We Are Our Own Worst Enemies

A friend’s daughter, grown and flown the coop to New York City, wanted to go to High Holiday services at a Reform synagogue in Manhattan with a girlfriend last week. The synagogue said to prove that her family was a member somewhere else, and they would offer a free-of-charge reciprocal ticket to attend their services. 

My friend scanned and emailed the tickets to her daughter, who took them to the synagogue, where she was told: “Oh, your family belongs to a Conservative synagogue. There is no reciprocity between Reform and Conservative. But you can buy a ticket.”

Are you frickin’ kidding me?

A twentysomething WANTS to take time off work to attend religious services and observe a holiday, and a synagogue turns her away because her family is affiliated with a different denomination? Aren’t we all Jews? And for that matter, aren’t we all people, who should be working together to repair the world and see the good in everyone?

When I was in college, I attended my Catholic boyfriend’s church for Christmas Mass. I was visiting his family over break from school, and I tagged along because, what else would I do? The priest didn’t interrupt services to point me out in my frizzy hair and red angora sweater (I tried to fit in, hey!), and say, “You are a JEW. Get out! Only Catholics are welcome here.”

I know there is hypocrisy and judgment in every religion. I know. People are far from perfect. But when people of the same ilk, of the same TRIBE, want to affiliate, want to attend, want to take part, who are we to turn them away?

In my humble opinion, that synagogue committed a major sin on the eve of the day when we are set to atone for all that we’ve done wrong. Forget wiping their slate clean – they are continuing forward in the same misguided behavior they exhibited before, so with no intention to change or make amends toward improvement, any atonement flies out the window, unheard.

I am so sick of infighting and finger-pointing. High in the election season, we’re seeing it on the political landscape. Now, religion?

It should be enough to do your own thing, answer to your own higher power, and say the prayers that comfort your soul without needing the validation that everyone around you agrees with your approach and philosophy. Are we so fragile that we cannot stand before our Higher Power and say, “I am here, this is what I believe”?

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