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Reality Check 1, It's Saturday!

pierre_100I'm not a morning person. I prefer going from unconscious rest to conscious rest, then building up to a long and productive day, as if my life was a daily re-enactment of Pachelbel's Canon.

 

Saturday morning, savouring both the quiet of the morning and my first cup of tea, I was reading the Globe & Mail when it struck me - It's Saturday! The Shabbat service starts at 10:15 this morning!

I rushed to get ready, jumped into the CHRI Out & About Arnprior-Chrysler Cruiser (whew!) and took off, focused on getting there quickly. But things just did not seem right as I left Aviation & Ogilvie and made a beeline for Temple Israel. Why was there so much traffic on the road? How come the gas station prices were so high? Is there a big sale at the mall? Doesn't anybody go to church anymore? Get out of my way! Unchristian, I know, but Get Me to The Temple on Time!

I made it with about 10 minutes to spare, for God is my co-pilot and there's a reason He has white hair and a white beard.

I walked into the sanctuary full of adrenaline and no caffeine. By the time the service started, we were about 30. It was a regular service, one held on a Saturday in summer. No baby grand, no choir, no wedding blessings, no real or imagined real-time scenes from Fiddler on the Roof like the previous Saturday, not even a rabbi. We were all there because we wanted to honour God, to give thanks for life itself, to thank God for being a Jew, to sing and pray to Adonai, to remember the dead, to touch the Torah, to meet in fellowship after the service on this God-mandated day of rest.

So how did we go from Sunday as the first day of the week to the last day of the week? The simple answer is that Christ rose from the dead on Sunday and the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles on a Sunday, so the Church mandated it in 336AD. Already, I feel the cords tying me to Judaism fraying away, much like leaving your parents to go off on your own. And like that act, I have mixed feelings.

After the service, I went to Produce Depot. As a regular, I've gotten to know the staff, to connect with a simple greeting of recognition. Except I recognized no one; the regular M-F staff were not there. Being an observant Jew means you are out of sync with society so that you can be in sync with God's covenant.

I asked Larry Tarof, "With Reform, can I shop on Sundays or is it like the other branches of Judaism?"

He answered, "...Shabbat, which lasts from Fri sundown to Sat sundown (not Sunday). During this period one can in principle shop if Reform. But the idea is "according to conscience". Reform Jews have the responsibility to become as knowledgeable as possible about not just the laws (which would be the Orthodox obligation) but also the rationale behind the laws, because Reform Jews decide for themselves what laws they do and don't observe. Many Reform Jews don't shop on Shabbat out of respect for their understanding of Shabbat. Other Reform Jews are quite comfortable shopping on Shabbat."

Next: Blog 4, Reality Check 2, Tourist Jew or Practicing Jew?

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