This morning, I was driving to our Conservative Egalitarian shul. I was giving the d'var torah (congregants give the d'var in the summer when the rabbi is away), and also helping to set up the kiddush (the Sisterhood sets up the kiddush in the summer as well). From the sublime to the mundane, I know.
So on the way, I passed a group of about ten young Chassidic-looking men, walking along the road, looking very hot and tired. Hmm, I thought, why is a group of ten Chassidic men walking through our town? It's just not a common occurrence.
I thought about it a bit, and realized that they were probably walking to the Chabad House in our town for Shabbat services.
Then I thought about it a little more, and realized that they walked right past our shul on their way. Did they even notice it? And if they had, would they have even considered praying there? I think not. You see, our Conservative Egalitarian shul would not meet their standards. We don't have a mechitza. We allow women to participate fully in services, to have aliyot, to read Torah. So no, they would not have felt comfortable at our services.
And that makes me very uncomfortable.
So then I get to shul, and I go into the kitchen, and of course the lights aren't on, so I have to turn on the lights in the kitchen, and in the social hall, which I'm sure you aren't supposed to do on Shabbat, but did I have a choice? And then K and I started pulling things out of the freezer and putting table clothes on tables, and pouring wine and juice, and cutting things up and putting things out...And the question is, we aren't supposed to be working on Shabbat, but how come it's okay for us to be doing all this work to set up the kiddush?
It just drives me crazy. The hypocrisy. The contradictions.
But in the end, the d'var went well, the service was fine, the kiddush was tasty, and a good time was had by all. Even the Chassidic men probably made it to the Chabad house and were happy. Just another Shabbat in our little town.