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November 21, 2003

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PAGE 14 By Joe Berkofsky Reform Judaism, the temple's services until recently were MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. marked by choirs and English- (JTA)--At Temple Congrega- only prayer. tion Ohabei Shalom in Nash- This Reform movement ville, Tenn congregants charter synagogue is under- newly trained in the ancient going upheaval, and it is not skill of shofar-blowing alone. sounded theceremonial ram's A journey toward religious horn for the first time this tradition, accompanied by past Rosh Hashanah. musical innovation, is reshap- It was the first time a lay ing many of the more than member of the 150-year-old 920membersynagoguesofthe synagogue had blown the sho- Reform movement. far The change is not new but it "It was quite a pivotal mo- marks a continuing evolution ment" for the 800-family con- for the movement, which just gregation, said its rabbi, Mark officially changed its name to Schiftan. the Union for Reform Juda- Deeply rooted in classical ism,sheddingitsold moniker, PC Services, Inc. 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The Worship Wars: Worship Shabbat Torah study, which union's president, Rabbi Eric Change Four Years Later," alternates with two medita- Yoffie, signaled a historic shift which examined how Reform tion sessions. in North America's largest lib- congregations are responding Many Reform rabbis and eral Jewish denomination at to Yoffie's 1999 calls,cantors in the movement lead its 1999 bienflial with a wor- Change"is aprocess; every- services with a guitar--sev- ship initiative urging syna- body knows it takes seven to eralevenheldabiennialwork- gogues to use more Hebrew in 10 years," Hoffman said. shop on music and prayer. prayer and reassess commu- Indeed, exhortation to Blackhasalsoproducedsev- nal worship, change has become a move- erai compact disks. He leads His call came after a state- ment fixture, an informal, musical Shabbat ment of principles by the After World War II, theservice, which relies on a movement's Central Confer- UAHC's then-president Rabbi prayer book the congregation ence of American Rabbis, Maurice Eisendrath began designed that transliterates which had met in Pittsburgh moving Reform away from its the Hebrew and includes gen- earlier that year, sought "re- classical roots. His successors, der-neutral references to God, newed attention" to Jewish first Rabbi Alexander aswellasmonthlyFridaynight commandments, or mitzvot. Schindler, then Yoffie, who family Shabbat service featur- Last week, Yoffie tried to took the helm in 1996, fol- ing a puppet show for kids. nudgethemovementevenfur- lowed the path, with each one While 60 percent of the ther, calling for Reform Jews raisiog the bar further, synagogue's liturgy is now in to log online daily to a "Ten Formanyofthe4,500move- Hebrew, he said, it also often Minutes of Torah" Internet mentleadersandactivistswho runs a more formal service program, gathered in Minneapolis, with a choir and a sermon The Torah, he said during change remains an article of following the initial prayers, his Shabbat morning speech faith.Dailyandeveningprayer for those who prefer the old at the biennial, "is the engine sessions throughout theweek style. that drives Jewish life." echoed to crowds of dozens, A similar mix flavors the "Suchacommitmentwould with those praying donning rituals at Nashville's Temple enable us to meet our Jewish yarmulkes and prayer shawls. Congregation Ohabei Shalom. obligation to make Jewish The event also saw its first all- Once a month, some 200 study a fixed occurrence," Hebrew prayer session, people typically gather there Yoffie said. "And if the answer The workshops on religious for "Blue Jean Shabbat," fea- is,'I can't find 10 minutes,' let themes were crowded too, in- turing a five-piece band play- me suggest that we need to eluding those on delivering a ing music by the likes of the take a good look at our priori- d'var Torah, or text-based renowned Debbie Friedman. ties." teaching, learning to chant The cantor, Bernard Yoffie is the first to admit from the Torah, creating High Gutcheon, strums guitar. that many of North America's Holidayliturgyandexperienc- While about 40 percent of estimated 1.5 million Reform ing a yoga minyan. Ohabei Shalom's services now Jews may find the idea for- Some werenotsurprisedbycontain Hebrew--using the eign. Yoffie's renewed call for com- Gates of Prayer book, which Since his initial calls four mitment, if only because it was published in 1975 and of- years ago, Reform Jewry has embraced more intensive reli- gious study "conceptually," but not in practice, Yoffie said in an interview at the confer- ence. "There is a core, committed elite that is studying," he said. "On the ground, results are strong in some areas, less strong in others." Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, a professor of liturgy at the movement's seminary in New Insured Stucco Repair Ceiling Repair Drywall Repair Stain & Clear Coats Popcorn & Knockdown Deck Painting Ceiling Textures Garage Floor Coatings (407) 32%1754 Established since 1986 with music and son throughout. Beth Haverim, congregation in Mahwah is also experimentin new book. Beth Haverim's rabbi, Mosbacher, said that while feels the new prayer inclusion of Hebrew prayers is a lowing people to avoid ing Hebrew, he found its introduction. "Even as we shift to right, you have to edge that people yetwit he said. Like other con Beth Haverim is trying that gap, using about cent Hebrew in its but offering adult such as Hebrew Friday nil an introduction to course that is Reform congregations. course doubles as a for Jews and a r Jewish members. At the same time Haverim's cantor, Lieberstein, has created services as pop-infused Shabbat, and has brought i classically and jazz-tra pianist for the Hi HUC's Hoffman joked in Reform worshi most important music, music and In Reform sl Black, "we're movin emphasis on pediatric ism, where you drop off at school, to lifelon signaled another step in the fers alternative Shabbat ing." movement's evolution, prayers----older members still Despite all the signs of~ "Certainly the bar has been attend more classical Reform vor at the biennial, Yoffie~ raised," said Rabbi Joe Black, services using the Union he does not delude hi~:, of Congregation Albert in AI- Prayer Book, first published aboutwhat shappeningat~: buquerque, N.M. in 1895. grass-roots level, since 5~ "One of the things Rabbi TheAlbuquerqueandNash- summits largely draw ~ By l Yoffie has done throughout ville temples are among those movement's leadership ] N~ his tenure is place Torah at who have experimented with At the same time, he ~J Abrah" ef~l[ n~ thecenteroftheReformmove- the movement's new prayer "If you walk into the av~ areri ] ment." book, Mishkan Tefilah, which Reform synagogue nowaS~ ~ g o~[ ~eat a But Black said he and his is due to be published in 2005 posed to l0 years ago, y '~ Securit 700-household congregation, for wider dissemination, see that worship is appr~ theon~ "haven t necessarily responded The new prayer book in-bly different. It s more par] if not a tothecallformoretradition-- cludes prayers in Hebrew, with patory, there's more Heb T the callwasareflectionofwhat translations and translitera- "Hav~ we seen chang'e~':: direh~t ,dO . ~v was happening for many tions, commentary on the asked. Yes. Are we i 1 hOnLe 3 ears. prayers and source references, ~ l~k,"l We're never done.',SUrvive Ofthe 1' Yad B'Yad women support CJA Yad B'Yad brought together 45 women who donated $1,800+ to the Combined Jewish Appeal Cam- paign. Together, the women gave $165,868+ to support the Jewish community locai~l and worldwide. (Top) At the Yad B'Yad dinner are (l-r), TERRY NEUMAN, JUDY HARA and BARBARA WEINREICH. (Bottom) LAURIE SHADER SMITH (1) and LISA MAIZEL, co- chairs of Yad B'Yad.