Do you seriously think only Orthodox synagogues have good attendance this month? If so, feel free to visit the Reform synagogue where I'm a member. There are plenty of people there.

The author's point, however, is that if you take the number of people in the synagogue on any given Shabbat this month, and divide it by the total syanagogue membership, or the total number of Jews in the community (many of whom are unaffiliated), the percentage is low.

I suspect this is true everyhwhere.
Lady-Light said…
Susan B: Yes, this is true generally everywhere, but not in the Orthodox community where synagogue attendance doesn't vary much, except for during the summer months when people are often away on vacation.

It's encouraging to note that your Reform synagogue attendance was good this month. Kol haKavod!

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