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Should people have to pay for high holiday services?

I will start this post with a story:

Two friends of mine spent Rosh Hashanah last year by this girls house in Long Island. These guys aren’t really the shul going type, so they got up at 12 and went to shul for about an hour. About two weeks later, the girls parents got a bill in the mail for their attendance at shul without having bought tickets. Apparently the shul had some spies of some sort to rat out the cheaters. Thats Long Island for ya.

Hilarious and horrible I say. I really don’t even like the whole concept of forcing people to pay for high holiday tickets, even shul membership bothers me- in fact my father left a shul because they asked him for membership even though he gave more then twice the membership dues in tzedaka.

The real question is this- have you ever scalped tickets to a high holiday service.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Yes, it is fair to make people pay for synagogue seats. I don’t even understand the basis for the question. Do you get let into the movies for free? Do you live in your apartment for free? Do you get to ride the bus for free? Someone has to pay for the expenses involved in running a shul! Frankly I think it’s a chutzpah for anyone to daven in a shul on a regular basis without making a meaningful financial contribution to the shul.

    • I’m responding to something from four years ago, but this is way off base.

      “Frankly I think it’s a chutzpah for anyone to daven in a shul on a regular basis without making a meaningful financial contribution to the shul.”

      The scenario described in Heshy’s post does not resemble your scenario. Saying people who regularly attend a shul is one thing, trying to bill anyone who ever set foot in the shul even for an hour is another.

  • Yes but paying to pray is ridiculous- it should be a voluntary contribution. This is why they have membership dues. So why should someone have to pay extra for the high holidays? Why don’t people have to pay for shavuot or sukkot?

    People who cannot afford to pay should not feel guilty about coming to shul. If it were based on income and not a one size fits all system it seems better to me. Maybe that is just the liberal in me talking, but I believe in tzedaka, not forced payments.

    What your saying is understandable if your a regular, but if your a submarine Jew (Jews that come up twice a year) you shouldn’t be forced to pay.

  • I believe my father pays for his own seat at shul, but my mother and I have never paid for a seat. We usually just go in and stand in the back if necessary. Not because we feel cheap, but because it’s just too expensive.

    I understand why they do it, though, so I don’t really have complaints. What I still don’t understand is how they get away with auctioning off aliyot…

  • You see auctioning off aliyot seems fine to me- but paying to pray seems like piracy. Taking advantage of peoples necessities to get some cash on top of membership dues.

  • I disagree. Obviously, if a shul has the financial means to be able to afford to let people use the shul without making a contribution, more power to them. (Ask anyone who deal with shul finances if this is possible – they will probably laugh.) But it is perfectly reasonable to require payment for use of the synagogue. Why do they charge extra for high holiday seats? Well, first answer me why so many people only appear in synagogue on those particular day. It is one answer to both questions.

    Paying to pray is ridiculous. Indeed, you can pray anytime you want, free of charge, in your own home. But if you want to pray specifically in my synagogue, the synagogue has every right to ask you to pay “rent”. Just because prayer is a religious activity doesn’t give you the right to pray wherever you want! And put yourself “in Hashem’s shoes” for a minute – who do you think looks better, the guy who comes to shul without paying his dues and relies on everyone else’s hard-earned money to keep the place running, or the guy who comes to shul and feels it is worth spending his money to pay his way to being there?

  • conservative sci fi

    Hesh,

    I think you have to distinguish between two issues. One is ability to pay and the other is desire to pay. A synagogue should never turn away someone because they cannot afford to pay for tickets, and I think most synagogues don’t do that. If a person is poor, not working, or whatever, they can confidentially speak with the Rabbi or Exec. Director and arrange for a dues reduction, lower or free high holiday seats.

    You didn’t indicate that these guys were poor, just not frequent attendees of shul. If they can afford to pay, they should pay. Why should the regular attendees have to pay all year long so that these two financially able schlemiels can come for free on the only two or three days they want to bother to attend. As Mordechai said, someone is paying for the lights, building, Rabbi, etc. I’m sure they wouldn’t walk into a movie theater twenty minutes late and say, well we only go to one movie a year, so you should let us in for free. They’d be laughed out. If you want a more sacred space, same issue at a Yankees game.

    If they just want to pray, there are always some free services somewhere. The cheap guys can go there.

  • conservative sci fi

    Rina,

    By “too expensive” do you mean that buying seats would seriously impact your life (couldn’t buy food, pay rent, cover college tuition) or do you mean by “too expensive” that you’d rather spend the money on something else like fancier clothes, expensive restaurant meals, or a nicer hotel on your luxury vacation.

    I think most people would agree the former is an acceptable reason not to buy tickets. I, at least, would argue that the latter is not an appropriate set of reasons.

  • Nobody should be turned away, but reserved seats are for those who paid for them. There wouldn’t even be a floor, ceiling, heating, cooling etc if there weren’t dues-payers.
    That’s life.
    In our shul, anyone can come in to pray, but there’s a seat-shortage at times, especially the holidays and especially in the women’s section.
    There’s no “gate-keeper,” guards etc. Nobody’s turned away.
    Is anyone interested in coming to Shiloh?

  • utubefan

    My husband taught me a big lesson years ago (and that’s weird because I know way more than he does) when I was annoyed that he was charging for a teen Kiruv event. I thought we should shoulder the expenses so we would get a better turnout. He said: “Paying in is ownership. Ownership is pride and commitment. We need them to show up, but we also need them to take some sort of ownership in the experience.” You know, he’s right. And as to Shul expenses, it is way more complicated than people think it is to run a Shul. I would never want to suppose that they could do it all without me and then “take” from them. It’s kind of a Mentchlechkeit thing. Like doubledipping.

    • “(and that’s weird because I know way more than he does)”

      Someone has quite the ego…

  • Future Druggie

    In my neighborhood, there are several “beginner’s minyan” places that offer really cheap seats, that are not Chabad related.

  • Non-Payer

    I’m in shul so little over the year that I’d feel cheated if I actually paid for Rosh Hashana. There’s plenty of seats anyway. But I do get why it’s not ‘voluntary.’ Because you jews may not know your own negative habits but any shul charging voluntary contributions is going to get a grand total of: $Crap.

    Shuls are a business just like the Rabbi’s heterim system. Go or don’t go. It appears lots of people complain alot about shul and its pratices on this site, my question to you is then why do you go. How about not going and not complaining. Or if you choose to go, no one forced you so dont complain.

    Oh, and Larry David is godly.

  • To me- paying extra for Rosh Hashanah seats is like tipping- I understand why its done, I force myself to do it- but it pisses the hell out of me.

  • Chris_B

    I dont know what these things cost in the US/UK/EU/IL but between tickets and meal reservations for two, I’m gonna be forgoing any record purchases this month and next.

    Dont take that as complaining though, I know how much things cost in Tokyo and we have exactly ONE place thats not Chabad here.

  • Yochanan

    If shuls are strapped for cash, they should find another way of making money.

    What image of Judaism does paying for a shul seat give to the twice a year Jews? That the High Holidays are a business adventure?

    Nuff Said

  • We don’t charge extra for the holidays, just annual membership, and there are other minyan options, like the yeshiva.

    Shuls should be welcoming to non-members, but non-members shouldn’t take the “services” for granted. It’s rude not to pay something, even an anonymous donation. Otherwise it’s like walking into a restaurant and eating from the salad bar without paying, claiming that the food’s there and a certain percentage would end up being thrown out, so you’re doing them a favor by filling a plate.

    • “Otherwise it’s like walking into a restaurant and eating from the salad bar without paying, claiming that the food’s there and a certain percentage would end up being thrown out, so you’re doing them a favor by filling a plate.”

      No, there’s a huge difference between finding a seat that’s not reserved and sitting there quietly for a little and going into a restaurant and eating their food. Your comparison is awful.

  • Chossid

    Chabad rocks. ‘Nuff said.

  • m00kie

    i dont like the fact that we pay for high holiday seats – but i do think that it makes sense to have a membership fee – for the whole year, including the high holidays.
    i think most shuls make exceptions for those who cant afford it
    and for others who just want to ‘drop by’, they can use an empty seat.. and if there are none, they can stand.
    no one should be turned away if they want to pray, but praying doesnt require a seat with your name on it!
    when ive travelled, or just couldnt afford a seat, i still went to shul – i just didnt have my own assigned seat.

    i think what turns poeple off is the fact that the shuls charge specifically for the high holidays, as if its a concert or an entertainment event – or a way to scam money from those who barely show up. if it’s presented as a year membership and someone just chooses to show up twice a year, that’s their choice, not the shul’s

  • That clip is hilarious. Chabad houses definitely rock, they are the only ones that will front the fees for rent, electricity, maintenance, clergy and kiddush without ever asking for a dime in return. Mainstream Chabad shuls do charge for membership, the seats are for the entire year, charged for Rosh Hashana. The chazzan fess for Rosha Hashana and Yom Kippur run into the thousands so I don’t blame them.

    I daven at a small Chabad minyan, the fees they charge don’t even cover the expenses, so members contribute througouht the year, in addition to sponsoring kiddushes and buying aliyot for the high holidays.

    Nothing wrong with a shul trying to cover it’s expenses, as long as they aren’t gouging. I can see where members attending once a year might find seats expensive, but if you have a family plan and attend every shabbos and yom tov, the fees are relatively cheap.

  • “You see auctioning off aliyot seems fine to me- but paying to pray seems like piracy.” In my opinion, auctioning off aliyot is a great way to either embarrass people in public and/or ensure that only the rich get aliyot. I hate both the auctioning of aliyot and the public calling of pledges.

    “What your saying is understandable if your a regular, but if your a submarine Jew (Jews that come up twice a year) you shouldn’t be forced to pay.”

    So those of us who pay for the rabbi, the cantor, the baal koreh/leiner/Torah reader, the maintenance person(s)/Shabbas Goy(im), the office staff, the utilities, etc., all year long are supposed to shoulder the bill for freeloaders who show up only a few days a year and think they owe us nothing for making sure that the place is open for them? Our Aron Kodesh/Ark is now padlocked because we can no longer afford to pay for an alarm to keep the thieves from stealing our sifrei Torah/Torah scroll, which seems to be the latest crime trend in the New York City metropolitan area, and it’s likely that our building will be up for sale within the next couple of years. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who wants to show up three times a year to pray and hasn’t paid all year long should quite literally put his/her money where his/her mouth is. (Arrangements can be made for those with financial problems. It would be nice if we could afford to let members attend for free, but alas . . .)

  • shevers

    Conservative sci fi- I hate to disagree… but when I was in middle school my dad left and we were losing our house… the whole shebang… my mother couldn’t afford tickets to go to high holiday services and they wouldn’t let us come…

    Thats why I’m with Hesh on this one… yes people should contribute, but forced contribution especially when someone mamesh doesn’t have the money is wrong.

  • shevers

    The sad thing is after that my mom stopped going, stopped lighting shabbos candles… not like we were religious… but she was in a hard spot and was burned. Because the shul couldn’t get over the fact that my mom really didn’t have money it screwed up her Judaism.

  • Yochanan

    “Chabad rocks. ‘Nuff said.”

    I think this is a conspiracy to make unaffiliated Jews join Chabad:)

    “In my opinion, auctioning off aliyot is a great way to either embarrass people in public and/or ensure that only the rich get aliyot. I hate both the auctioning of aliyot and the public calling of pledges.”

    Maybe a better way of choosing aliyot is to do something like Parsha trivia.

  • Yochanan

    Another thing:

    I think it’s offensive to call 4-times-year-Jews “freeloaders”. The majority of them come from non-religious families and have a simplistic view on the Jewish year cylce:

    Rosh HaShanah: Shofar
    Yom Kipur: Fast
    Chanukah: Menorah
    Pesach: Matzah

    So, when they walk into shul on the high holidays, they aren’t thinking “I’m totally jipping these idiots”, but rather “I don’t know much about Judaism, but I know my ancestors went to hear the shofar on Rosh HaShanah.”

    Perhaps if the shul isn’t presented to them as Madison Square Garden, they will feel more comfortable about becoming members.

  • AF

    You shouldn’t have to pay for your rights. It’s a right of every Jew to go to shull, and anyone who says otherwise is probably descended from Amalek. If you have a community, in which there aren’t enough rich people willing to donate their money (with no coercion) to a shull, maybe it’s time to close the shull, fire the rabbi, and call Chabad Headquarters to send in some professionals in reviving dying Jewish communities.

  • serial commenter

    That’s funny; my mom stopped going to shul ’cause when she went to talk to her rav about having been molested (as a child), the rav told her if he had known that was happening, he would have been with her (like an adult is with an adult). D’oh!

    You may be in Israel, now, but you affected the level of Yiddishkeit in the home in which I was raised. Don’t you ever lay a hand on a child, and don’t you ever say something that thoughtless and harmful to someone again! May Hashem deliver justice swiftly to you, and healing swiftly to my mother.

  • serial commenter

    He is retired and doesn’t work with children. If he did I’d contact him and/or an appropriate authority directly.

  • Yochanan

    “You shouldn’t have to pay for your rights. It’s a right of every Jew to go to shull, and anyone who says otherwise is probably descended from Amalek.”

    Makes me think of the Beastie Boys: “(You Gotta) Fight For You Right To DAVEN”

    Pro-ticket people might say: “Mr and Mrs. 4-times-a-year don’t have to pay to daven. They can pray at home.” This is flawed because a shul newbie probably knows diddly squat about davening. They associate Jewish prayers with attending a synagogue. Chances are, most don’t own a sidur. Much less a machzor.

  • To AF:

    Forcing Jews to pay for shul is a Jewish tradition and is actually halacha. In the “olden days” they actually had members of the community assess fees that were enforced on each family depending on what these collectors decided a family could afford. The fees were used to pay for shul and school upkeep. These lasted from the times of the talmud until the times of the Shulchan Aruch, possibly later.

    Get the facts straight before accusing shuls and rabbis of being “amalek”.

    That being said, I definitely think they should have leniencies for those that REALLY can’t afford it, I.E have no food. It’s find of hard to believe the guy with his Florida tan driving a BMW when he cries poverty.

  • Yochana,

    You forgot the “Culinary Jew”.

    Rosha Hashana = Apples & honey
    Yom Kippur = Coffee break (reform only)
    Chanuka = Latkes
    Tu bishvat = Fruit
    Purim = Hamantash
    Pessach = matza
    Shavuos = Cheesecake
    Shabbos = kiddush

    Seems like we internalize our holidays literally. In the long run that’s all some remember after a couple generations, maybe it’s part of what helps keep us practicing.

    Think about it: How many people go to seder vs how many go to shul on Pessach night?

  • shevers, the board of your old shul should rot in Hell. A little chessed goes a long way.

  • Utopia Freak

    I say Shevers and his mama should not become atheists, they just need to join the religion that has the most free stuff. All poor people need to go there. That makes the most sense. You can still have your faith and eat baked goods too. So what if its at a church or a mosque. Free prayer is still a good bargain. Remember the saying is pennies from heaven, not hundreds of dollars to get to heaven. But if you must buy a stairway to heaven, it should be within your budget. Any other questions?

  • ConservativeSci Fi

    Shevers,

    I’m sorry that the synagogue of your youth had id-io-ts who decided requests for free tickets, but at my synagogue, I know that more than 40% of the membership is on a reduced price plan of some sort. My synagogue is a large, mainline conservative synagogue, but we do not turn away anyone, whether they can pay or not.

  • Anonymous

    Im with Yochanan. One cant call 4-time a year Jews “freeloaders” because you don’t really know their situation. Who is anybody to be judgemental.

  • Yochanan

    Shevers:

    Since we ask for forgiveness during the high holidays, I wonder how seriously God took the requests of people on that shul board. This is beyond murdering your parents and asking for the court’s mercy on the grounds that you’re an orphan. This is murdering them in court.

  • Yochanan

    Phil,

    The back-in-the-day payments went to a general community fund. The people paying felt part of the community. Today’s ticketmaster shuls push people away.

  • Okay, maybe the word “freeloaders” was not the best choice of word. But I still want to know how anyone can walk into a synagogue to which they haven’t contributed a thin dime–assuming that they have a thin dime to contribute–and expect even to have a synagogue to walk into. The right of every Jew to go to synagogue is automatically canceled if there’s no synagogue. I agree that arrangements should always be made for those who can’t afford to pay in full.

  • chanief

    I see so much judgment and intolerance from those here who think it’s not only acceptable but “right” to charge for High Holiday services. I find that fascinating. Why is this the case?

    I think that if I had to go to services knowing that I could not afford to pay for the tickets and had to see the Rabbi or the board for assistance in obtaining them, I would probably feel uncomfortable going to services.

    This is why the Chabad houses, which don’t charge for services, are so wonderful. If you can afford to make a donation it is welcome, but no one ever need feel the slightest bit uncomfortable about not being able to contribute.

  • shevers

    Shevers and HER momma did not become atheists. Shevers ended up becoming observant through Chabad and got her mom and sisters to come to shul there this year. So hah to the shul of my youth.

  • AF

    >Forcing Jews to pay for shul is a Jewish tradition and is actually halacha.

    Source, please.

  • Anonymous

    Chabad = Yay! I was encouraged to become more observant because of their presence in my (small) city. They are indeed wonderful and welcoming.

  • jess

    I know that most shuls around where I live, charge both a membership fee and high holiday seats. However, if one can’t afford to pay they don’t have to. As for the shul I go to (Chabad) there is no membership fees, so the only way the majority of the money comes for the year is through high holiday fees. That being said, we will not turn anyone who didn’t or can’t afford to pay away. We may ask someone to get up from a seat that’s not theirs but not tell them to leave.

  • Yochanan

    Shira, I walk into shuls all the time during the regular year. Last time I checked there wasn’t someoone collecting tickets for the kiddush.

  • Yochanan

    Charging for religious services sends the wrong message. It doesn’t matter if the people coming in don’t have a penny to their name or are multi-billionaires.

    Perhaps if High Holiday sales are so well, shuls should charge for every service of the year.

    If you make every minyan you can pay 49.95 a month. However, you might miss a few minyanim hear and there, so you’ll take the lite version for 29.95. If you only come on Shabbat 10.00.

  • Yochanan, You have it backwards. It should be like pool membership. Pay for the year to make each visit cost less. Our pool is open for 3 months a year, and I calculate how many times I have to go so each “swim” cost me less than if I had just bought ticket cards.
    So with shul, pay for the year and the High Holidays are bonus. If you don’t pay for the year, you have to pay the same for the holidays!

  • Chris_B

    Again, not knowing how much it cost’s y’all, but its 15,000 Yen for a “season pass” here but I know for a fact that some folks who cant afford it are getting either a pass or a discount, even on some of the meals.

    Sure its a big expense for me, but having to rent out big spaces to accommodate all the people who show up only at this time, that aint cheap at all!

    There’s just not so many folks come most weeks and sometimes not even a minyan and they let us come daven on shabbat w/o a money hassle so I plan on getting us a family membership once we finish the conversion. So from now I wont worry about the expense of the tickets, just set aside a little bit every month to cover it come the right time.

  • AF:

    “Forcing Jews to pay for shul is a Jewish tradition and is actually halacha”

    I read it in the Shulchan Aruch Harav, but I believe the Mishna Berura is in agreement. I also listened to a shiur from the Ben Ish Chai that said the same thing.

    Furthermore, I believe the law was applied to yeshivot too. The poor went for free, the rich paid for other’s kids, not sure about how the middle class did. It was all assessed by the “vaad” and enforced.

  • AF

    >I read it in the Shulchan Aruch Harav, but I believe the Mishna Berura is in agreement.

    I am a fan of SA”HR — where did you read it?

    It’s one thing to say it’s a mitzvah to pay for other people’s kids / shull membership, and quite another to say that you can prevent a Jew from davening on Rosh HaShanah because he didn’t pay his dues (even if he’s a rich person). I’d like to see Alter Rebbe kick a poretz who hasn’t paid his dues out of the shull…

  • AF:

    Hilchot Talmud Torah, perek alef, seif gimmel., it is actualy talking about yeshiva fees, I believe the shul fees were Mishna Berura and/or Ben Ish Chai. They are based on similar concepts. They even had the right to increase the fees to renovate / beautify the shul.

    I don’t believe they kicked anyone out for not paying, they simply enforced the fees on the locals under threat of cherem.

    Similar is the story of Hillel who was too poor to pay the yeshiva doorman, ended up going on the roof to listen to the shiur, it snowed on him an he nearly froze to death. The rabbis realized what happened when they saw a human form in the skylight and brought him in and revived him using hot water on Shabbos.

  • Gimmel

    Our Rabbi charges us extra to say kaddish. Aisle seats cost extra. Seats next to the mechitza vary depending if its next to the young women or the old women. A discount is given to people who have a Jewish accent or a relative who was in the holocaust. If you don’t sponser a kiddush at least once a year you can be blackballed from eating anything from the meat table.

  • Hey Gimmel you sure your not talking about the new prices on airlines. Pillows cost money, headphones cost money, etc…

  • AF

    >Hilchot Talmud Torah, perek alef, seif gimmel., it is actualy talking about yeshiva fees

    This is simply taxes on local community by local government to enforce education. It is not a requirement to pay “synagogue dues”.

    >I don’t believe they kicked anyone out for not paying, they simply enforced the fees on the locals under threat of cherem.

    Again, it’s called “taxes”. Asking a family to pay for a guest who visited the shull is the same as asking me to for police protection when I visit a city/state in which I don’t live (and whose taxes I don’t pay) — and if I don’t pay, the police of that city won’t protect me.

    >Similar is the story of Hillel who was too poor to pay the yeshiva doorman, ended up going on the roof to listen to the shiur, it snowed on him an he nearly froze to death. The rabbis realized what happened when they saw a human form in the skylight and brought him in and revived him using hot water on Shabbos.

    That’s a great story in support of kicking anybody who doesn’t pay membership fees out of shull/yeshiva.

  • AF

    >me to for police protection
    “Me to pay for police protection”, rather.

  • AF

    >The rabbis realized what happened when they saw a human form in the skylight and brought him in and revived him using hot water on Shabbos.

    Did they send him a bill for emergency treatment afterward?

  • AF:

    Don’t shot the messneger, I’m just telling you what I’ve read and heard. Fact is someone has to pay for al the expenses related in running schools and shuls. Anyone that uses their services should be obliged to pay something. Some Chabad houses go beyond what’s required by fronting all the cash without ever charging for seats, others start charging once they have anough of a membership base and need bogger facilities.

    Is it fair to “shnor” only off the rich in order for the middle class to be able to get away with not paying after taking their yearly vacations and driving fancy cars? Maybe you would like to “volunteer” to pay the entire shul fees so others can come free…

    The Hillel story was stated to demonstrate how much he yearned to learn. He lived on the barest minimum in a shack, chopping only enough wood to earn the equivalent of a few slices of bread (in today’s terms about $4 per day), and an additional coin for the yeshiva doorman to let him in to come and learn. On that day he was out of cash, the rest is history.

  • AF

    >Is it fair to “shnor” only off the rich in order for the middle class to be able to get away with not paying after taking their yearly vacations and driving fancy cars? Maybe you would like to “volunteer” to pay the entire shul fees so others can come free…

    No. In a free, capitalist society everyone pays for the service he receives. You cannot force rich to pay for the poor, unless they volunteer. But in Judaism, it’s a different story: we assume to be one family, and inside a family, capitalism is immoral. That’s why we lend money with no interest to other Jews. That’s why we don’t hurt other Jew’s business through excessive competition (even though competition is good for market). That’s why we sell our field to our neighbor first. And so on.

    Yes, throughout times, when necessary, there were additional regulations that created loopholes in “family-oriented” system to fit economic, social or political needs of the time. Prizbul, for instance. Or the loophole that allows banks in Israel to give credit. Or taxing the community to pay for education of poor children. These things are necessary in necessary times and conditions, because as Jews, we know there are things higher than laws of market, and sometimes even higher than logic of the world.

    Nowadays, however, times changed yet again. It’s not proper to kick somebody out of shull because he doesn’t pay the dues. We are trying to bring Mashiach, we are trying to stop the spiritual Holocaust, we are trying to save our brothers and sisters who are dying. Chabad shluchim realize this — this is why they don’t charge people for coming, and try to appeal to local rich folks (who see all the good Chabad houses do and are more than happy to give money), not because they are socialists at heart.

    Bottom line: Oral Torah was given to us precisely so that we can live with times (which is why it’s so funny when Conservative and Reform Jews accuse us that we are archaic).

  • Chris_B

    jew lookin’ at me???? said: “i have an econ degree from berkeley ”

    No wonder you are worried about paying the bills! It aint called “the dismal science” for nothin now is it?

    “and that’s why we’re in the worst recession i’ve ever seen after 8 years of Bush?”

    You must be young. I’ve lived through a number of recessions and with this current downturn (technically not a recession by any respected measurement) no where I know is half the town out of work like when they shut down the Maxwell House plant where I grew up in NJ during the Ford/Carter recession.

  • Prili

    I assume most shuls have some sort of program installed for people who cannot afford to pay membership dues and high holy day. At least my shul does, and just because you don’t know about them it does not mean that they don’t exist

  • AztecQueen2000

    At the Conservaform “synagogue” I used to attend in San Diego, I had to bring not only my ticket, but my driver’s license. And there were armed security guards (armed with GUNS!) outside each entrance to make sure no unauthorized person got in. All of this was done at the rabbi’s behest.
    I could barely afford gas and groceries on my meager salary, but I scraped together my synagogue dues just so I could get in. Of course, I was there pretty much every day, but that’s another story.

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  • Puzzled

    Is the rabbi allowed to request the guards to carry guns on the holiday? I thought we can’t ask a non-Jew to do melacha for us directly. Or maybe the guns are for self-defense, so it’s really for them?

    Anyway, here’s a crazy idea – what if shuls were simpler and didn’t have tons of silver and jewels everywhere?

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