Wednesday, September 03, 2008

You eat shrimp?


We were visiting PHD's 93-year old mother at the independent living facility where she lives. We happened to see a friend of ours there who's mother also lives there. (This friend also happens to be a Reform Rabbi.) They were sitting in the dining room and motioned for us to come and sit with them while they waited for their food. We sat, talked about the wedding, talked about LO starting school, etc.

Then the food came.

The server placed a plate of chicken and shrimp in front of our friend.

Before the plate was completely on the table, LO exclaimed, "Rabbi, how could you? How can you be a Rabbi and eat SHRIMP? Oh my gosh - you are going to have to fast for a lot of days for Yom Kippur...." This went on and on until I literally had to tell her to stop talking.

Oh yeah, that is my little kosher police. Gotta love that.

(But I guess that now might be a good time to explain the differences in observance level for Reform Jews and the more observant ones.)

7 comments:

The Babka Nosher said...

One of the local reform congregations is famous for having shrimp at B'nai Mitzvah receptions held there - even at congregational events. I understand they don't keep kosher, but sure is an affront to other Jews who walk in the door. Can't they at least restrict the "temple" to kosher style?

torontopearl said...

Did the rabbi give LO any explanation? Did he look embarrassed at all?

Babka Nosher, that is more than sad about the congregation you mention...deliberately doing something so treif. What one does in a home or outside the home is one's business in a way, but having treif in a shul -- reform or otherwise? FEH!

Jewish Deaf Motorcycling Dad said...

I was with a group touring a Reformed synagogue (they had special accommodations for deaf people there and were showing it off). Afterwards they served lunch, still in the synagogue. They actually served ham and cheese sandwiches. Now, at the time, I wasn't religious. Barely practicing anything, but even then, that just seemed SO wrong.

As for the talk about the different levels of observance, we had that early with my older daughter (I think she was 3 at the time) She had stated that my parents weren't Jewish because they ate non-kosher food, and drove around on Shabbos. Had to nip that one right in the bud. Bad enough that they (wrongfully) suspect I harbor desires to make them orthodox, don't want them thinking I tell my kids that they aren't even Jewish. Oy.

Kol Ra'ash Gadol said...

Funny, my friend (KosherWhine) calls her kid KosherCop because he's prone to doing that same sort of thing. I think it's part of being a kid - things are more black-and-white.

Oddly, I haven't heard my own kid do this. I wonder if it's because we are parvetarians (only dairy and parve in our house ) so to him eating meat is kind of like treif.

Onthe topic of Reform shuls with unkosher buildings - I ws serving as an intern in an unnamed state where there was a small Conservative shul (where i was interning) and a big (ish) Reform shul Every year they had an MLK celebration together. I was scheduled to participate. After much pestering I got the rabbi to answer the question of whether or not their (friday) maariv service would yotzi my congregants (no)so I arranged to have a short quick service at our shul before we went over. I tried to find out what kind of food they were serving. Cookies and fruit. I asked could they put out *one* tray of something hechshered, like Entemanns (at the time, all kosher)it didn't have to be marked as kosher, just left in the box, so people would know, and after multiple requests, much arguing that this was personally offensive to them, finally I got an okay.
SoI walk in Friday night and guess what - they forgot to mention that there would be TV CAMERAS there. Isuppose at least it wasn't jews filming, but I was really miffed, and considered walking out. Didn't in the end. Istill don't know whether I did the right thing or not by staying.
Oh, and by the way. No Entemanns either.

There's got to be some irony in celebrating MLK day by refusing to recognize different level s of observance in the community.

orieyenta said...

BN - I'm with you. I respect their choice (even though I don't agree with it) to not keep kosher but shrimp at a temple event? I can't imagine.

Pearl - He was very diplomatic and just smiled at her.

JDMD - Ham and Cheese? Really? Oy.

I've had the talk about different levels of observance with her several times - I am not sure it has set it though. I think in her heart she can't imagine why anyone would want to be at any other level of observance than the level that we are at. That's cute about your daughter - bet her and LO together would be pretty funny.

KRG - Sounds like KosherCop could be a shidduch for LO!

This is the second time someone mentioned a dairy home...I have been trying to talk PHD into that - it would make it so much easier with the dishes! Right now we have SIX sets of dishes...I sure would love to have some of that shelf space back.

That's an interesting situation that you described. Sadly I bet things like that happen more often than not.

Rivster said...

There is a wide spectrum of kashrut observance within the Reform movement. I can assure you that our Reform shul does not permit high treif (shellfish and its byproducts and pork and its byproducts) or the mixing of milk and meat. And I would say this is fairly standard at a goodly number of Reform synagogues.

Nor do our rabbis partake in such foods.

Most certainly, a high number of Reform Jews do not observe kashrut but I reckon that a lack of observance is found among folks who affiliate with other movements.

The most disturbing issue here is the lack of respect for those who are observing this mitzvah. As a shul affiliated with the Reform movement, we observe 7 days of Pesach. However, if we have a function that happens to fall on the day after the chag ends (which some might call the 8th day), we would have Pesadik food available for those of our members who have a family tradition of extending the chag by one day.

After all, it was baseless hatred which caused the fall of the Temple...

orieyenta said...

Rivster - I don't find it hard to believe that there is a wide spectrum of observance level in the Reform movement since I see a wide spectrum of observance level in all of the movements.

And I find it sad that you see a lack of respect for those who choose to observe this mitzvah. I always expect that from my Gentile family and friends but from other Jews...that's just not right.

Our teachings do not condemn others for choosing a religion different than our own - we simply respect others right to choose. As Jews we could certainly learn from that within our own community. As Jews we should be happy whether someone chooses to observe 1 or all of the mitzvot. As I often tell LO, ONE is better than NONE. Shabbat Shalom.