May 2, 2013

Recent Ritual Committee decisions/discussions at Congregation Netivot Shalom

Recent Ritual Committee decisions/discussions 

at Congregation Netivot Shalom:

Shared Aliyot, an aufruf for a member prior to their marriage to a non-Jew, a clarification of an existing custom regarding the non-Jewish parent at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah of their child

(compiled 5/2/13)

Our Torahs Are Being Inspected!
Sofer Zerach Greenfield  (a sofer/soferet is one who writes and repairs sefrei torah, t'fillin, and mezuzot) will conduct a complete  inspection of our sifrei torah on Tuesday evening, May 7, at 7PM, to determine repairs that may be needed. We know that one torah needs extensive repairs and is currently pasul (not kosher for use). While  there is no formal educational  program planned, anyone in the congregation who would like to attend  may join members of the ritual committee to learn, by observation, how  the process is done. 
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1. Parameters of shared Aliyot at CNS:


In the past, shared aliyot were limited to calling up a couple for a significant reason, such as their aufruf (aliyah before their wedding), a wedding anniversary, baby naming, or at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah of their child or grandchild.


Rabbi Creditor's ruling as mara d'atra is that two people may have an aliyah for a non-couple reason. He has implemented this gradually over the past six years in guiding families honoring relatives at B'nei mitzvah, and shared aliyot for the board at the Yamim Noraim (Rosh haShannah and Yom Kippur).


When the committee discussed this we focused on other occasions that might warrant a joint aliyah, such as chevruta partners finishing a unit of Jewish learning, friends about to travel to Israel, or a parent and child together, for a reason meaningful to them.


Therefore, if, when the calling gabbai offers an aliyah to someone, and that person asks if it can be an aliyah for them and their friend/spouse, they will be asked if it is for a special occasion. How does the gabbai determine what is a meaningful occasion? They can't. We will leave it up to congregants to respect this principle: that a shared aliyah is a special occasion. The Ritual committee will revisit this issue if we feel there are too many shared aliyot.


2. Should we call it an aufruf in the printed/emailed Shabbat announcements, when a member receives an aliyah prior to their marriage to a non-Jew?


(Note: the member would certainly receive an aliyah in any case; the question is specific: do we call that aliyah an aufruf?)

The committee voted yes, to call it an aufruf.


3. Clarification of an existing custom regarding the non-Jewish parent, at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah of their child:


We call up the Jewish parent for an aliyah. The non-Jewish parent stands with their Jewish partner/spouse during the aliyah, which the Jewish parent alone recites.


If the non-Jewish parent mistakenly chants the Torah blessing (which affirms Jewish identity) we will not embarrass them by stopping them.


This is an issue of education. Rabbi Creditor and the Amitim staff will continue educating families to make sure that they understand our current custom.


If any congregant would like to discuss these or other ritual practice issues, Claire Sherman (Ritual Chair) and Rabbi Creditor would be happy to do so!


Shabbat Shalom,
Claire Sherman, Ritual Committee Chair

Chag Sukkot Sameach, dear friends.